PhD Student in Physics

The Neutron Scattering and Magnetism Group, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, is currently looking to fill a PhD position on experimental studies of quantum magnets using neutron scattering, μSR and other techniques.PhD Position: New Exotic Phases and Excitations in Quantum Magnets (100%)

Conventional magnetic materials demonstrate long range spin order at low temperatures. There are numerous systems though, where quantum fluctuations destroy such order even at T=0. The most interesting of these are not the fully disordered ones, but those where quantum fluctuations stabilize some exotic, often “hidden” or topological order parameters. The best known example is the topological ground state in S=1 chains, for which F. D. M. Haldane won the 2016 Nobel Prize. In recent years, a dazzling variety of exotic phases have been predicted in quantum magnets with geometric frustration. Among these are gapped and gapless topological spin liquids, chiral and spin-nematic phases, spin density waves and resonating-bond states. Each such phase is also characterized by unique excitations that too are often topological in nature: Majorana quasiparticles, gauge fluxes, spinons, Higgs-like longitudinal modes, “magnetic monopoles”, etc. Also of interest are quantum phase transitions between different phases and the role played by their coupling to the elastic crystal lattices. The race is on to find experimental realizations of the most interesting models and to investigate them in the laboratory.

The present PhD project at the Neutron Scattering and Magnetism Group, Laboratory for Solid State Physics, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, aims to apply state of the art experimental techniques to investigate exotic quantum phases and excitations in several carefully chosen frustrated magnetic compounds. As a first step, it will involve a detailed characterization of the novel materials using magnetometry, magneto-dielectric and magneto-thermodynamic measurements at mK-temperatures and high magnetic fields, as well as X-ray, muon spin rotation and neutron diffraction studies. The main thrust will be an extensive spectroscopic investigation. Inelastic neutron scattering studies will be carried out at state of the art large-scale user facilities in Switzerland, France, UK, and the USA.

The successful candidate
is expected to be actively involved in every phase of the project. No prior experience in optical spectroscopy or neutron scattering is required, but a solid background in laboratory work is indeed a must. Since the project is based around rather complex concepts in modern physics, a solid theoretical base in quantum mechanics, statistical physics and quantum solid state physics is absolutely essential. Good computer skills are a plus.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a CV, all certificates, transcripts, a statement of research interests and the names and contact details of two referees Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Incomplete application packages will also not be considered.

For further information about the the group please visit our website www.neutron.ethz.ch. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Andrey Zheludev by email zhelud@ethz.ch (no applications).