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Manipulating magnetic anisotropy with superconductivity

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 14, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: NB/PH/2020
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2020
Closing date of advert: 14 February 2020

Supervisors:
Primary supervisor: Dr Niladri Banerjee
Secondary supervisor: Dr Fasil Dejene
This project involves advanced thin film deposition, nano fabrication and low-temperature characterisation to explore a recently predicted intriguing effect: reorienting the magnetic moment of a thin film magnet purely driven by superconductivity and without applying a magnetic field. Experimentally realising this will open pathways to design the next generation of ultra-high capacity cryogenic magnetic memories. The student will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with world-leading experts in the topic and consolidate existing collaborations with University of Cambridge and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories.
Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
Find out more: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/supporting-you/research/
Loughborough University has a flexible working and maternity/parental leave policy (https://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/hr/leave-absence/family-leave/) and is a Stonewall Diversity Champion providing a supportive and inclusive environment for the LGBT+ community. The University is also a member of the Race Equality Charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students. The School of Science is a recipient of the Athena SWAN bronze award for gender equality.

Full Project Detail:

Recent experiments have identified a unique form of superconductivity formed of equal-spin Cooper pairs instead of the conventional anti-parallel spin pairing [1]. This superconductivity arises at superconductor/ferromagnet thin film heterostructures with complex magnetic textures. Last year, we discovered a fundamentally different route to generate this unique equal-spin superconductivity: using the subtle relativistic spin-orbit coupling instead of complex magnetic textures [2]. In addition to simplifying the structures to generate equal-spin superconductivity, it opens the striking possibility of discovering novel effects in these thin film heterostructures where superconductivity, ferromagnetism and spin-orbit coupling coexists.
In this project, the student will explore one such effect which we theoretically predicted recently [3]: modifying the magnetic anisotropy and thereby enabling reorientation of a magnetic moment purely driven by superconductivity. A successful demonstration of this effect will establish reorienting (or switching) a magnetic moment without applying an external magnetic field and could provide the framework to design future ultra-high capacity cryogenic magnetic memories.
The project will involve thin film deposition of spin-orbit coupled heterostructures and superconductors using sputtering and pulsed laser deposition techniques. Standard low-temperature electron transport and magnetic measurements will be performed in addition to structural characterisation like x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy. The student will also fabricate nanoscale devices using nano-fabrication techniques in the newly built cleanroom at Loughborough.
The student will be working in a diverse group of PhDs, postdocs and research assistants and will also be associated with the Centre for the Science of Materials, Loughborough which brings together experts from several departments to address advanced problems in materials science.
[1] N. Banerjee, Physics World, Volume 32, Number 4, 2019.

[2] N. Banerjee et al. Phys. Rev. B. 97, 184521, 2018.

[3] L. G. Johnsen et al., Phys. Rev. B. 99, 134516, 2019.


Find out more:
https://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/physics/staff/academic/niladri-banerjee/
https://www.lboro.ac.uk/science/study/postgraduate-research/studentships/

Entry requirements:
Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Physics or Materials Engineering. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: thin film deposition, materials characterisation and low-temperature measurements.

Funding information:
This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.
The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 (2019 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. This studentship is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees.

Contact details:
Name: Dr Niladri Banerjee
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222596

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research/. Under programme name, select Physics.

Please quote reference number: NB/PH/2020.

References

[1] N. Banerjee, Physics World, Volume 32, Number 4, 2019.

[2] N. Banerjee et al. Phys. Rev. B. 97, 184521, 2018.

[3] L. G. Johnsen et al., Phys. Rev. B. 99, 134516, 2019.

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