Neutron characterisation of opto-electronic control of magnetism

Type of project

Competition funded PhD projects


Contact Dr Oscar Cespedes to discuss this project further informally

Project description

Electrical and optical stimuli make possible to manipulate the function and structural properties of advanced nanomaterials. In this studentship, we focus on the magnetic properties of hybrid organic devices –although the new beam capability may extend to applications in many other samples and structures, such as liquid crystals or solar cells. Magnets are an ever-present technological feature; from computing to energy generation. However, the production and application of these materials is reaching fundamental quantum limits while increasingly damaging the eco-system.

Currently, the carbon footprint of information storage exceeds that of air travel, while the mining and processing of rare earths for permanent magnets leads to environmental catastrophes. Hybridisation and charge transfer between molecules and metals can alter the anisotropy of ferromagnets or even give rise to an emergent spin ordering in dia-/paramagnets such as Cu or Mn. These effects are controlled by spin and electron transfer, so optical and electrical signals can tune the interfacial features.

The composite devices show multifunctional properties (e.g. thermal transport, photovoltaics) that may be used in the design of molecular-scale devices; e.g. low-power consumption memories. This studentship will analyse these structures using neutron spectroscopy, distinguishing between the contributions of each component to study emerging physics.

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.

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 'Neutron characterisation of opto-electronic control of magnetism' as well as Dr Oscar Cespedes 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.

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.