Prof. Dr. Stuart Parkin wins his second ERC Advanced Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced its new Advanced Grants for the year 2022. One of these coveted grants is awarded to Stuart Parkin. His ERC grant “SUPERMINT” will explore the science that could allow for a novel cryogenic racetrack memory that relies on the interplay between chirality, spin textures and superconductivity at manufactured interfaces.

It is the second ERC Advanced Grant that Stuart Parkin, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle and Professor at the Institute of Physics of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, has won. His first ERC Advanced Grant “SORBET” was awarded in 2014 and was focused on spin-orbitronics for electronic technologies.

The research goals for this project go beyond the current state of the art and will demonstrate, for the first time, the motion of magnetic domain walls by triplet supercurrents, as well as the use of a Josephson diode effect to detect magnetic fields. Both of these effects take advantage of dissipation-less supercurrents that, therefore, use very little energy. A major objective is to use these two novel effects to demonstrate a prototype cryogenic racetrack memory that would consume little power but would have greater capacity and performance than any other proposed cryogenic memory. Memories that operate at cryogenic temperatures are urgently needed to realize advanced quantum and superconducting computing systems that will enable more efficient and scalable computing systems.

The majority of the grant will finance postdoctoral research fellows and PhD students to collaborate with Stuart Parkin on this research program. “I am very excited by SUPERMINT which takes advantage of three of our major research foci, namely, chirality, which can lead to extraordinary electronic and magnetic properties, spin currents, that can manipulate complex chiral spin textures, and a special, rare form of supercurrents that consume no energy but which can carry spin angular momentum. We want to show that such triplet supercurrents can be used to both create and move chiral domain walls in magnetic nano-wires at cryogenic temperatures”. Stuart Parkin goes on to say that “SUPERMINT takes advantage of all the fantastic and unique research capabilities that we have built over the past several years here at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle”. “Moreover, the goal is to do something that has never been done before: this challenge really motivates me and with the excellent PhD students and postdoctoral scientists I am sure we will overcome all roadblocks, scientific and technical to succeed!”, says Stuart Parkin. Parkin plans to collaborate with the University of Basel, Princeton University, and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg for this exciting project.

About the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council

The fundamental activity of the ERC is to provide attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high-gain/high-risk research.

In the current application round, the European Research Council has awarded Advanced Grants to 253 scientists, including 12 researchers from Max Planck Institutes. Each grant will enable the high-profile researchers and their teams to pursue their project ideas which are considered excellent.

A total of 1,735 research proposals reached the ERC in the last round of Advanced Grants, of which 14.6 percent were approved. In Physical Sciences and Engineering, 762 proposals were submitted and 110 selected for funding. The ERC provides 624 million euros for this purpose, which come from the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon Europe.

In total, the awards are distributed among 21 countries. Germany leads the ranking with 61 grants. It is followed by the United Kingdom (45 grants), the Netherlands (27 grants), and France (26 grants).

Once again, the MPG occupies a top position in the particularly prestigious awards of the Advanced Grants in Europe. The ERC Advanced Grants aim at excellent scientists at the career stage in which they are already established research leaders with a recognized track record of research achievements.

About the ERC

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organization for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants, and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept Grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialization. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe program, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.


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