PhD scholarship in First Principles Simulations of Domain Walls in Multiferroic Materials

torsdag 04 jul 19

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Frist 15. september 2019
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We offer a PhD scholarship at the section for Computational Atomic-scale Materials Design (CAMD), department of physics, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The main focus of CAMD is first principles simulations of materials properties in the framework of Density Functional Theory. Research activities in the section include magnetism, ferroelectrics, spin-orbit physics, optical properties, two-dimensional materials, high throughput materials discovery, and machine learning.

The present PhD project will focus on the stability and fundamental properties of domain walls in multiferroic materials that exhibit magnetic order as well as spontaneous polarization. We will study the interplay with defects and shed light on the microscopic mechanisms that are responsible for the formation and stabilization of charged domain walls. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with an experimental group at DTU studying ferroelectrics with X-ray scattering.

Responsibilities and tasks
The successful candidate will be responsible for developing a first principles framework for understanding the fundamental properties of domain walls in multiferroics. The physics of multiferroics is extremely rich, but some of the fundamental questions we would like to answer are: 

  • Do charged defects act as seeds for the formation of charged domain walls in ferroelectrics?
  • Why are ferroelectric domains not depolarized under the large fields arising from charged domain walls?
  • How does magnetic order couple to ferroelectric order in multiferroic domain walls?
  • How are non-linear optical response functions (shift currents) affected by domain walls
The topic is challenging, but offers a unique chance to delve deep into the modern theory of polarization as well as first principles treatment of magnetic order and defects. The candidate will work in a group consisting of four faculty members and 20 PhD students and postdocs; all dedicated to research involving first principles simulations. In the course of the project the candidate will acquire expert skills in: 
  • First principles computer simulations using state-of-the-art electronic structure software
  • Code development
  • The Berry phase theory of polarization
  • Non-linear optical properties
If the above points sounds interesting you may be our new PhD student!

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in physics, materials science or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

The candidate should have a strong background in solid state physics or materials science. Experience with Python, first principles computer simulations, and Density Functional Theory will be an advantage, but is not a requirement. In addition, the candidate must have excellent communications skills in English.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Thomas Olsen and will be based on marks (translated into the Danish grading system), the cover letter, and references.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about 
career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Thomas Olsen, email:

You can read more about the department of Physics and the section for Computational Atomic-scale Materials Design (CAMD) at

Please submit your online application no later than 15 September 2019 (local time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.