Department of Physics and Astronomy

Available Student Projects

We mainly have experimental activities i.e. offer a variety of  measurements addressing materials properties (see our research pages for an overview). There are also a number of possible tasks involving numerical simulations (e.g. light scattering or micromagnetic), or improving control programs for experimental setups.


The effect of geometric imperfections on magnetic properties

How does internal and external geometric imperfections, i.e. voids and surface roughness, influence the magnetic and electric properties of bulk materials on a macroscopic scale? Computational models, i.e. finite element models, of bulk materials are commonly set up with perfect geometry/mesh and homogeneous material properties. The material properties used, such as the hysteresis loop, are extracted from carefully controlled "perfect" specimens and do not perfectly map to the bulk materials. The aim of this project is to quantify this mapping in relation to for example void distributions and surface roughness and to generalise the effects of imperfections on resulting magnetic properties.

Contact
Björgvin Hjörvarsson


Magnetic nanostructures on flexible substrates - investigation of magnetic and mechanical properties

Magnetic nanostructures grown on flexible substrates offers new possibilities for sensor applications, spintronics devices and magneto-logical devices. The main scientific question to be addressed in this project is "How does bending different a sample affect its magnetic properties?" but is is also important to consider the mechanical properties and "How much can one bend a sample before it is irreversibly deformed?". Samples in the form of thin films and nanostructures grown on flexible substrates will be available at the start of the project. The magnetic properties of the samples will be investigated using MOKE (magneto-optical Kerr effect) magnetometry and simulations of the elastic properties of the material will be performed using simulink.

Contact
Petra Jönsson


Imaging of magnetic domains in soft magnetic microstructures and micromagnetic simulations

MOKE (magneto-optical Kerr effect) microscopy is a noninvasive technique suitable for imaging magnetic domains of soft magnetic materials. The aim of this project is to investigate the magnetic domains of microstructures made of a very soft amorphous ferromagnetic material and how they are affected by defects. For this purpose, defects will be created on purpose in some of the microstructures. In addition micromagnetic simulations using the mumax3 software will be used to model the microstructures with defects. 

Contact
Petra Jönsson


Simulation and fitting of polarised neutron reflectivity data

The task within this project will be to simulate and fit polarised neutron reflectivity data from EuS/TM multilayers. Recently, strong room temperature magnetisation was observed in EuS/Co multilayers. In a series of neutron scattering experiments we have collected data than can be used to estimate experimentally the extension of the magnetic polarisation in EuS. You will use a specifically developed fitting tool for reflectivity data, called GenX. Resulting data will be combined with input from x-ray circular magnetic dichroism experiments in order to provide more reliable information. This project requires some basic knowledge about computer use and optionally programming.

Contact
Vassilios Kapaklis


Magnetotransport in amorphous nanoscale films and multilayers

Developing materials and devices where the magnetic and electrical properties are linked is the subject of the relatively new field of spintronics. This project involves studying the electrical transport properties of amorphous magnetic films. Amorphous magnetic films are attractive for spintronic devices due to their high degree of uniformity and potential for tuning of magnetic and electronic properties. Yet, the mechanisms defining their electrical properties are not well understood. The project will involve measurements of resistivity, Hall effect and magnetoresistance in nanoscale films from 10 K up to room temperature. Multilayers of alternating magnetic and non-magnetic layers will also be studied.

Contact 
Björgvin Hjörvarsson


X-ray reflection studies of lyotropic liquid crystals

Concentrated solutions of some surfactants in water form liquid crystal phases. There is evidence that some of these will order against planar substrates. The project will involve design of a cell to allow X-ray measurements under controlled atmospheres on an X-ray reflectometer/diffractometer.

Contact 
Adrian Rennie


Magneto-optic spectroscopy of advanced materials

This project is focused on the exploration of energy dependent rotation of light from surfaces. The aim is twofold: Establish spectroscopic magneto optical of few elements and secondly to explore how thick a layer has to be to give the signature corresponding to the bulk like response.

Contact 
Björgvin Hjörvarsson


Metal hydrides

Some transition metals are known to easily take up large quantities of hydrogen on interstitial lattice sites. For bulk materials, the thermodynamics and kinetics of such systems are quite well understood. In the case of thin films, this situation changes since the hydrogen-hydrogen interaction is mediated by elasticity, which is a long range force. As a result, thin film metal hydrides show profound finite-size and proximity effects. The changes of thermodynamics and/or kinetics can be well explored by different scattering methods. 

Contact 


Photochromics

The possibility to alter optical properties of materials by electrical, thermic or optical stimuli offers exciting new applications. Examples range from a usage in motorcycle helmets with visors of variable transmittance providing bikers the comfort of a dark visor in sunlight and the safety of a clear visor in the dark to applications which can have a global impact on energy consumption via passive regulation of heat flux in and out of buildings reducing heating & cooling costs.

The necessary changes in optical transmission can, for many materials, be related to the concentration of hydrogen in transition metal hydrides. However, for these materials a change in hydrogen concentration is needed in order to tune the transmission of photons. For O-containing YHx a different switching mechanism is reported. The darkening of the Yttrium-oxy-hydride YOyHx is stimulated by the illumination with sunlight. This photochromic behaviour has the distinct advantage that the material can automatically regulate a close to constant transmitted intensity. In this project, we will address this class of materials systematically. Our focus will be on revealing the mechanism of the photochromic reaction and control as well as improve the properties of the films. 

Contact 
Max Wolff 


Magnetic liquids

Self assembly is one of the most fascinating phenomena in nature, since it can form well ordered structures on almost all length scales. The self assembly process is determined by the interaction between the constituents. Accordingly, a system offering tuneable interaction is an ideal playground for the understanding of the basic concepts of self assembly. We realize such a system by dispersing magnetic and non-magnetic particles in a ferro fluid matrix. Analysing the microscope images from such samples statistically gives quantitative information about phase formation.

Contact 
Max Wolff


Surface ordering under shear

In fluid mechanics, flow is described by the Navier-Stokes equation in the bulk and a no-slip boundary condition at the solid interface. However, recently, both experiments and theory have shown that on a microscopic scale liquids may undergo significant slip at a solid wall. The magnitude of the slip length and its relation to the relevant surface parameters on that it depends, are, presently, under intense discussion in the literature and not well understood on the nm length scale. We contribute to this issue by investigation of surface ordering in samples that show correlations on mesoscopic length scales as well as Newtonian liquids mainly by scattering techniques. In particular, the use of neutron scattering methods allows to access liquids in contact to solid substrates.

Contact 
Max Wolff


Topological interactions in polymers under shear

Complex liquids have unique flow properties, displaying behaviours between classical solids and liquids due to their broad distribution of relaxation times. The viscoelastic properties can generally be connected to the microscopic picture of the structure and dynamics of the constituents. On the microscopic scale, this information can be addressed by scattering methods and changes in the structure under shear have been investigated intensively in the past. However, experiments addressing the dynamics of complex liquids under shear are very scarce and even the structure of very high molecular mass polymer melts is not well understood since the Weissenberg effect prevents rheological experiments in a simple Couette geometry. Recently, we have designed a closed shear device specifically to fill both these gaps and performed first successful test experiments. This allows to investigate the topological interactions in highly entangled polymers under shear load systematically and in detail. The experimental results, mainly obtained from neutron small angle scattering and spin echo experiments, will be compared to theoretical expansions of the reptation model, like convective constrain release, as well as computer simulations recently performed in the group.

Contact
Max Wolff


Magneto-plasmonics – Understanding the correlation between plasmons and magneto-optics

Plasmons are collective electronic resonances that have a huge impact on the optical properties of metallic materials and nanostructures. With optical diffractometry and ellipsometry in combination with measurements of the magneto-optical effects one has access to all optical properties of a material. With the advent of plasmonics and metamaterials one has the possibility to tune those properties by using nanostructures to control the reflectivity of the material or even the the properties of the emitted light itself. This project will involve magnetic nanostructures and optical and magneto-optical measurements for characterization of magneto-plasmons.

Contact
Vassilios Kapaklis


Contact

On this page we only show a few examples. If you are interested in a visit and further discussions about ongoing and planned projects, please contact one of these people: