Over the last decade, a new field in solid-state physics has captured the imagination of a range of scientific disciplines. Spin caloritronics, in which transport of spin and of heat are linked, presents us with many fundamental questions, but also exciting practical prospects. Can spin caloritronics help us turn waste heat into useful electricity? Although such a breakthrough is still far away, researchers dream of turning these new building blocks into ground-breaking innovations like highly efficient energy harvesting devices, thermally driven spin sources, thermal spin-transfer torques or magnetically switchable cooling systems. The development of any of these innovations however hinges on in-depth fundamental insights that are currently lacking. We first need to understand the microscopic processes and material parameters responsible for spin caloritronic effects, and this is the topic of this project. To this end, model systems with high crystal quality and at the same time wide tunability of their properties are needed. The recently discovered class of twisted 2D heterostructures might offer this long-sought degree of control.
The aims of this PhD project are 1) to develop a nanoscale thermometry probe as a tool for in-depth local investigations of the spin caloritronic and thermal transport properties of low dimensional heterostructures to optimise their spin caloritronic efficiency; 2) to study the local thermoelectric response of (twisted) 2D materials.
To this end, you will fabricate devices with (twisted) 2D-ferromagnets (2D-FMs) as channel material. You will then use the new nanoscale thermometry probe for an in-depth study of the local spin caloritronic/thermoelectric properties – at low cryogenic temperatures and high magnetic fields – of such structures.
Your thesis will be part of the recently funded DREAMS project ("Actions de recherche concertées"). Thus, you will be working in an international environment in one of the leading universities of Europe, with access to the state-of-the art micro/nano fabrication and testing facilities. You will be contributing to a challenging, interdisciplinary topic in a team comprising of physicists, material scientists and electrical engineers.
What you will do
- Develop a new scanning thermal microscope (SThM) and implement it into one of our mK cryostats.
- Fabricate 2D van-der-Waals heterostructures.
- Clean room device fabrication.
- Cryogenic electrical quantum transport measurements.
- Cryogenic scanning probe microscopy.
- Data evaluation and modelling.
- Present your results in scientific articles and on international conferences and workshops.
Conditions of employment
This PhD position is funded for 2 years with the possibility to extend to 4 years. A desired starting date is October 2021.
To formally apply to this position, please provide a letter of motivation, a scientific CV, a transcript of your master’s degree and the name of 3 references (senior scientists).
The host institutions has supportive policies in place to facilitate a diverse and inclusive working environment (https://uclouvain.be/en/discover/equality ). We strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.
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