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Nanoscale engineering of materials and devices for spintronics


1. Advanced nanofabrication for magnonics and spintronics

This thesis work aims to explore new concepts in magnonics and spintronics, exploiting the control at the nanoscale of the static and dynamic magnetic properties of materials. This will be possible thanks to the combination of conventional nanofabrication techniques with thermally assisted magnetic Scanning Probe Lithography (tam-SPL), recently developed in our group. By using a heatable nanometric probe of a Scanning Probe Microscope, it is possible to pattern point-by-point the magnetic properties, such as spin textures and magnetic anisotropies, of magnetic films, e.g. ferromagnets, synthetic antiferromagnets, antiferromagnets. In particular, the project will focus on the use of spin waves, domain walls and topological quasi-particles, such as skyrmions and vortices, as information carriers in novel proof of concept devices for beyond CMOS computing. During the experimental thesis work the student will develop different skills, starting from the micromagnetic simulations, to the growth and nanofabrication of magnetic materials, to the advanced characterization of magnetic properties, studying both the fundamental and technological aspects of spintronics. Space and time resolved magnetic characterization of the samples will be eventually carried out at the synchrotron (Swiss Light Source).

2. Beyond nanofabrication via nanoscale phase engineering of matter

The goal of the project is to develop a radically new approach to nanofabrication, “phase-nanoengineering”, based on directly crafting at the nanoscale the physical properties of thin-film materials, by using the recently developed thermally assisted scanning probe lithography (t-SPL) technique for producing highly localized and tunable thermally-induced phase changes. In the field of nanoelectronic and quantum materials, the goal is to realize and study a new class of artificial nanomaterials and functional devices with unprecedented electronic transport properties, which arise from the proximity and coexistence of different structural and electronic phases, tailored at the nanoscale. The experimental thesis will involve the use of advanced micro- nanofabrication techniques as well as different characterization techniques, such as atomic force microscopy and cryogenic electrical measurements. Simulations with fem approaches will be employed to better design and understand the experiments.

Both the research activities are carried out at Polifab, the micro and nanofabrication facility of Politecnico di Milano, and are in the framework of the ERC Starting Grant B3YOND (948225) – Beyond Nanofabrication via Nanoscale Phase Engineering of Matter.

Partners: PSI (Villigen), NYU (New York), Università di Perugia and CNR (Perugia), CNR-IFN (Milano), IBM (Zurich).

For further information please visit the group website.