Author: Mayank Sharma

At science museum with Spintronics

Spintronics poster
Explaining the size of modern day storage devices

Last week I had an exciting opportunity to interact with the high school students at the Inspira Bizitzak (Inspiring Lives) a science outreach event organized by the science museum in San Sebastian. The event was for young students hence it was a good challenge to explain spintronics. I aimed more towards giving them an essence, probably not even the taste, just the smell of the subject.

The day started with talks by the researchers in the morning followed by a poster session. I sat with students in the morning listening to different researchers not realizing that I too have become one.

The event unfolded and soon the poster session started as you can see in the pictures, I was trying to explain them spintronics. Here, I used human hair and human figure nails to give them some idea how tiny the magnetic storage now has become. Although there was some language barrier but still the students were very enthusiastic as if they wanted to learn everything in one day.

The discussions with students went beyond physics or spintronics, a lot of discussions were about being creative or thinking about new ideas in any field. During the session an excellent example of zipper came up and how it has changed a lot of things around us from clothing to tents to covers. The day came to an end with wonderful discussions and curious faces.

I left the place with a feeling that, it is simple ideas with great implications that change the world.


The new year started with my academic secondment at ETH. Had a chance to catch up with Marco (ESR3) before he left for his secondment in Grenoble. While Niklas (ESR4) has been constantly there to help me with the institutional and lab stuff. I also had an opportunity to meet my industrial secondment supervisor Dr. Jan Rhensius from QZabre. Zhewen (ESR13) is also around to show me nice trails just behind the ETH Hönggerberg campus.

How can I forget watches, probably the strongest attraction that always pulled me towards Switzerland. Zurich is one good place to see watches thanks to the famous bahnhofstrasse, one whole street full of watch boutiques is no less than a watch paradise. Every week I go to the street to update myself with the new watches on display but still feels like I haven’t seen it enough. Apparently there is a watch museum here which I haven’t managed to see but planning to see soon, never the less I did visit the Lindt chocolate museum. I would recommend to take the guided tour, it’s a fun experience to eat free chocolate like kids.

World’s largest free standing chocolate fountain at the museum

An Afternoon

One afternoon I had some time to play with the microscope during my school days. The moment I was out of sight of my teacher, I started looking at the things that I use every day. I still remember very vividly looking at a dead mosquito. Of course, I ate mosquitos every day ;).

Life have changed and now every afternoon I get to play with the microscope. Below you see a picture of my smartphone screen. On the top row is the picture as we see and in the bottom row is what I saw under the microscope. The matrix of red, blue, and green OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) lights up in different combinations and intensities to produce the 16 million colors that we see. We use it every day and technology has been around for a while now. But still to see it in action is very exciting.

These are some of the different types of devices I am working on now. They don´t look as beautiful as a mosquito. On the left we see a device with platinum contacts made with e-beam lithography with a 2D ferromagnet flake encapsulated with boron nitrite. On the right is another device with gold contacts in transverse and longitudinal geometries.

An unexpected meeting…

Perhaps my ear to ear smile itself explains the joy I am experiencing in this moment. It was just two years ago when I was finishing my bachelor’s that I came across the word Spintronics. At that time, I did not realize that soon I would become a part of big project like SPEAR and that I would be working at CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastián, Spain), where I would get to meet the creator of the Spintronics field itself, Noble laurate Prof. Albert Fert. Prof. Fert is a frequent collaborator of Prof. Felix Casanova, my supervisor and co-leader of the Nanodevices group, and he happened to be visiting our research center last month.

Although it has just been one month since I started my journey as a doctoral researcher at CIC nanoGUNE the experience has been very rewarding. I am learning new preparation and characterization techniques for the 2D magnetic materials which is exciting and challenging at the same time. 

Diseño y desarrollo web Triplevdoble