Arturo Rodríguez

Research project

Skyrmions in proximity to a superconductor with large spin-orbit coupling

Project supervisor

Dr. Kirsten von Bergmann

Recruitment date

Arturo Rodríguez

My name is Arturo Rodríguez Sota, but many people call me Ars.

I am from a small village in La Rioja, Spain, and since I was a child, I have always wanted to learn about the universe, and in fact, to learn in general.

Because of my hugely curious nature, I have always wanted to learn more about everything. This nature has driven me to try many really interesting activities such as hypnosis, Arduino, 3D printing, poetry, rocket modeling, playing instruments, and almost anything you could imagine.

Well, when aiming for a greater knowledge of everything, I ended up in Madrid studying Physics in the UCM, and this city let me grow just as I needed in every single imaginable way. Once I finished  my degree, I began a Master degree in Condensed Matter also in Madrid in the UAM.

Organizing myself to study, enjoying Madrid as a cultural space, and keeping on learning about everything else was demanding, but it was really worthy.

I was finishing the Master when I first heard of SPEAR. I was looking for something new, the five years in Madrid have been great, but I just wanted to know how the world works outside my comfort zone. I want to keep growing, and an international project in a young field of study, like this one, is the perfect place to do it.

The future is ours… Let’s give it some Science.

Project Description

In many cases, magnetism and superconductivity are exclusive phenomena. However, at the interface between a magnetic material and a superconducting element their interplay can lead to intriguing novel phenomena. In particular the topological properties of magnetic textures and the superconductor are of interest, with skyrmions and Majorana modes as prominent candidates for future technological breakthroughs.

Model systems to study the interplay of magnetic skyrmions with super­conductors are ultrathin films on superconducting single crystal surfaces [1]. In such sample systems different spin textures can be realized, including ferromagnets, spin spirals, and skyrmions [2-4]. Since magnetic fields are detrimental to the superconducting phase the focus will be on zero-field skyrmions such as lattices stabilized by higher-order spin interactions [5], metastable isolated skyrmions at low temperatures [6], or skyrmions stabilized by confinement.

The tasks include the ultra-high-vacuum growth and optimization of the samples. The magnetic and superconducting properties will be characterized using low-temperature spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy.

[1] A. Kubetzka et al., Phys. Rev. Mat. 4, 081401(R) (2020).

[2] K. von Bergmann et al., J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 26, 394002 (2014).

[3] N. Romming et al., Science 341, 636 (2013).

[4] P.-J. Hsu et al., Nature Nanotechnol. 12, 123 (2017).

[5] S. Heinze et al., Nature Phys. 7, 713 (2011).

[6] S. Meyer et al., Nature Commun. 10, 3823 (2019).

Host institution

As a University of Excellence, Universität Hamburg is one of the strongest research universities in Germany. The Department of Physics has been awarded two clusters of excellence as part of the Excellence Strategy and it is involved in three core research areas of the University, including nanostructure and solid state physics.

The Nanoscience group is headed by Prof. Roland Wiesendanger, and Dr. Kirsten von Bergmann is one of the Senior Scientists. The research group typically has about 30 members on the PostDoc or PhD student level. The core expertise is low temperature scanning probe microscopies in magnetic fields. In particular, spin-polarized scanning tunnelling microscopy is routinely done down to the atomic scale and standard surface science ultra-high vacuum equipment complements the laboratories for sample preparations.

Planned Secondments

MLU (Halle, Germany), under the supervision of Ingrid Mertig.

Scienta Omicron (Taunusstein, Germany), under the supervision of Matthias A Fenner.

Registering University

UHAM (Hamburg, Germany).

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