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Topological insulator plasmonics

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 03, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Topological insulators (TIs) are a new type of material that has recently been discovered. They have highly conductive surface states, while their ‘bulk’ remains insulating. Because of extremely strong spin-orbit coupling in these materials, surface electrons have a spin-momentum locking texture, so that they are almost free from scattering, known as “topological protection”. The electrons are also massless Dirac particles similar to those in graphene, even at room temperature.

While most work to-date has been focused on the use of TIs in electronic devices, there have recently been exciting theoretical proposals of how this new type of material interacts with light. These have predicted exotic light-matter interactions between the surface electrons in the TI and photons. Because the topologically protected carriers are confined to the surface of the material, by controlling the physical shape of the material on the nanometer scale the material interaction with light can be controlled. These interactions represent a new type of light-matter phenomena and could lead to applications in sensor technology, optical coatings and new laser technologies.

This project is available as one of five PhD studentships with the Bragg Centre to tackle fundamental and applied problems to create new and improve existing materials. These will address fundamental and applied problems across design, characterisation, fabrication and modelling. The Centre comprises around 150 members from over ten Schools and has had continued investment in excellent facilities and infrastructure, including a new building opening in 2020, to ensure that our staff and students benefit from state-of-the-art, high quality equipment and laboratories. We are a founding partner of the Henry Royce Institute, the UK’s Institute for Advanced Materials.

Funding Notes

Funding is available from the Bragg Centre for Materials Research for 3.5 years and covers the cost of academic fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,500 per year for 2019/20) and provides a stipend at EPSRC rates (currently £15,009 per year for 2019/20).

How good is research at University of Leeds in English Language and Literature?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 31.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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