Although ferromagnetis and fuperconductivity are generally considered to be competing phenomena, in recent years it has become appreciated that the proximity effect between ferromagnetic materials and superconductors can give rise to novel forms of superconductivity. This has led to a burgeoning field of superconducting spintronics, with the promise of producing dissipationless, yet fully spin polarized, currents with which to build analouges of current spintronic devices such as microwave oscillators and MRAM. In recent work, for example, we have shown that a magnetic moment can be induced remotely from a S-F interface in a non-magnetic material across the superconductor without a moment appearing in the superconductor. This surprising result is just one of many avenues that remain to be explored in understanding the physics of the proximity effect at the nanoscale.
In this project we would be seeking to continue to study the proximity effects in systems including epitaxil thin films of rare-earth conical magnets, such as Er, highly spin polarized alloys, such as the B20-FeCoSi system and perpendicual magnetic anisotropy multilayers such as Pt-Co, all in combination with low Tc BCS superconductors such as Nb. This project combines thin film growth and characterization with low temperature physics and potential for studies based at national facilities such as the ISIS neutron and muon source.