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PhD Studentship: Minimally Dissipative Spin Switching By Ultrashort Electro-Magnetic Fields

Lancaster University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Lancaster
Funding for: EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: See advert text
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 3rd July 2020
Closes: 2nd October 2020

Minimally dissipative spin switching by ultrashort electro-magnetic fields 

Supervisor: Rostislav Mikhaylovskiy 

Lancaster University and European Training Network COMRAD: Cold Opto-Magnetism for Random Access Devices are pleased to offer a PhD studentship available for admission in October 2020. The studentship is fully funded for 3 years with a full cover of the tuition fees and a generous stipend. Applications are invited from bright and highly motivated students with a background in physics. The student will be supervised by Dr Rostislav Mikhaylovskiy. 

A long standing dream of magnetic recording technology is to switch a magnetic bit of information with the highest possible speed and the lowest loss of energy. This project, a part of European Training Network COMRAD, aims to achieve the ultrafast and least dissipative switching of magnetization using terahertz (THz) photons with energies comparable with the magnetic intrinsic energy scale (meV). You will explore the manipulation of spins by a THz electric field, which can modulate the spin-orbit and exchange interactions responsible for magnetic ordering. These interactions are orders of magnitude stronger than the Zeeman energy due to an applied magnetic field. Therefore, the THz electric field driving of spins is expected to be strong enough to induce switching of the spins’ orientations, representing an elementary act of writing a bit of information. You will investigate the fundamentals of the electric field-driven nonlinear spin dynamics and identify the basic requirements for the fastest and most energy-efficient spin switching in ferromagnetic materials and heterostructures. 

This interdisciplinary project at the interface between magnetism and photonics offers training in ultrafast optics, THz and magneto-optical spectroscopies as well as in physics of magnetically ordered materials. To excite spins you will use ultrashort strong electro-magnetic fields produced either by table-top ultrafast lasers at Lancaster University or by electron bunches at accelerator facilities of Cockcroft Institute. Network-wide training and visits to COMRAD partners are also the integral part of the project. 

The general information about COMRAD network and application requirements are available at the following link: 

The Physics Department is holder of Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.  The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK. 

Please contact Dr Rostislav Mikhaylovskiy ( for any additional enquiries. You can also apply directly at stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor. 

Funding Notes 

The studentship is fully funded for EU/Overseas students for 3 years. The EU mobility rule applies 


 [1]. S. Baierl, M. Hohenleutner, T. Kampfrath, A. K. Zvezdin, A. V. Kimel, R. Huber, and R. V. Mikhaylovskiy. Nonlinear spin control by terahertz driven anisotropy fields. Nature Photonics 10, 715 (2016). 

[2]. S. Schlauderer, C. Lange, S. Baierl, T. Ebnet, C. P. Schmid, D. C. Valovcin, A. K. Zvezdin, A. V. Kimel, R. V. Mikhaylovskiy and R. Huber. Temporal and spectral fingerprints of ultrafast all-coherent spin switching. Nature 569, 383 (2019). 

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