link to homepage

Navigation and service

PhD position: Femtosecond spin dynamics in magnetic thin films and nanostructures using laser high harmonics

Advertising institute: PGI-6 - Electronic Properties
Reference number: D112/2016, Physics, materials science

Research topic:
The Institute of Electronic Properties (PGI-6), Peter Grünberg Institut is offering a PhD position on the topic of Femtosecond spin dynamics in magnetic thin films and nanostructures using laser high harmonics.

Topic Description:
Spin manipulation in ferromagnetic materials using laser excitation belongs to the most fascinating topics of the current solid state research offering possibilities for future advanced electronics applications based on electron spin control. Our project aims on understanding spin dynamics in complex magnetic materials, alloys and multilayers. This task requires close examination of material properties using cutting edge scientific tools that allow material testing with element-selectivity and tracing electron and spin dynamics with femtosecond time resolution. Requirements for such measurements were only recently achieved by a rapid progress in laser-based extreme ultraviolet light (XUV) sources generating femtosecond pulses with photon energies reaching tens-to-hundreds of electron-volts. Such high-energy photons are produced when an intense, ultrafast laser pulse is focused into an inert gas generating high-order harmonics of the fundamental light. Tuning the XUV energy to a specific absorption edge, results in a resonant amplification of the signal for the selected element. In our experiments we combine element selectivity with femtosecond time resolution. Recently, in magnetic response of Ni/Ru/Fe multilayers we discovered an unexpected optically-induced magnetization enhancement in Fe and confirmed presence of superdiffusive spin currents in optically driven thin films (see Rudolf et al., Nature Communication 2012). Further studies promise new discoveries and fascinating, rapidly developing science – an ideal research field for a young scientist pursuing his or her PhD at the intersection of solid state physics, femtosecond magneto-optics and magnetism.

Work Description:
The interested PhD candidate will investigate a fascinating field of spin-dynamics phenomena occurring on femtosecond time scales. Experiments will be performed in our state-of-art femtosecond amplifier pump-probe setup that uses optical pump and probes the carrier and spin dynamics using laser high harmonics. Studies will be performed on magnetic multilayers, nanometer-size structures and novel materials designed and fabricated using in-house sample preparation facilities. Results are expected to be reported at the conferences and published in renowned scientific journals. Intensive support in modelling and calculations is provided in collaboration with a theory groups in Jülich and abroad.

Student Profile:
The new member of our team should have completed masters-level degree in physics or materials science and should have a solid background in condensed matter physics and optics. Practical experimental and programming skills and hands-on experience with lasers are advisable. Required is a systematic approach to the research and very good communication and presentation skills. Important is the high motivation and fascination about physics and desire to explore new physical phenomena.

What we offer:
We offer an interesting and challenging research environment and a possibility to work in the state of art research facility that includes modern laser laboratories and fabrication- and cleanroom facilities. The new member of the research group will be part of the team of fellow Ph.D. and Master students, and will pursue his/her Ph.D. thesis by working on projects associated with femtosecond carrier- and spin dynamics using unique equipment, under supervision of qualified scientific staff. He/she will be given a possibility to design and fabricate his/her own samples and will learn how to operate state-of-the-art scientific devices including laser amplifiers, SQUID, XRD, SEM, AFM, STM or TEM that are available directly on campus. Salary and social benefits are provided in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD). Funding is available for presentation of results at national and international conferences.

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women. We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

We invite interested candidates to send applications including a CV, copies of exams, degrees and grades, a copy of your Master thesis (or a draft thereof), published articles or other relevant material such as letter(s) of recommendation to Dr. Roman Adam (email: and Prof. Claus Schneider (

For further information please contact Dr. Roman Adam directly or visit our website at