(ref. BAP-2021-596)

13 July 2021

Apply before 20 August 2021

The Quantum Solid State physics division focuses on experimental work in low-dimensional solid state physics, including (but not limited to) magnetism and superconductivity. The laboratory has extensive and state-of-the-art equipment for production and structural characterization of ultrathin films and nanostructured materials, ion beam modification and ion beam analysis, facilities for low-temperature electrical and magnetic characterization, including Mossbauer spectroscopy. Apart from the in-house facilities the group is also intensively using international large-scale facilities, in particular synchrotrons, neutron sources, free electron lasers and ion beams.


This project focuses on magnetoelectric materials, in which the magnetic order of a ferromagnetic material is coupled to the charge order in a ferroelectric material. As a result, the magnetization can be manipulated by applying an electric field. This has an enormous potential for creating future low-energy consumption devices such as magnetic memories. In the materials that are studied in this project, this coupling is created at the interface between a ferroelectric and a ferromagnetic material, e.g. by strain transfer. This magnetoelectric coupling has been studied extensively in planar structures, where the strain transfer is hampered by film clamping to the substrate. In this project we therefore explore other architectures in which the magnetoelectric coupling can be optimized, leading to novel effects. We will study the interaction between patterned ferromagnetic islands and a ferroelectric substrate leading to a competition between shape anisotropy and strain effects with the aim to manipulate the magnetic domain structure within the ferromagnetic islands. Secondly we will study a novel type of embedded three-dimensional interconnected nanowires in which interfacial strain effects are optimized and clamping effects are absent. The aim is to study the magnetization configuration in the nanowires and how it can be affected by magnetoelectric coupling. Finally we also investigate how the phonon spectrum in these nanowires can be modified and controlled by applying an electric field.


We are looking for a motivated PhD student wishing to perform experimental work related to multiferroic thin films with a solid background in condensed matter physics and quantum mechanics. Experience in experimental work is an asset. Background of the candidate should be physics or engineering/materials science with a high level of insight in condensed matter and quantum physics.


We offer a PhD position (initially for two years, with extension to four years after successful evaluation (and having fulfilled all requirements of the doctoral school). The successful candidate will work in the team of Professors Kristiaan Temst, Margriet Van Bael and André Vantomme and we expect the candidate to interact strongly with the PhD students, postdocs and instrument specialists in the group. Apart from the work in the laboratory in Leuven, the candidate is also expected to participate intensively in the experimental campaigns at international research facilities (synchrotron and neutron sources).


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kristiaan Temst, tel.: +32 16 32 76 20, mail: or Prof. dr. André Vantomme, tel.: +32 16 32 75 14, mail: can apply for this job no later than August 20, 2021 via

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at