Postdoctoral Researcher or PhD Position: Light-driven THz Switching of Antiferromagnets and Antiferromagnetic Magnonics

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 31 Aug 2023

1.0 FTE

Gross monthly salary
€ 2,770 - € 3,539

Required background
Research University Degree

Organizational unit
Faculty of Science

Application deadline
31 August 2023

Apply now
Do you have a strong interest in fundamental condensed matter physics and curiosity-driven research? Then you have a part to play as a PhD candidate or a postdoc. Within this postdoctoral project the goal is to achieve the fastest possible switching of magnetic bits in an antiferromagnet using ultrashort pulses of light.
Achieving the fastest possible processing of magnetic bits with the smallest possible consumption of energy is the next grand challenge in fundamental and applied magnetism. If successful, it may enable energy-efficient writing and processing of magnetic bits at unprecedented THz rates. Antiferromagnets (AFMs) offer one of the fastest magnetic responses lying precisely in the THz frequency range and thus provide an intriguing playground to search for the fastest and the least dissipative mechanism of data processing. However, their rigidity to external magnetic fields challenges our understanding of scenarios and processes leading to an efficient writing of antiferromagnetic bits.
We want to target this fundamental problem using ultrashort pulses of light and two different but strongly linked approaches:
  • Designing spectrally and temporally tailored large-amplitude ultrashort THz laser pulses able to drive low-energy degrees of freedom (magnons, phonons, excitons, etc.) strongly coupled to the AFM order . Using these pulses, we will induce various strongly non-equilibrium transient magnetic states and reveal yet unexplored non-thermodynamic routes to coherently steer spins into a desired bit state.
  • Generating ultrashort large-amplitude THz spin-wave pulses that, similar to femtosecond laser pulses in optics, can zip undisturbed over long distances unlocking the nonlinear regime of interaction with the AFM ordered spins, eventually leading to their remote switching.

To do so, we are looking for a highly motivated colleague to study the interaction of femtosecond laser pulses with spins in antiferromagnetic materials. Although the project is very fundamental in nature, it has the ambition to provide the very first and, probably, the only possible solution for low-dissipative writing and processing of magnetic bits at THz rates.
  • For the PhD position: You should hold a Master's degree in Physics, which you obtained on the basis of a Master's thesis on an experimental research topic.
  • For the postdoctoral position: You must have completed (or nearly completed) a PhD degree in Physics, or an equivalent degree, before the start date.
  • You have a strong interest in fundamental condensed matter physics and curiosity-driven research as well as method development.
  • You have a good command of written and spoken English.

We are
You will be invited to join the Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials (USCM) group, which consists of international scientists and students. Our primary focus is on conducting optical experiments to control different ordered states of matter at the fastest possible timescales. These ordered states include ferromagnets, ferrimagnets, antiferromagnets, ferroelectrics, multiferroics, and more exotic systems such as spin liquids. One of our key interests lies in ultrafast writing of bits by switching of spins and electric polarisations between stable states.
To conduct our research, we employ cutting-edge femtosecond laser systems, as well as time-resolved spectroscopy and imaging techniques. These tools allow us to explore ultrafast responses of media in a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from visible and infrared to mid- and far-infrared wavelengths. Alongside our in-house theoretical support, our group collaborates with various theory groups worldwide. Together, we aim to develop new approximations and models that can accurately describe novel ultrafast magnetic and structural dynamics, going beyond the limitations of conventional approaches.
The USCM group is one of 19 research teams at the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) of the Faculty of Science at Radboud University. IMM is a research institute in chemistry and physics, which fosters interdisciplinary research. It distinguishes itself from similar institutes by close collaborations and rich interactions between chemists and physicists and/or experimentalists and theorists, and an excellent infrastructure including the Scanning Probe Microscopy Laboratories, Laser Labs, Magnetic Resonance Research Centre, High Field Magnet Laboratory and Free Electron Laser Laboratory (HFML-FELIX).
Radboud University
We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!
We offer
  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • For the PhD position, the gross starting salary amounts to a minimum of €2,770 per month based on full-time employment, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P). For the postdoctoral position, the exact salary will depend on your qualifications and amount of relevant professional experience. The maximum salary is €5,090 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week.
  • PhD position: you will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract). Postdoctoral position: you will be appointed for 2.5 years.
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services . Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions . You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

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Would you like more information?
For questions about the position, please contact Aleksei Kimel, Professor of Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials, at +31 24 365 30 26 or . Alternatively, you can contact Dmytro Afanasiev, Assistant Professor of Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials, at +31 24 365 31 41 or .
Practical information and applying
You can apply until 1 September 2023, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Prof. Aleksei Kimel. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation, including a scientific statement explaining why you want do to your PhD at the USCM department.
  • Your CV.

There will be interim selection procedures so it is possible that you will be assessed and invited to an interview or rejected before the closing date.

You would preferably begin employment as soon as possible.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure . It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
Apply now Application deadline 31 August 2023

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Contact information
Professor of Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials +31 24 365 30 26

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You are an internal candidate if you:
  • Work at Radboud University (i.e. have an employment contract with Radboud University).
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  • Currently work as a student employee at Radboud University through the campus employment office.
  • Work as a temporary employee at, or have been seconded to, Radboud University.

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Last modified: 16 August 2023
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