PhD Candidate: Robust Chiral Nano-magnetism using Rare Earths

Updated: 3 months ago
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).

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