Ionitronic materials and devices

Supervisor:                                                            Prof. Dr. Stuart Parkin
Responsible Scientific Pillar Coordinator:      Dr. Ke Xiao, Dr. Yicheng Guan

Electric field effects, especially those relying on electrolytes, have been widely used for tuning the physical properties of materials. There are two main mechanisms behind such electric field effects, one is the electrostatic while the other is the electro-chemical mechanism [1-3]. The electric double layers formed in the vicinity of the interface between electrolyte and target material can produce a large electric field. In the electro-chemical case, the ions inside the electrolyte can be driven by this electric field into the target material so that the chemical composition of the materials can be changed which in turn gives rise to an effective and non-volatile manipulation of the material properties. This is the foundation of the research field of ionitronics.

In recent research, ionitronics has been widely used including, but not limited to, insulator-to-metal transition, emergence of superconductivity, and the manipulation of magnetic properties. It can be used to mimic the neuronal response. The materials systems used in ionitronics range from thin-film heterostructures and oxides to the most recent 2D van der Waals materials [1-3].

This project deals with the ionitronic manipulation of material properties to explore new physics and  functional devices based on ionitronics which can lead to novel applications. In this project, you will have the chance to explore ionitronic-induced changes in structural, optical, transport and magnetic properties in a plethora of material systems. State-of-the-art design of device structures to realize logic functions which can further lead to neuromorphic and analogue computing will also be heavily investigated.

You will have the chance to work with thin-film deposition instruments such as pulsed laser deposition, transport measurement instruments with variable temperature, and optical measurement including dichroism and second-harmonic generation.


[1] Y. Guan et al., Ann. Rev. of Mater. Res. 53 (2023)

[2] C. Leighton, Nat. Mater. 18 (2019)

[3] S. Z. Bisri et al., Adv. Mater. 29 (2017)


For scientific questions about the possible PhD topic, please contact the corresponding pillar coordinators. For formal question regarding the application, please contact Michael Strauch.

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