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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Brief project description:
In this studentship we will determine the thermal stability of chiral magnetic objects by monitoring their fluctuations using high-speed coherent magnetic speckle techniques on I10. In particular we are interested in chiral magnetic skyrmions that are present in inversion asymmetric multilayers that possess a Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. This chirality leads to soft x-ray circular dichroism (arXiv:1709.08352 [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]) that allows the details of the spin textures to be unravelled. More than ten per cent of the world’s electricity supply is consumed by IT, much of it to physically spin hard disks or to refresh volatile memory: magnetic skyrmions offer the prospect of vastly reducing the energy needed to write and store digital data if their stability can be controlled.
To do this we will carry out a project that is based on the acknowledged expertise at Leeds in the preparation of magnetic multilayers combined with the coherent scattering capabilities that we have developed together with Diamond on the RASOR endstation at I10. This combination will provide a superb research training environment for the student.
In our project we will collaborate with the Diamond Detector group in order to increase the frame rate of the coherent scattering XPCS method by one-thousandfold using the cutting-edge PERCIVAL detector, and develop analysis software for the resulting very large data sets. We will determine the chiral states in a family of magnetic multilayers, grown and characterised at Leeds, that have different materials and layer structures, by using static dichroic imaging. Having identified these chiral states, we will complete our project by studying the onset and nature of thermal fluctuations those chiral spin structures using high-frame rate XPCS. These results will provide invaluable information on the pinning and thermal stability of chiral magnetic structures such as skyrmions, essential for their adoption as a means of storing digital data.
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