Research Fellow in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

2 days left

University of Warwick, Coventry
£30,395 - £39,609 per annum
Dec 20, 2018
Jan 19, 2019
Contract Type
Full Time
Vacancy Overview
Fixed Term, Full-Time Contract for 36 months

We wish to appoint a Research Fellow for three years starting from June 2019 to work on skyrmionic materials, in particular, the production of single crystals of materials which have previously been identified to exhibit skyrmionic behaviour and explore new materials which may exhibit this behaviour. The project will make use of a number of experimental techniques to synthesize the crystals and involve a study of the crystals produced through detailed investigations of their structural and magnetic properties.

The project takes place in the context of a wider programme of materials investigation currently underway within the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group in the University of Warwick. The University of Warwick is one of the five consortium universities in the UK National Research Programme into Skyrmions and Skyrmionic Materials, funded by the EPSRC through a Programme Grant for 6 years.

Candidates will have a solid background in experimental Condensed Matter Physics, Chemistry, or Materials Science. Candidates should be trained in experimental solid state synthesis and preferably have experience of some crystal growth techniques (floating zone, Bridgman, Czochralski, vapour transport techniques) as well as low temperature experimental characterisation methods. Candidates should also demonstrate proficiency in the use of x-ray diffraction methods for powder and/or single crystals. They should show a strong interest and aptitude for learning new experimental techniques and a commitment to a high standard of scientific research.

The study of all the materials produced will be undertaken through detailed investigations of their structural and magnetic properties. Experimental investigations of these materials will be conducted in collaboration with other research groups both at Warwick and at the other participating Universities within the Programme Grant consortium. There will also be scope for taking part in experiments at international facilities using neutron and x-ray scattering techniques.

The successful candidate will work in the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group under the supervision of Prof. Geetha Balakrishnan. Candidates will be expected to be able work within a broader research team at Warwick and also with the wider UK Skyrmion consortium, demonstrate excellent written and verbal communication skills, and maintain a current knowledge of the literature. They should be willing to play an active role in periodic progress and planning meetings for the project as well as in the dissemination of results.

If you have not yet been awarded your PhD but are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD, any offers of employment will be made as Research Assistant on level 5 of the University grade structure (£29,515). Upon successful award of your PhD and evidence of this fact, you will be promoted to Research Fellow on the first point of level 6 of the University grade structure (£30,395 pa).

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Geetha Balakrishnan -

Interview Date: March/April 2019

Job Description

Research in the field of skyrmionic materials; in particular, the synthesis and characterisation of single crystals of materials identified to exhibit skyrmionic behaviour as well as work towards the discovery of new materials which may exhibit this behaviour.


1. To carry out original research in the field of skyrmionic materials, in particular, the production of single crystals of materials which exhibit skyrmionic behaviour and explore new materials which may exhibit this behaviour.

2. To synthesize polycrystalline materials (oxides, chalcogenides) by solid state synthesis and inter-metallic materials using an arc furnace.

3. To grow single crystals of skyrmionic and related materials by various crystal growth techniques (Bridgman, flux methods, floating zone technique using Optical Furnaces and chemical vapour transport method)

4. To investigate the structural properties of the polycrystalline and single crystal materials using laboratory-based x-ray diffraction apparatus.

5. To investigate or assist in the investigation of the properties of the crystals at central facilities (neutron/muon techniques/ synchrotron x-ray scattering).

6. To competently, effectively and safely use specialist scientific equipment in an environment that includes magnetic fields, cryogens and x-ray radiation.

7. To undertake training, when required, in new experimental techniques.

8. To be able to work in a team and to collaborate with a wide team of scientists at an international level. To take an active role within the wider research group, participating in group meetings, attend seminars, and assist with the supervision of research level students.

9. To travel for international collaborations, experiments and conferences when required.

10. To prepare proposals for central facilities, reports, and manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. To present research findings at national or international conferences.

11. To work in a team and to collaborate with a number of scientists at an international level.

12. To assist with other reasonable practical duties.

Person Specification

The Person Specification focuses on the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications required to undertake the role effectively. This is measured by (a) Application Form, (b) Test/Exercise, (c) Interview, (d) Presentation.

Essential Criteria 1
A completed doctorate or equivalent (by the start date) in Physics or a related discipline (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 2
Experience of solid state synthesis techniques (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 3
Experience of crystal growth techniques (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 4
The ability to work both independently and as a member of a small experimental team; to co-ordinate experiments with other groups (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 5
The ability to liaise successfully and work with external collaborators (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 6
The ability to produce scientific papers and present results at conferences (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 7
An excellent record of publications in peer-reviewed journals and oral presentations at national and international conferences, commensurate with the stage of career. (a) (c) (d)

Essential Criteria 8
A high standard of organization and self-motivation with the ability to manage the day-to-day running of a research project, to identify research objectives and to carry out appropriate research activities within a given time-scale. (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 9
Excellent oral and communication skills, including proven ability to write in English at a suitable standard for the preparation of written reports, publications and presentations of the work at generalist and specialist levels. (a) (c) (d)

Desirable Criteria 1
The ability to carry out low temperature transport, magnetic and specific heat measurements (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 2
The ability to perform structural characterisation through x-ray diffraction techniques (powder and/or single crystals) (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 3
The ability to perform neutron scattering/muon/x-ray studies and analyse the data collected (a) (c)

Further Particulars
For further information about the University of Warwick, please read our University Further Particulars .

For further information about the department, please visit the departmental website .

The post-doctoral research fellow will join a team working on experimental studies of skyrmion materials The EPSRC project that funds this position starts in June 2019 and is described below.

Project title:'Skyrmionics: From Magnetic Excitations to Functioning Low-Energy Devices'
Funding: EPSRC Programme Grant
Investigator at Warwick: Prof Geetha Balakrishnan
Environment: Superconductivity & Magnetism Research Group, Department of Physics
Institute: University of Warwick

The project involves experimental research forming part of the UK Skyrmionics Programme. The aim of this project is to elucidate the nature, stability and excitations of magnetic materials that host skyrmions.

Skyrmions are excitations of matter whose occurrence and properties are mysterious, and which hold promise for technological deployment as highly efficient memory elements. The discovery of skyrmions in magnetic materials and of their self-organisation into a skyrmion lattice has made skyrmion physics arguably the hottest topic in magnetism.

A major research programme was launched in July 2016 intended to achieve a step-change in our understanding of skyrmions in magnetic materials and engineer them towards application. Our EPSRC funded programme is a six year UK based project built around a consortium of five premier Universities, with input from international academic institutions and industrial partners. The project is led by Prof. Peter Hatton and Dr Tom Lancaster (Durham), Prof. Paul Midgley FRS (Cambridge), Dr. Thorsten Hasjedal (Oxford), Prof. Hans Fanghor and Dr Ondrej Hovorka (Southampton), Prof. Geetha Balakrishnan and Dr Martin Lees (Warwick).

The wider aim of the Skyrmionics Programme is to investigate three Key Challenges of skyrmionics research: (I) materials discovery and crystal growth; (II) fundamental science and (III) engineering to application. There are currently several Post Doctoral Research Associates working in the project, one based in each University, covering all aspects of the work (crystal growth and characterisation, state-of-the-art experimentation, thin film physics, electron microscopy and computational modelling. PhD students will also be recruited at each institution. The post at the University of Warwick will form part of Key Challenge I.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Geetha Balakrishnan -

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Other Information
The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual's differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.

The Department of Physics

For further information about the Department of Physics, please visit our website at: .

The Physics Department and the University of Warwick are proud of their diverse community of staff, students, and visitors, and are committed to maintaining an excellent record in teaching and research by ensuring that there is equality of opportunity for all, fostered in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.

Both the Physics Department and the University of Warwick hold Athena SWAN Silver awards, a national initiative to promote gender equality for all staff and students. The Physics Department is also a Juno Champion, which is an award from the Institute of Physics to recognise our efforts to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.

Further information can be found at: .

The University supports flexible working and requests for job-share will be considered where possible.

Childcare can be provided for you at the University of Warwick Nursery ( .) in order for you to attend the interview. Childcare is subject to availability of places at the Nursery.

Closing Date
27 Jan 2019