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Topological spintronics - exploring the ‘nontrivial’ proximity effect at topological insulator/ferromagnetic insulator interfaces

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a PhD project in Nano-Electronics. The properties of topological insulators arise from strong spin orbit effects, and they differ from the usual lattice termination effects at boundaries. Topological insulators exhibit electrical conductivity at their edges, and these coherent spin transport phenomena dramatically reduce Joule heating. This provides an opportunity to create the next generation of energy efficient electronic devices, including spin field effect transistors and magnetic random access memory. This project focuses on experimental studies of the ‘nontrivial’ proximity effect at topological insulator/ferromagnetic insulator (TI/FMI) interfaces - an ideal ‘laboratory’ to examine the interplay between two fundamental ordering phenomena: magnetism and topology.

The experimental side of the research today has marched to a historical point where the paramount urgency is to use materials of the highest perfection and homogeneity and detection tools with atomic sensitivity. We benefit from the geographical proximity to the National Physical Laboratory for physical property measurement, and the Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source on the Harwell Campus for scattering experiments, and we collaborate with MIT and UCLA for sample preparation. You will determine chemical structures using x-rays and magnetic ordering using neutron diffraction and reflectivity, and in this way you will obtain a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between magnetism and topology in bismuth selenide/yttrium iron garnet TI/FMI interfaces.

Funding Notes

The envisaged start date for this position is September 2018 (no later than January 2019). The studentship is fully funded and includes a stipend of approx. £16,777 plus fees (at home/EU rates) for three years. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply but would be required to have other sources to pay the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees. Candidates should have a degree in electronic engineering, physics or a related subject (preferably M.Sc. but exceptional B.Sc. graduates will also be considered).

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