Neutron-Scattering Studies of Magnetic Skyrmions in Novel Heusler Compounds
Magnetic skyrmions are topologically stable vortices of spins that can form spontaneously in certain chiral materials and represent a topic of active research in view of their potential for information storage in future memory and logic devices. They can order into a so-called skyrmion lattice that represents an exotic form of a long-range noncollinear magnetic structure. In recent years, we observed a tremendous progress both in the discovery of novel classes of skyrmion compounds and in our theoretical understanding of the underlying physical phenomena. By now, skyrmion ordering has been found in a broad range of compounds including metals, insulators and semiconductors. In this project, you will concentrate on the search for novel skyrmion materials among Heusler alloys, perform their synthesis and physical investigation by means of small-angle neutron scattering and neutron spectroscopy. You will use state-of-the-art facilities of the Max-Planck Institute for the Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Germany, to grow high-quality single crystals and perform their characterization. In collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden, you will then perform neutron-diffraction and small-angle neutron scattering experiments at world-leading neutron sources to study the magnetic phase diagram of the new materials and establish the presence of the skyrmion ordering. Afterwards, neutron spectroscopy will be employed to investigate the spin-excitation spectrum and quantify the underlying magnetic interactions in the same samples.
As neutron scattering can only be performed at large-scale facilities, the willingness to travel is an essential prerequisite for this project.