BeMAGIC project is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network that offers the possibility to pursue the PhD within the Network at different universities/research centers/companies across Europe. 15 PhD positions are funded by the European Community under Horizon 2020. The fellows will pursue research in magnetoelectric (ME) nanomaterials aiming to face important societal challenges linked to energy-efficiency, data security and health. The project encompasses the design, synthesis, characterization and integration of ME materials into a variety of applications that share in common the combined action of electric and magnetic fields: advanced security systems, lowpower data storage, spintronic/magnonic devices, electric-field assisted anti-cancer drug delivery, cell electrofusion and deep neural stimulation. The duration of the appointment is 3 years and Marie Curie eligibility criteria must be respected.
Project Title: Using oxygen diffusion based magneto-ionic effects (ON-OFF ferromagnetism) to build a voltage-driven magnetic switch for ultra-secure data systems
Objectives: Growth of dense (sputtering, atomic layer deposition ALD) and nanoporous (EISA method) metal oxide films; structural characterization (XRD, XPS, HRTEM); magneto-ionic experiments in liquid configuration (anhydrous electrolytes and oxidative media); magneto-ionic experiments in solid configuration; lithography (optical and e-beam).
Expected results: Setting growth conditions for optimized magneto-ionic performance; proof-of-concept of a voltage-programmable magnetic data security device.
Project Title: Development of voltage-controlled exchange bias systems: towards low-power multiferroic ME-RAMs.
Objectives: Growth of exchange bias thin films (ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic bilayers) and patterned structures (using e-beam lithography) onto ferroelectric substrates; structural characterization (crystallographic phases, quality of the interfaces); micromagnetic simulations; tuning of the exchange bias field using voltage in solid configuration.
Expected results: Voltage-tuneable coercivity and hysteresis loop shift both in systems with in-plane and out-of-plane effective anisotropy; proof-of-concept of a voltage-controlled tunnel junction (for ME-RAM applications).
Project Title: High-throughput search and machine learning approaches for novel magnetostrictive and piezoelectric materials, heterostructures thereof, and first-principles calculations to optimize their magnetoelectric performance.
Objectives: Designing new multiferroic materials using first-principles simulations, complemented by machine-learning and data mining strategies (inspecting large materials databases using screening descriptors); adapting software (ab-initio density functional theory and machine learning algorithms) to the needs of the project; get familiarized with the growth of these materials and their ME characterization at partners’ institutions, to improve the modelling and microscopic understanding; assessing the potential of these materials for electric-field assisted applications.
Expected results: Evaluation of magnetostrictive/magnetoelastic coefficients of new materials using first principles calculations; high throughput analysis and machine learning for optimized piezoelectric/magnetoelectric/magnetoelastic coefficients; design of multiferroics with enhanced cross-coupling.
Project Title: Inorganic-organic 3D-structured multiferroics for flexible electronics and biomedical applications
Objectives: Development of novel 3D structured flexible multiferroics based on filling mesoporous oxides with ferroelectric polymers; citotoxity tests; assessment of the ferroelectric and ME performance.
Expected results: Growth of mesoporous oxide films filled with a ferroelectric polymer (inorganic/organic multiferroic) with enhanced ME effects and no cytotoxic effects; local assessment of the ferroelectric behaviour using innovative customized micro-coils systems; enhanced energy efficiency in the resulting devices.
Project Title: Electric-field control of magnetization reversal in multiferroic topological nanostructures for low-power magneto-electronics.
Objectives: Growth of multiferroic heterostructures by sputtering; top-down and bottom-up nanolithography to obtain small disks and other sub-micrometric geometries of this material; assessment of the magnetization reversal mechanisms.
Expected results: Growth and patterning of ME heterostructures; control of nucleation/annihilation (and displacement) of the curled topological magnetization structures as a function of electrical voltage.
Project Title: Electric-field control of spin waves: towards new-generation magnonic devices.
Objectives: Growth of suitable FM-FE heterostructures; to achieve efficient routing of SWs in FM-FE bilayers (including re-direction by 90°); to attain voltage control of SW transmission between two patterned antennas.
Expected results: Utilization of FM-FE bilayers, with regular FE domains, to control SW propagation (routing) by magnetic and electric fields; proof of electric-field control of SW transmission/interference; first electrically reconfigurable magnonic crystal prototypes.
Project Title: Supercapacitors to create magnetoelectric (ME) effects: energy storage mechanisms versus voltage-controlled magnetism.
Project description: Voltage control of magnetic properties in materials is of great technological importance owing to its ultralow power consumption and potential for integration with the existing technologies. The project concerns application of voltage-driven reversible electrochemistry (surface chemistry and ion-exchange) to control magnetism. The conducted research is of the interdisciplinary nature effectively spanning nanomagnetism, material science and electrochemistry.
Objectives: Development of systems with voltage-controlled magnetism adapting electrochemical mechanisms known from energy storage (supercapacitors and batteries). The working systems will be prepared in the form of thin films, multilayers, or nanopatterned structures. The working devices will be characterized electrochemically and magnetically to get the reversible magnetic response to electrical (voltage) stimulus.
Expected results: Development of magnetically active thin film or nanostructured supercapacitors exhibiting (i) strong magnetoelectric response driven by reversible charging/discharging processes (ii) with low power consumption (iii). Disentanglement of competing charging mechanisms (electrostatic, surface chemistry, near-surface ion intercalation) while inducing voltage-driven magnetic transitions.
Skills to be developed: Metal oxide thin film growth by Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) techniques, such as such as Pulse Laser Deposition (PLD) or Magnetron Sputtering (MS). Use of material and magnetic characterization techniques, such as X-Ray Diffraction, Atomic Force Microscopy, SQUID Magnetometery. An important part of work will involve use of galvano/ potentiostats for electrochemical characterization and in-situ experiments on magnetoelectric effect.
Previous experience in one or more of these areas is beneficial but not essential.
Degree Requirement: The ideal candidate will have a Masters in Physics, Solid State Physics, Physical Chemistry, Materials Science, or closely related discipline.
With more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of about EUR 900 million, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is one of the biggest public research and education institutions in Germany (25000 students, 4900 researchers/teaching staff). It offers a wide range of degree programs covering Natural Sciences, Engineering, Education, Social Sciences, Arts programs (43 bachelor and consecutive 37 master degrees in 2018). As in the previous years, the results in various rankings in 2017 show that KIT is very well positioned in national and international comparisons. For example, in the "QS World University Rankings," the overall ranking of the best universities in the world published by Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. in London, the KIT ranked 107th in 2017. Recently, KIT was successful in the very prestigious funding line of “Universities of Excellence” in the Excellence Strategy competition launched by the Federation and the Federal States.
The hosting group is led by Prof. Horst Hahn (http://www.int.kit.edu/staff_horst.hahn.php) and is located at the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) KIT. The INT is a world-class facility with equipment and technologies ranging from advanced microscopy, ultrahigh vacuum sytems, and diffraction to cryophysics. At INT (http://www.int.kit.edu/about.php) we conduct fundamental and applied research with a focus on innovation in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Our scientists collaborate within the institute and with partners around the world across the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and materials science, as well as biology and medicine.
Project Title: Magneto-ionic and electric surface charging effects in nano-objects with different shapes, at critical points, for voltage-controlled magnetoresistance.
Objectives: Electrochemical growth of magnetic nanowires; growth of alloy by electrodeposition and by pulsed laser deposition + e-beam lithography; integration of these layers in tunnel junction stacks; performing in-situ magneto-transport, ferromagnetic resonance and MOKE measurements in liquid to tune (i) the magnetic easy axis of layers of interest due to electric surface charging or magneto-ionic effects and (ii) the magnetoresistance of these nano-objects using voltage (via redox reactions).
Expected results: Magneto-ionic switching between superparamagnetic and ferromagnetic states in nanowires and lithographed nano-islands; tuneable magnetoresistance and tuneable effective anisotropy (i.e., easy axis) by voltage, in view of memory applications (e.g., voltage-controlled tunnel junctions for ME-RAMs).
Project Title: Using magnetoelectric nanoparticles to induce cell electrofusion.
Objectives: Synthesis of suitable (biocompatible) core-shell multiferroic NPs by hydrothermal and sol-gel methods; assessment of cytotoxicity and sensitization effects in a custom-built incubator with an integrated set of Helmholtz coils; optimization of magnetic field pulse strength and frequencies to induce cell electroporation and electrofusion; assessing effects of osmolarity of the fusion medium; patch clamp electrophysiological analyses; finite element modelling of cells in contact exposed to electric fields (Comsol Multiphysics, including a model for electroporation).
Expected results: Demonstration of electrofusion (high fusion yield); extrapolation to cell lines with dissimilar sizes (such as in hybridoma technology).
Project Title: Magnetopyroelectric nanoarchitectures for anti-cancer drug delivery.
Objectives: Synthesis of core-shell magnetopyroelectric structures (hydrothermal + sol-gel techniques); patch clamp ion-channel electrophysiological studies magnetoelectrically-driven drug release on human breast and/or ovarian carcinoma cells; pharmacokinetics studies.
Expected results: Effective loading of ME NPs with paclitaxel (avoiding premature release); selective drug delivery on carcinoma cells (and not on normal cells), mediated by the ME effects, due to the different membrane’s electric properties (smaller threshold for electroporation in cancer cells); drug delivery using energy-efficient conditions (e.g., AC magnetic field 50 Oe, 100–5000 Hz).
Project Title: Magnetostrictive-piezoelectric nanoparticles for deep neural (muscle) wireless stimulation.
Objectives: Artificial multiferroic nanostructures with different shapes and composition will be prepared by merging colloidal nanotemplating and physical vapour deposition. Some of these multiferroic nanostructures will be transferred or embedded in biocompatible hydrogels or elastomer films; cytotoxicity and biofunctionalization studies will be performed; in-vitro demonstration of magetoelectric stimulation of muscle and neuron cells will be assessed.
Expected results: Synthesis of biocompatible multiferroic particles. magnetoelectric actuation using relatively low AC magnetic fields for non-invasive muscle/deep brain stimulation.
Project Title: Using magnetoelectric materials as adaptive flux guides for magneto-inductive waves.
Objectives: To develop composite ME materials whose polarization state can be tuned by strain; structural characterization; to use these materials as flux guides for the transfer of electromagnetic waves between coils (waveguides); to structure the piezoelectric sheets in a way to locally resolve/define stress/strain patterns, hence, magnetic polarization.
Expected results: Tuneable coupling between the waves and the receiver by modifying the applied voltage; enhancement of positioning freedom (horizontally and vertically) for wireless energy transfer in mobile devices (IoT industry, medical technology, environmental monitoring.
Project Title: Implementation of a miniaturized multi-channel magnetoelectric stimulation system (and related bioelectronics for data acquisition) using printed human skull phantoms.
Objectives: To develop a dedicated hardware for ME deep brain stimulation system; to develop the software to control the bioelectronic components; software-based simulations of the process; prototyping and device certification.
Expected results: Effective penetration range of the ME actuation and eventual cross-talk deleterious effects between magnetic fields application and electrical stimulation determined; the potential of ME stimulation as a therapy for rehabilitation established (i.e., to stimulate neuroplasticity of the brain, so that the disturbed movement can be taken over by a healthy part of the cortex).
Project Title: Boosting magneto-ionics using ion irradiation and ion implantation: towards faster switching speeds, higher cyclability and lower operational voltages.
Objectives: Deposition of oxide thin films by sputtering, pulse laser deposition or atomic layer deposition; to study the effect of ion irradiation and ion implantation on the resulting structural and magnetic properties; to enhance magneto-ionic effects in: (a) ion-treated single oxide layers and (b) oxide layers in direct contact ith ferromagnetic thin films ith perpendicular anisotropy (magneto-ionic control of the effective magnetic anisotropy).
Expected results: Controlled induction of defects in oxide layers through ion irradiation; achievement of accelerated O2- diffusion rates with voltage; implantation of O2- ions in oxide layers to improve the ion mobility; magneto-ionic control of the perpendicular anisotropy and magnetization reversal process of metallic films in contact with oxide layers (GdO, HfO2,…) using ionic liquids; tuning of magnetization reversal mechanisms of patterned structures through magneto-ionics.
Project Title: Up-scaling the growth of metal/oxide bilayer systems for non-volatile magnetoelectric effects: magneto-ionics and ferroelectric/ferromagnetic heterostructured multiferroics.
Objectives: Fabrication of two types of metal/oxide bilayers at wafer level; comparative study of ME effects in the continuous films and lithographed patterns; optimization of non-volatility of ME effects for memory applications.
Expected results: Optimized sputtering conditions for dense films; identification of sample size effects (ME effects in continuous and patterned structures); basic structural characterization.