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Matt Colbear

Matt Colbear

Matt joined the CDT in September 2015 having previously completed a Masters in Chemistry from the University of East Anglia.

CDT PhD Project:

Spintronic Behaviour in Conducting Domain Walls

Supervisors:

Professor Marty Gregg, Queen's University Belfast

Dr Ian MacLaren, University of Glasgow

For decades, ferroic research has focused on the behaviour of domains: regions in which the order parameter, associated with broken symmetry, is uniform. Boundaries between domains (domain walls, DWs) have traditionally been seen as minor microstructural components of little significance. However, in recent years it has been discovered that nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that ferroic DWs often have unique functional properties that are completely different from the domains that they surround: they can be conductors or insulators where the rest of the material is insulating, they can display magnetic order in non-magnetic crystals and they can poses aligned electrical dipoles when the matrix surrounding them is non-polar. In effect, DWs are new 2D functional materials in their own right, and their properties are only now starting to be explored.

This project involves the ultimate in magnetic nanomaterials of potential use in memory technology. Focusing on thermally stable magnetic oxides, which are functionally reliant on pseudo 2D features where properties can be controlled by composition and mobility and pinning by nanostructuring, spintronic behaviour at DWs might be evident and on multiferroics, in which magnetic DWs might arise when the rest of the medium is non-magnetic.

This project aligns with topic 4 of the CDT research themes: Advanced materials for magnetic recording optimised for high temperature fluctuations through composition, layering and patterning on the micro and nanoscale.