The interest in magnetic materials has experienced a tremendous boost due to the versatility of magnetic multilayers for applications in sensors, actuators, and magnetic data storage. The new spintronic devices such as magnetic random access memories rely on a proper tailoring of the magnetic properties of highly complex multilayer structures. Ab-initio calculations in one hand can help a lot to understand the physics underlying spintronics, on the other hand, the results of first principle calculations may explore new concepts in designing new devices.
In order to study finite temperature properties of magnetic systems, their electronic structure is often mapped onto an extended classical Heisenberg model. The Computational Magnetism group of the Department of Theoretical Physics has all the necessary tools to determine the electronic structure of thin films and to derive the parameters appearing in the Heisenberg model from first principles. One way of tailoring the magnetic properties of multilayers is alloying. In the framework of the Korringa-Kohn-Rostoker (KKR) method the chemical disorder can be treated via the coherent potential approximation and a binary alloy system can be mapped onto an Ising model.
The PhD student will be acquainted with the KKR method, obtain parameters for various magnetic alloys and perform Monte Carlo simulations to explore the magnetic anisotropy and magnetic phase transitions of thin films. Our ultimate goal is to investigate the interplay of the composition and the magnetic structure for different classes of magnetic materials.
Sound knowledge in quantum mechanics and solid state physics, some programming skills