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LK-02 3 Year PhD Studentship - Synthesis and investigations of multiferroic thi

LK-02: 3 Year PhD Studentship - Synthesis and investigations of multiferroic thin film materials

Contract Type: Full-time 3 year PhD studentship

Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork invites applications for a 3 year PhD position. The project will involve the synthesis and characterisation of thin film materials with electronic and magnetic properties (multiferroic materials) for potential data/memory storage applications. This stimulating PhD studentship is part of Dr. Keeney’s prestigious Royal Society-Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship.

Multiferroic materials, possessing simultaneous electric and magnetic memory states, have been road-mapped as promising multi-state architectures for memory scaling beyond current technologies. No such devices currently exist however, as multiferroic materials with room temperature properties are extremely rare. Therefore the design and development of a room temperature multiferroic material was a significant output of our recent research. We are therefore eager to exploit this material and to address the intriguing research questions that this tantalising material opens up. While all samples synthesised demonstrate magnetic behaviour, a variation in magnetic response is observed. To produce samples with optimised and reliable magnetic response and to exploit this material for future data storage technologies, it is necessary to understand the origin of the room temperature magnetisation. Our latest work demonstrates that the magnetic ions tend to congregate to the centre of the structure, aligning close to each other which would permit them to interact and create pathways for long-range magnetic order.

Thus, in this project a systematic study will be performed whereby samples are synthesised to tailor their orientation and extent of magnetic ion partitioning. This will be correlated with the magnetic responses measured to ascertain the optimum conditions for magnetism and enhance the properties of this multiferroic material for potential future memory storage applications.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

The project aims to correlate the magnetic and magneto electric properties of room temperature multiferroic materials with their crystallite orientation and sub-unit cell characteristics. The PhD student will focus on fabrication of layered-structured Aurivillius phase thin films on suitable substrates by chemical solution deposition, and liquid injection chemical vapour deposition (LI-CVD) techniques. This will enable subsequent investigations of the micro-structural characteristics, magnetic properties and magneto electric coupling mechanisms by the student as a function of fabrication technique and substrate type/orientation. X-ray diffraction analysis of their structural properties will be key to the investigations along with piezoresponse force microscopy investigations of their electrical, magnetic and magnteoelectric properties. Collaboration with internal and external researchers will be an important part of the project as well as disseminating results in peer-reviewed publications and at national and international conferences.

Essential Criteria

  • As per Royal Society rules, students must have attained a 2:1 or higher in their undergraduate degree in order to be eligible for the studentship.
  • The successful candidate for the position will have their undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics or materials science.
  • The candidate must be highly self-motivated, be able to demonstrate initiative and have a desire to learn.
  • The candidate must possess good scientific writing and communication skills.

Desirable Criteria

  • A Master’s degree in chemistry, physics or materials science.
  • Prior experience in thin film synthetic techniques is an advantage.
  • Prior experience in X-ray diffraction analysis is an advantage.
  • Prior experience in characterising ferroelectric, ferromagnetic or multiferroic materials is an advantage.

Informal enquiries concerning this studentship can be made to: Dr. Lynette Keeney (

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for this successful candidate for this position. Yearly University Academic Fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions

Step 1 -  click here to download the application form and indicate the Job Reference LK-02

Step 2 - return the completed application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations ( Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.