Conor McCluskey - Student Profile
Current Research Project:
Investigation of topological defects in ferroelectrics
With the demand for smaller, more efficient devices at a time when device size is reaching a fundamental limit, finding new functionality in materials becomes ever more important.
Our group deals with ferroelectrics. We investigate the nanoscale regions over which the spontaneous polarisation of a ferroelectric varies, which can show electrical properties that are in contrast to the surrounding bulk material. They can also be created, moved, and tuned by external fields, making them ideal candidates for future device elements/information carriers.
My work involves experimental transport measurements on a certain subclass of these defects, domain walls, which show enhanced electrical conduction relative to bulk. With a combination of nanoscale scanning probe microscopy, macroscopic electrical measurements and studies of electronic band structure, we can build up a picture of the physics governing the domain wall conduction, which is key for implementation into device architecture.
I grew up in Carryduff, just outside of Belfast, and attended school in the city. In 2015 I began my undergraduate study, MSci Physics at QUB. I graduated in 2019, and was awarded the Greer prize and Seagate solid state prizes for best performing physics MSci student and solid-state student respectively. My interest in the physics of ferroelectrics and material characterisation began during my MSci project, which revolved around testing a technique to avoid contact effects when performing nanoscale electrical characterisation on domain walls. This led me to apply for a PhD in a similar area, and I began researching defects in ferroelectrics in October 2019.
- Domain walls and Skyrmions
- Scanning probe techniques
- Transport characterisation
- Electronic band structure