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Spintronics with Topological Semimetals


Department of Electronic Engineering

About the Project

According to Moore’s law, the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. If this trend continues, the atomic length scales will be reached within several years. Besides transistors, the copper interconnect also needs to be scaled. Scaled wires have very high resistance due to electron scattering from interfaces and grain boundaries resulting in reduced bandwidth, higher delays and higher power dissipation. Harnessing the quantum nature of solid, like the electron spin, offers the key to this. The discovery of novel materials has often propelled progress and breakthroughs in IT industries, which change our everyday lives. Three-dimensional (3D) topological semimetal phases represent new quantum states of matter, often viewed as a “3D graphene”, and have great potentials for future low energy electronics. Three kinds of topological semimetals, namely, topological Dirac semimetals, topological Weyl semimetals, and topological nodal-line semimetals have been established already. These materials exhibit quantum coherent transport behaviours for potential device applications with exciting properties, including high bulk carrier mobility and large magnetoresistance (MR). The spin of topological semimetals is tightly locked to the momentum, resulting in a spin-polarized current at topological semimetal, which is immune to direct back-scattering, leading to dissipation less electron transport for future low energy electronics. It is also timely and important to explore the enhancement of the magnetic ordering in topological semimetals using high-TC ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic insulators (FMI), which provides the topological semimetals with a source of exchange interaction yet without electrical short circuits. This project will go beyond the currently exploited graphene for future microelectronics and nanoelectronics. The topological semimetals have robust Dirac states across the thickness, making them the most promising topological materials for the device applications. This project is to achieve high quality epitaxial thin film growth and quantum transport in topological semimetals, which will not only deepen the understanding to topological quantum physics but also promote the development of quantum device and quantum computing with lower energy consumption. The project will involve the thin film growth, device fabrication and characterisation using the state-of-the-art facilities including high quality epitaxy growth, advanced e-beam and focused ion beam lithography, and various structural and properties analysis in the York Laboratory of Spintronics and Nanodevices, the University NanoCenter, and the York-Nanjing Joint Center.

Entry requirements:
Candidates should have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Music Technology or a closely related subject.

How to apply:
Applicants should apply via the University’s online application system at https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/apply/. Please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project and you will need to have sufficient funds in place (eg from scholarships, personal funds and/or other sources) to cover the tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research degree programme. Please check the Electronic Engineering website View Website for details about funding opportunities at York.

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