PhD Candidate: Robust Chiral Nano-magnetism using Rare Earths (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 3 months ago

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE
  • Gross monthly salary: € 2,443 - € 3,122
  • Faculty of Science
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Application deadline: 22 May 2022

With leading research into fundamental physics, we can answer important questions about the world of today and tomorrow. This requires curious individuals who want to push the experimental boundaries of science with their talent and expertise. As a PhD Candidate at the Scanning Probe Microscopy department, you get to explore the future of nanoelectronics with our state-of-the-art facilities.


The goal of this PhD project is to investigate the emergence of chiral magnetism in rare-earth metals and alloys in order to identify new recipes for temperature-robust and nanoscale skyrmions. Chiral magnetism (with skyrmions representing the most prominent example) offers exciting perspectives in spintronics. Currently, research focuses on 3d-based materials, where skyrmions are either nanoscale in size or stable at room temperature, but never both. Based on our vast experience in rare-earth magnetism, this project focuses on understanding and utilising the role of the large orbital momentum and spin-orbit coupling in 4f elements, which presents a virtually unexplored additional 'tuning knob' to tweak the atomic-scale magnetic order towards robust and nanoscale chirality.

We are looking for a motivated and open-minded candidate who will investigate the atomic and magnetic structure of elemental lanthanide metals as well as binary alloys of 4f with 3d and 5d elements. You will grow ultrathin films on heavy-metal substrates using MBE techniques and study them using various STM and AFM methods, focusing on atomically resolved magnetic imaging, in particular the worldwide unique combination of spin-polarized STM and magnetic exchange force microscopy (called SPEX) that we have recently developed in our department. Interesting samples will further be investigated using ultrafast magneto-optical techniques. You will join a young and innovative team of experienced researchers and technicians and work with cutting-edge UHV-based cryogenic SPM facilities, and perform high-precision structural, spectroscopic and magnetic measurements. You will enjoy hands-on experience in carrying out the experiments, both independently and in a team. For more information on the topics within this PhD project, you can read the following articles:
D. Wegner et al., Phys. Rev. B 73, 165415 (2006).
U. Kamber et al., Science 368, 966 (2020).
N. Hauptmann et al., Nano Lett. 17, 5660-5665 (2017).
N. Hauptmann et al., Nature Commun. 11, 1197 (2020).


Profile
  • You hold a Master's degree in physics, which you obtained on the basis of a Master's thesis on an experimental research topic. 
  • You have a good command of written and spoken English.
  • You are willing to further develop your scientific communication skills through presentations and publications.
  • You have a strong interest in condensed matter physics, preferably including magnetism.

We are

You will join the Scanning Probe Microscopy department  (SPM) and also contribute to the department of Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials at the Institute for Molecules and Materials  (IMM). The SPM department has many international scientists and students. We host world-class SPM instruments and utilise SPM techniques beyond the state of the art to study numerous problems in fundamental physics and chemistry. Our expertise focuses on high-precision magnetic and electronic imaging as well as STM-induced light emission of single atoms and molecules in cryogenic ultrahigh vacuum environments and in magnetic fields, often related to single-atom manipulation. IMM is one of the major research institutes of the Faculty of Science at Radboud University. IMM is a research institute in chemistry and physics, which fosters interdisciplinary research. Its mission is to design and create functional molecules and materials to fundamentally understand their behaviour. The institute comprises 19 research groups in areas ranging from condensed matter science to organic chemistry and biochemistry. IMM focuses on fundamental research with an open eye for societal applications and educates the next generation of leaders in science and innovation. IMM 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 scanning probe laboratories, laser labs, a magnetic resonance research centre, high field magnet laboratory and free electron laser laboratory (HFML-FELIX ).


The Faculty of Science  is a complete, student-oriented science faculty where research and education are closely intertwined. The faculty aims to form an academic community with an international character, where staff members from different backgrounds can combine their talents with the common goal of being among the leading science faculties in Europe.
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
  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,443 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,122 in the fourth year (salary scale P ).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • 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).
  • 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 29 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.
Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Dr Daniel Wegner, Assistant Professor at +31 24 365 31 38 or daniel.wegner@ru.nl . Alternatively, you can contact Joyce van Dijk-Janssen, Management Assistant at +31 24 365 21 21 or joyce.vandijk@ru.nl .


Practical information and applications
You can apply until 22 May 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Dr Daniel Wegner. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation, including a scientific statement why you want to do your PhD at the SPM department.
  • Your CV, including the names and contact details of two academic referees.
The first round of interviews will take place mid June and/or early July. You would preferably begin employment on 1 September 2022.
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.

We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.


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