Workplace: Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic
Thesis Topic: Ferromagnetism in Ultra-Thin Films of Semiconducting Oxides
Supervisor: Hoa Hong Nguyen, PhD
Type of Cooperation: PhD fellowship (more information on PhD study programmes at the Faculty of Science here)
Expected Start Date: negotiable (approx. September 2023)
Application Deadline: 31 May 2023

About the Workplace
We are looking for highly motivated graduates to join our research activities in the Department of Condensed Matter Physics. Experiments will be performed using the unique equipment of CEITEC Nano Infrastructure, the national joint research infrastructure of the Central European Institute of Technology of Brno University of Technology and Masaryk University (see http://www.nano.ceitec.cz)
Masaryk University is modern, dynamic and the most attractive university in the Czech Republic with ten faculties, more than 6000 staff and 30 000 students, a wide range of research areas and a strong international position. We are the largest academic employer in the South Moravian Region.
Faculty of Science MU, a holder of the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission, is a research-oriented faculty, offering university education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs) closely linked to both primary and applied research and high school teaching of the following sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth sciences. We are the most productive scientific unit of the Masaryk University generating around 40 % of MU research results.

The aim of study is to clarify the origin of induced room temperature ferromagnetism in pristine Semiconducting Oxide Thin Films. By down scaling semiconducting oxides to nano size, under appropriate conditions that may favor oxygen vacancies/defects at the surface and interface, room temperature ferromagnets can be obtained. This may show us the way how to manipulate the spins and charges simultaneously in the same device. We propose to study the effect of introducing additional carriers and various types of defects into thin films of undoped ZnO, In2O3, and HfO2. The study will exploit the element selectivity of X-ray magnetic circular dichroism to detect changes of the spin polarization caused by the presence of extra charge carriers due either to x-ray irradiation or to dopant impurities. We expect these studies to shed new light on the mechanisms of d0-Ferromagnetism.

The PhD candidate is expected to join our research in one of the following research activities:

  • Preparation of targets and ultrathin films of undoped ZnO, In2O3, and HfO2 and doped-semiconducting oxides with different dopant concentrations.
  • Perform necessary measurements such as XRD, VSM, XAS, XMCD etc. to characterize the films.
  • Manipulating oxygen vacancies and defects in a controllable way by means of changing size, applying different conditions, and thermal and oxygen treatments.
  • Performing simulations to guide the experiments.

Offered Conditions
Selected candidates will receive a comprehensive training in the field of Experimental Nano-Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.
Besides, studying at our Faculty is an opportunity to study and live in a modern and dynamic city and one of 10 best student cities.
In addition to the standard PhD scholarship at Masaryk University (CZK 12 000 per month), additional funds are provided through departmental resources (assignment in research projects, additional scholarships). An overall NET monthly income is typically around CZK 24 000. Additional support includes performance-based bonuses (scholarships for successfully published papers) as well as support for international mobility or attendance of conferences etc.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Master degree in either Condensed Matter Physics or Chemistry of Solids (required at the time of enrolment to the PhD study program)
  • Hands-on experiences in experimental laboratories, being familiar with PLD, MPMS, XRD and Chemistry Lab (positively evaluated during the interview and selection process)
  • Good communication skills (oral and written) in English
  • High level of commitment to complete the PhD studies

How to Apply
Please send your curriculum vitae, cover letter with a summary of your previous research activities to: Dr. Nguyen hong.nguyen@mail.muni.cz.

Selection Process
Received applications will be continuously reviewed and carefully considered. Shortlisted applicants meeting the requirements will be invited to an interview.
Please note that your application does not substitute an official admission process to Ph.D. studies at SCI MUNI. Details including discussion about the research topic, required documentation or formalities will be a subject of the interview with successful candidates. Only upon the informal pre-agreement with potential future supervisor, a formal application for PhD studies at Faculty of Science, Masaryk University can be submitted.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!