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Sensitec: Control of strain in magnetoresistive elements and its utilization

  • Full or part time
    Prof R Lehndorff
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Magnetoresistive (MR) sensors consist of magnetic thin films and micro- to nanostructures. It is important to understand the behaviour of magnetic domain walls in these structures, to be able to optimize the performance of the sensors. Strain or mechanical stress is, up to now, always seen as a negative impact on MR sensors. In this project, the influence of strain on MR sensor will be studied with two aspects. On the one hand, the conventional approach of minimizing the sensitivity of the sensor to strain by means of design and choice of materials will be pursued. On the other hand, the utilization of strain to realise new or improved functionalities will be a goal.

Manipulating domain walls, specifically creating, annihilating, pinning or guiding them is of great interest. These basic functionalities can be the building blocks of domain wall based MR sensors or other devices like logic circuits. Different goals within this project are: (1) designing test structures to study the different functionalities under strain, (2) preparing samples from sputter deposition of magnetic thin films, through lithography, up to bonding and soldering them to test stands, (3) defining and performing test routines, (4) analysing test results and applying theory and micromagnetic simulations to understand the physics of domain walls under strain.

General requirements:

• Be fluent in English
• Have not been a resident or have conducted your main activity (studies, work, etc.) for more than 12 months within the last three years in the PhD position’s host country.
• Be in the first four years of your research career. This is measured from the date you obtained a degree that allows you to enroll in a PhD program.
• Have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree

Specific requirements/skills:


• MSc degree or equivalent in a subject with good bases in one or more of these or related topics: condensed matter physics, nanoscience, applied physics, material science, nanoelectronics.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills, well developed interpersonal communication
• Enthusiastic, self-motivated, willing to learn in a multicultural environment


• Experience in Nano/micro device fabrication
• Experience with magnetic thin film fabrication and/or characterization
• Basic german language skills

This PhD position will be carried out in the framework of the EU’s Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network MagnEFi which includes 11 partners, both academic (8) and industrial (3), located in France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, England and the Netherlands. We will work together to develop a unique integrative approach to electric-field control of magnetism. Innovative electric-field control schemes based on Strain (S), Gating (G) and Light (L) will be thoroughly investigated and combined to produce a new class of enhanced multifunctional spintronics devices with S+G, S+L and G+L capabilities.

The benefits of this project for you and the future of your career are many fold, here's a few key aspects that MagnEFi can offer you:

• Working on the forefront of one of the most promising topics in spintronics in an international team lead by world recognised EU experts in the field.
• Benefiting from the extensive training program which includes basic and modern aspects of spintronics as well as of other exiting emerging fields such as artificial intelligence but also includes entrepreneurship, scientific writing, communication skills and intellectual property.
• Visiting other partners of the network to learn about their specific techniques and to establish collaborations which will interconnect experimenters and theorists, basic scientists and engineers, and academia and industry.
• Being granted a prestigious EU fellowship with a very competitive salary including mobility and family allowance.
• Establishing a professional network with leading scientists in academia and industry.
• Being prepared for the future after your PhD, training also includes courses on writing competitive job applications for academia and industry, writing high-impact research proposals as well as on preparing job interviews.

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