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Magnetic rare earth nitride thin films with zero quantum angular momentum

   Robinson Research Institute

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  Dr Simon Granville  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The project

In this 3-year PhD project, you will carry out experimental magnetic materials research to contribute to our program to develop high-speed, low power magnetic memory for energy-efficient superconducting computing. 

Magnetic memories can be switched optically or electrically, and the speed and energy needed depend on their total quantum mechanical angular momentum, J. A magnet with J=0 could be used to make a memory needing very little energy to switch, ideal for superconducting computers that must have low energy dissipation. In this project, you will research alloys of rare-earth nitride thin films to find materials with the J=0 state and to investigate the physics of how they can be used to make magnetic memories [1]. 

The work of this project will involve: depositing thin films; investigating crystal structure, magnetic, electronic and magneto-optical properties; and making prototype micro-sized thin film devices.  

You will be based in Wellington, New Zealand, in the Spintronics research group at the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences [2] of Victoria University of Wellington, though this project will involve carrying out some measurements outside of New Zealand.


You must have a physics degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc (Honours) degree in New Zealand with 1st class Honours, or an MSc or postgraduate Diploma with high grades.  You should have some interest in condensed matter physics, materials science or similar, as well as being comfortable working in a team. We especially would like to hear if you have experience in thin films, ultra-high vacuum equipment, magnetic, magneto-optical or magnetotransport characterisation, clean room lithography or synchrotron measurements.

You should satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at Victoria University and ensure you can satisfy the English language requirements [3]. We will consider all applications but will only choose a candidate who can fulfill visa and travel requirements to come to New Zealand. The rules are subject to change on short notice, please consult for further information.

Further information and how to apply

If you are interested, please send an email titled “Re: Zero momentum PhD” to Dr Simon Granville () for further information. When you apply please include the following:

- A full Curriculum Vitae, including your University Transcripts,

- A brief explanation - why are you interested in this project?

- The names of at least two people who are prepared to act as referees, 

- Your expected starting date.

Funding Notes

The scholarship includes untaxed stipend of NZ$35,000 per year for 3 years, plus payment of all tuition fees, and student levies for study at Victoria University of Wellington.


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