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Usal: Modelling magnetization dynamics in piezoelectric/magnetic devices

  • Full or part time
    Prof L Lopez-Diaz
    Prof E Martinez
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The PhD project is focused on studying the effect of strain on the magnetic properties of different materials, nanostructures and devices. The work to be carried out is theoretical and computational, although it will be done in close collaboration with the network partners doing experimental work in this topic. As such, it will require visiting their labs to familiarize with the experiments techniques, help in the interpretation of the data and in the design of new devices.

A significant part of the effort will the devoted to the development and numerical implementation of a mesoscopic model that couples micromagnetics, elastodynamics and electrostatics self-consistently. This will be carried out starting from some preliminar work done by the group in this direction and it will require extensive use of COMSOL Multiphysics for both code validation and some large scale electro-mechanical simulations. Once tested and optimized, the code will be used to investigate how voltage-induced strain can be used to manipulate domain walls efficiently in different ways: reversible pinning/depinning with voltage pulses, channelling their motion via strain gradients, transferring momentum with elastic waves, etc. The development of new magnetoresistive domain wall sensors based on some of these concepts will be explored.

On the other hand, the project also entails investigating the effect of strain on the magnetic properties of a variety of materials and heterostructures at a more fundamental level, namely how exchange, DMI or interface anisotropy are affected by strain. The ultimate goal of this work will be to investigate efficient ways to reverse the magnetization of ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic nanostructures with voltage or photo-induced picosecond strain pulses.

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, physical-chemistry.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills, well developed interpersonal communication.
• Enthusiastic, self-motivated, willing to learn in a multicultural environment.


• Solid background in condensed matter physics.
• Good skills for scientific computing: writing code (C/C++, fortran, Python, CUDA, etc.) and using scientific applications (COMSOL Multiphysics, Mathematica, etc).

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.

Enquiries email name and address:

Luis Lopez-Diaz ()
Eduardo Martinez ()

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