Interaction of surface acoustic waves and magnetic thin films


Contact Dr Thomas Moore to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Magnetic data manipulation using electrical current is inefficient, and fundamentally there is scope for improvement by a factor 1000.  A promising route to low-power magnetic devices is to apply a voltage to a piezoelectric material that exerts strain on an adjacent magnetic thin film and manipulates its properties via magnetoelasticity.  As a proof-of-principle, we have used a piezoelectric to apply strain to a Co/Pt multilayer, a magnetic thin film with preferred magnetization direction out-of-plane, and studied how strain modifies the energy barrier for magnetization switching.  Films with magnetization out-of-plane are suitable for scaling to the smallest devices and will be used in this project.

Using a time-varying strain, such as that provided by surface acoustic waves, could enable very fast switching and has the potential for focusing or interference to manipulate magnetic spin structures.  This project will combine the internationally leading expertise in surface acoustic waves in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering with that in thin film magnetism in the School of Physics to study the interaction of the surface acoustic waves with magnetic multilayer films such as Co/Pt.  The films will be sputter-grown onto substrates that support surface acoustic waves.  Lithographic techniques will be used to define surface acoustic wave transducers and pattern magnetic films, and high-frequency transport and magnetic imaging techniques will be used to characterise them.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

Additional staff contact

John Cunningham, Gavin Burnell

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Interaction of surface acoustic waves and magnetic thin films' as well as Dr Thomas Moore as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.