ISIS Beamline Facility Development Studentship: Opto-Electronic Control of Magnetism


Dr Oscar Cespedes and Professor Sean Langridge. Contact Dr Oscar Cespedes to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

This is a joint project to be carried out in collaboration between the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, a world-leading centre for research at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford, and the University of Leeds.

The student should spend at least one year at RAL, contributing to the development of simultaneous neutron reflectivity with optical and electrical irradiation, and the rest of their PhD in Leeds for sample growth and characterisation (including thin film and interface deposition; high-low temperature transport; magnetometry; Raman spectroscopy, He3-room temperature scanning probe microscopy etc.), device measurements and structure design.

Electrical and optical stimuli make possible to manipulate the function and structural properties of advanced nanomaterials. In this studentship, we focus on the opto-electronic control of magnetic properties in 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 environment. Hybridisation and charge transfer between cheap, eco-friendly molecules and metals can give rise to emergent magnetic and superconducting properties.

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, adding optical and electronic capabilities to study emerging physics. The studentship has a theoretical component to study the electronic structure of these hybrids. Future applications of these developments extend to monitoring chemical, structural and mechanical changes induced by electromagnetic fields in a wide range of materials. Experience in solid state physics/electronics is highly desirable.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK first class or 2:1 Masters degree in Physics or a related discipline.

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

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 the 'ISIS Beamline Facility Development Studentship: Opto-Electronic Control of Magnetism' as well as Dr Oscar Cespedes as your proposed supervisor.

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.

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