Postdoc position in revealing hidden magnetoelectric toroidal order using Compton scattering

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Materials Theory Group at ETH Zurich has the following opening for a postdoctoral research position in collaboration with Prof. Nicola Spaldin.


Project background

The group's research field is the development and application of electronic structure methods for understanding and predicting novel functional materials, with a particular focus on complex oxides and materials with multiple competing or cooperating instabilities.


Job description

The magnetoelectric toroidal moment, which can occur in magnetically ordered materials that break inversion symmetry, has been proposed as a form of hidden ferroic order to complement the existing established ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity and ferroelasticity. A direct measurement is lacking, and Compton scattering, which measures the electron density as a function of momentum, has been proposed as a possible probe (see for example Acta Cryst. Research Paper ).

In this project we will revisit the existing formalism for extracting Compton scattering profiles from electronic-structure calculations to verify the suitability of the approximations for calculating the response from toroidal moments; if necessary extensions to the physics and algorithms will be made. We will use first-principles calculations to identify materials with large hidden toroidal moments and screen for those with large Compton scattering cross sections. The project will involve close collaboration with experimental groups at large-scale facilities, particularly Steve Collins at the Diamond Light Source and Urs Staub at the Paul Scherrer Institute, to identify suitable systems for experimental exploration. This project is part of the ERC Synergy program "Hidden, entangled and resonating order", involving also the groups of Gabriel Aeppli (PSI), Henrik Ronnow (EPFL) and Sasha Balatsky (Nordita).


Your profile

Candidates for this position should have PhD training in computational/theoretical materials physics and should be enthusiastic about using electronic structure methods to solve interesting and challenging physical problems.


ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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