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Research Associate

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year
Interview Date
16th July 2021
Posted Date
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Job Reference

Role Description


The Department of Physics is at the forefront of pioneering global research and technological advancement in our world leading research centres, focused around biophysics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and plasma physics and fusion energy at the York Plasma Institute. As a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We aim to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff groups. We promote good practice and a strong culture of equality in higher education, and are proud of our Juno Champion Award and Athena SWAN Silver Award.


We seek a Post-Doctoral Research Associate to work under the direction of Dr. G. Vallejo Fernandez (Physics) and Prof. A. Hirohata (Electronic Engineering) on an EPSRC funded projected entitled ‘Anisotropy in Antiferromagnets’. The main objective of the project is the investigation of the origin of the anisotropy in antiferromagnetic materials via a combination of experimental measurements and ab-initio modelling. This position will focus on the experimental aspects of the project including thin film deposition by sputtering and magnetic/structural characterisation of the grown films. Funding for this appointment is available for 24 months with the possibility of a further 24 months extension.

Spintronics or spin electronics is an emerging field of applied physics which studies the intrinsic spin of an electron and its associated magnetic moment. Until recently, most studies were based on ferromagnetic materials. In 2014 it was announced that significant spintronic phenomena occurred in metallic antiferromagnetic (AF) materials. These phenomena are an unexpected spin-Hall effect and, critically, the ability to manipulate the orientation of the AF axes using a spin polarised current pulse. This latter phenomenon is of critical importance as it has been shown that an AF material can relax 1000 times faster than a typical ferromagnetic device. Hence, in principle, an AF based storage or switching device would be capable of being many times faster than a conventional Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) device. Such system would require significantly lower power and, importantly, any resulting orientation would not be subject to the normal demagnetising field effect that limits the performance of a device based on a ferromagnet. For both potential storage and switching applications, the anisotropy of AF materials will be a critical parameter whose origin(s) are not yet understood. The technique to measure the anisotropy is based on the exchange bias effect and was developed by our group.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • You will have a strong first degree in Physics or related subject and a PhD in the field of experimental magnetism.
  • You should have experience in thin film growth and magnetic characterisation including Vibrating Sample Magnetometry.
  • Ideally you should have experience in X-ray diffraction and/or Transmission Electron Microscopy as well as handling cryogenics.
  • You should be knowledgeable and experienced in the planning, conduct, analysis, interpretation and validation of scientific findings and in the publication of high-quality research, evidenced by publication. 
  • You should be enthusiastic and have the organisation skills to help co-ordinate a cross-site, multi-disciplinary team.

Interview date: 16th July 2021

For informal enquiries: please contact Dr. Gonzalo Vallejo Fernandez ( or


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