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PhD position: All optical switching in complex magnetic structures and multilayers

Advertising institute: PGI-6 - Electronic Properties
Reference number: D113/2016, Physics, materials science

Research topic:
The Institute of Electronic Properties (PGI-6), Peter Grünberg Institut is offering a PhD position on the topic of All optical switching in complex magnetic structures and multilayers.

Topic Description:
Femtosecond light pulses provide an alternative approach to control the magnetization state of materials without applying magnetic fields. Deterministic all-optical switching using circularly polarized laser pulses was first demonstrated in complex ferrimagnetic GdFeCo alloys but recently, all-optical switching studies have been extended from ferrimagnets to ferromagnets. All-optical control of magnetization switching strongly depends on both material properties and laser beam characteristics. In our fabrication facilities we can fabricate a variety of ferromagnetic multilayers (e.g. (Co/Pt)N ) with varying layer thickness and multilayer repetition number employing magnetron sputtering technique. After the basic characterization we employ laser light pulses to switch the magnetization. By tuning the beam characteristics and the magnetic multilayer parameters, the laser-exposed area can be stimulated to exhibit either all-optical switching or thermally driven demagnetization. Because of its novelty, all optical switching of ferromagnetic multilayers still needs thorough characterization. It’s potential for to become another game-changing technology of the future remains to be seen. The project is ideal learning ground for the interested PhD student interested in gaining proficiency in thin film technology, laser physics and magnetism.

Work Description:
The interested PhD candidate will fabricate novel ferromagnetic multilayers and investigate their switching properties using ultrafast lasers. Experiments will be performed in our state-of-art femtosecond amplifier pump-probe setup. The studies will be performed on magnetic multilayers and novel materials designed and fabricated using in-house fabrication facilities. Intensive theoretical support is possible 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, vacuum technique and thin film deposition are advisable. Required is a systematic research approach 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 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 PhD and Master students, and will pursue his/her PhD thesis by working on projects associated with optical switching in ferromagnetic multilayers using unique equipment, under supervision of qualified scientific staff while using his/her knowledge and creativity to design and fabricate new samples. Research Centre provides possibility to access a number of cutting-edge characterization facilities, including lithography, AFM, SQUID, XRD, SEM, STM, Faraday Microscopy, PEEM or TEM. 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