I studied Physics Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), where I earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. Both of them consisted mainly of solid state physics classes, with a particular focus on semiconductors (for electronics and photonics application) and magnetic nanostructures. My first experience in research was at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France), where I spent 10 months working as a trainee for my master thesis project.
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The technical advances in the deposition of epitaxial transition metal oxides heterostructures has led to the observation of a plethora of emergent physical phenomena due to the formation of coherent interfaces and often correlated with small structural distortions. The focus has been to explore the opportunities in achieving new functionalities at interfaces often neglecting the detailed determination of the interface or film structures. The use of high resolution scattering technique combined with advanced analysis methods such as Crystal Truncation Rod (CTR) fitting and Coherent Bragg Rod Analysis (COBRA) allows for the determination of interface structures and small structural changes in epitaxial thin films.
The project will build on the recent developments from the team on designing a coherent interface based on non-isostructural compounds (Nature Chemistry 2016) and a room temperature ferromagnetic ferroelectric material (1-x)BiTi(1-y)/2FeyMg(1-y)/2O3 – (x)CaTiO3 BTFM-CT presenting a morphotropic phase boundary (Nature 2015). This potentially technology important material presents a complex crystalline structure comprising a mixture of rhombohedral and orthorhombic phases. Its study in epitaxial thin film form will further our understanding of the structure-property relationship in this system and pave the way for its integration in magneto-electric devices.
The aim of this project is to determine the crystal structure of this compound and the possible strained stabilised phases in epitaxial films using advanced x-ray scattering methods and correlate it to the observed functionalities. Thin films will be grown using Pulsed Laser Deposition at the University of Liverpool and conditions will be optimised to prepare samples suitable to collect CTRs at the Diamond beamline I07. During the project a software will be developed to implement the COBRA algorithm on the collected CTR’s. It will contribute in giving the epitaxial oxide thin film community a tool similar to the methods available to the bulk inorganic material community to determine crystal structures.
Applications to this studentship will open in early 2018.
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