EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials: Magnetic meta-matter out of equilibrium

University of Exeter - Departments of Physics and Astronomy, and Department of Engineering

The studentship is part of the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2), www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials. Our aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.

Joint supervisors: Dr A. V. ShytovProf V. V. Kruglyak

Further progress in solid state physics and technology rests on our ability to push limits of investigations to phenomena occurring on ultrashort time and ultrasmall length scales.  Apart from experimental and technological challenges, this requires novel theoretical approaches, in which many-body quantum mechanics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics and complexity intermix to form novel qualitatively novel effects, routinely challenging researchers’ imagination.  Such an areas of modern physics is femtomagnetism – the study of spin-related phenomena triggered by ultrashort optical pulses, typically addressed by time-resolved pump-probe experiments [1].  During the two decades from emergence as an independent research topic, femtomagnetism has spanned areas ranging from polarisation-dependent ultrafast spin dynamics and switching and optical excitation of spin waves and phonons to ultrafast generation of THz radiation, spin transport and spin torques.  However, the majority of theoretical research addressing ultrafast phenomena has been concerned with bulk properties of materials – an approach clearly inapplicable to description of ultrafast processes in metamaterials. 

In this project, we aim to develop a theoretical framework by which to describe and understand non-local dynamical effects associated with interfaces, surfaces and generally finite dimensions of structural elements of thin-film metamaterials driven out of equilibrium by femtosecond optical pulses.  Although magnetic meta-surfaces will be in focus, truly interdisciplinary approach will need to be followed to disentangle transient spin, electron and heat transport and spin, elastic and magneto-elastic wave excitation and relaxation.  The theory will then be applied to interpretation of time-resolved optically pumped scanning optical microscopy (TROPSOM) measurements of thin-film metallic magnetic metamaterials conducted in Exeter [2].  

4-year studentship: for UK/EU students, the studentship includes tuition fees and an annual stipend equivalent to current Research Council rates; for international students (non-EU) a very small number of fees only studentships may be available

  1. A. Kirilyuk, et al, “Ultrafast optical manipulation of magnetic order”, Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 2731 (2010).
  2. Y. Au, et al., “Direct excitation of propagating spin waves by focused ultrashort optical pulses”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 097201 (2013); R. V. Mikhaylovskiy et al, Nature Comm. 6, 8190 (2015). 
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