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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S021027/1
Title: Overseas Travel Grant: XMCD investigation of spin-orbit coupled heavy-metal/ferromagnet heterostructures at the Advanced Light Source, Berkeley
Principal Investigator: Banerjee, Dr N
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Overseas Travel Grants (OTGS)
Starts: 27 November 2018 Ends: 26 February 2019 Value (£): 4,206
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Sep 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - September 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This Overseas Travel Grant proposal seeks support from the EPSRC to cover the expenses related to travel and accommodation costs for the final phase of our beam time at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to study the spin-orbit coupling in heavy-metal/ferromagnet multilayers. Spin-orbit coupling has recently been under intense focus in spintronics research, offering a revolutionary way to manipulate spins without ferromagnets which has driven classical spintronic devices. Spin-orbit coupling in heavy-metals in contact with ferromagnets has also been utilised to generate novel topological objects like magnetic skyrmions that offers the possibility of next-generation of ultra-dense data storage. Furthermore, recent work has shown a fundamental connection between spin-orbit coupling in heavy-metal/ferromagnet heterostructres and superconductivity that offers the possibility to develop a superconducting analogue of spin-orbit coupling-driven spintronics.

Although the importance of spin-orbit coupled ferromagnets designed from these heterostructures is established, several materials-related questions remain. For example, the exact dependence of the strength of the spin-orbit coupling as a function of the nature of heavy-metal or ferromagnet remains poorly understood. A comprehensive study using different ferromagnets and heavy-metals will allow us to understand the microscopic origins of the spin-orbit coupling in these systems and ways to manipulate it. To investigate this, we have been awarded 24 shifts of X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD) beamtime at the 6.3.1. beamline at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley from 2017-2018. We have already attended 18 shifts and this proposal seeks funding to sponsor our last 6 shifts of beamtime (Proposal number ALS-09050, attached beamtime schedule letter). This beamline offers high accuracy XMCD measurements with a rapid magnetic field reversal minimising scan time. The highly-automated beamline also allows several samples to be measured in one loading making it ideal for our study involving a large number of samples.

The results from this beamtime will allow us in future to quantitatively relate material parameters with the strength of spin-orbit coupling, thereby providing experimentalists a list to select materials from to specifically tailor the properties of these. Not only this will benefit the spintronics community, but will also allow us to consolidate our understanding of the newly discovered role of spin-orbit coupling in superconducting spintronics.
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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk