Quantum Electron Matter van der Waals-Zeeman Institute

Master's projects


The Hard Condensed Matter group offers the following opportunities for completion of the research projects of Masters-phase students:

Zooming in on topologically protected surface states.
This project can be offered to four MSc students; one per flavour:

  • synthesis and investigation of new 3D topological insulators and related superconductors
  • k-space microscopy of surface states in 3D topological insulators
  • scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy of 3D topological insulators
  • high-field, low temperature transport studies of 3D topological insulators and related superconductors

1Recently, the development of a new class of topological materials has sparked enormous research interest among both physicists and material scientists [1]. This field which is called Topological Insulators is focused on conducting states that form at the edge and surfaces of 2D and 3D topological band insulators. Given time reversal invariance, these states are protected from back-scattering, offering the possibility of long-lived, fully spin polarized currents and even the realization of Majorana fermions, which are of great potential interest for robust, topological quantum computation schemes.

In these projects you'll join the QEM-team in investigating these new materials, in projects ranging from possibly being the first in the world to make a new TI or topological superconductor through to the investigation of the electronic properties of the topological surface states via spectroscopic or transport experiments. This research has just attracted substantial FOM funding in which both IoP experimentalists from WZI and theoreticians from ITFA play a leading role.
These projects are your opportunity to get into this field from the outset. Be aware, this is a fast-moving, competitive field, and these projects call for motivated and ambitious students willing to invest their enthusiasm and energy for experimental physics in this emerging research field. It is possible that the MSc student may join the QEM team to investigate these systems using synchrotron radiation at one of the half-yearly beamtimes at HZB-BESSY in Berlin or the Swiss Light Source outside Zürich.
Theory colleagues Kareljan Schoutens and Ari Turner will also be able to offer theoretical projects related to this research.

For more information, contact Mark Golden, Anne de Visser or Erik van Heumen.

 

[1] For example, see the review papers: M. Z. Hasan and C. L. Kane, Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 3045 (2010) & Xiao-Liang Qi and Shou-Cheng Zhang, Rev. Mod. Phys. 83, 1057 (2011)



2) 1D nanowires on semiconductor surfaces.

This project can be offered to one MSc student, and is centred on the generation, via self-assembly of 1D and quasi-1D metallic nanowires on semiconductor surfaces, and the investigation of their singular electronic properties using angle-resolved photoemission and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy and microscopy.
2
One-dimensional systems possess a special position in condensed matter physics. As part of a national, FOM-funded research programme [1], the QEM group - together with Jean-Sebastien Caux of IoP-ITFA - is conducting research into the electronic properties of one dimensional Au and Pt nanowires on silicon substrates. The expertise in wire growth is being imported from Harold Zandvliet's lab in Twente by a QEM PhD student and this MSc project offers you the chance to join this team and make your own nanoscale 1D systems and to study their properties using state-of-the-art electronic structure probes.
This is no easy project and calls for a student with a well-developed feeling for experimental work, combined with a robust interest in condensed matter theory.
Theory colleague Jean-Sebastien Caux will also be able to offer theoretical projects related to this research.

[1] http://www.fom.nl/live/onderzoek/onderzoeksprogrammas/vrije_progs/artikel.pag?objectnumber=131569 For more information, contact Mark Golden, or Nick de Jong.

3) 1+1=3: surprises at oxide heterointerfaces.

This project can be offered to one MSc student, and is centred on the investigation of the novel, emergent phases of matter generated at the heterointerface between transition metal oxides.

Text Box: Figure: visualisation of the 2DEG in the STO|LAO system.   Image from Mark Huijben of the the Twente InterPhase group.  Image from Harold Zandvliet's group in Twente.

As part of a FOM-funded national research programme [1], the QEM group is using high-energy spectroscopies such as core level photoemission and x-ray absorption to  investigate the 2D electron gas which forms at the interface between the insulating oxides SrTiO3 and LaAlO3. Hailed as one of the top science breakthroughs of 2007 (by Science magazine), the field of oxide heterointerfaces is showing that at the interface between complex and even strongly correlated transition metal oxides some of the physics usually associated with more conventional semiconductor materials can be realised, possibly opening the door to a whole new generation of electronic materials with unconventional and technologically interesting properties.

The thin film samples for this project come from the groups at the University of Twente expert in pulsed laser deposition of oxides, and the MSc student will use the FAMoS experiment in the IoP-WZI's experimental hall to investigate quantities related to the crystal and electronic structure of 'made-to-measure' thin film stacks from the Twente partners.
This project calls for a student with a well-developed feeling for experimental work, combined with an interest in the physics of new materials. It is possible that the MSc student may join the QEM team to investigate these systems using synchrotron radiation at one of the half-yearly beamtimes at HZB-BESSY in Berlin.

[1]http://www.fom.nl/live/onderzoek/onderzoeksprogrammas/vrije_progs/artikel.pag?objectnumber=92718&referpagina=14837

For more information, contact Mark Golden.

Bachelor's projects

 

The Hard Condensed Matter group offers a number of opportunities for completion of the research projects for Bachelor-phase students. Many of these involve teamwork with a PhD researcher and an MSc project student, and involve 'stepping-up' into the real, running research projects of the group. This brings with it both a sense of excitement and a degree of risk (in terms of the difficulty of matching the short time-scale of a BSc project with the unanticipated set-backs which can occur in real experimental research).

1) Zooming in on topologically protected surface states.

This project can - in principle - be offered to four BSc students; one per flavour (under the assumption that each 'flavour' is being worked on by an MSc student):

  • synthesis and investigation of new 3D topological insulators and related superconductors
  • k-space microscopy of surface states in 3D topological insulators
  • scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy of 3D topological insulators
  • high-field, low temperature transport studies of 3D topological insulators and related superconductors

1

Recently, the development of a new class of topological materials has sparked enormous research interest among both physicists and material scientists [1].  This field - which is called Topological Insulators  (try typing this into wiki) - is focused on conducting states that form at the edge and surfaces of 2D and 3D topological band insulators. Given time reversal invariance, these states are protected from back-scattering, offering the possibility of long-lived, fully spin polarized currents and even the realization of Majorana fermions, which are of great potential interest for robust, topological quantum computation schemes.

In these projects you'll join the QEM-team in investigating these new materials, in projects ranging from possibly being the first in the world to make a new TI or topological superconductor through to the investigation of the electronic properties of the topological surface states via spectroscopic or transport experiments. This research has just attracted substantial FOM funding (link to URL  http://www.fom.nl/live/english/news/artikel.pag?objectnumber=171276) in which both IoP experimentalists from WZI and theoreticians from ITFA play a leading role.
These projects are your opportunity to get into this field from the outset. Be aware, this is a fast-moving, competitive field, and these projects call for motivated and ambitious students willing to invest their enthusiasm and energy for experimental physics in this emerging research field. It is possible that the MSc student may join the QEM team to investigate these systems using synchrotron radiation at one of the half-yearly beamtimes at HZB-BESSY in Berlin or the Swiss Light Source outside Zürich.
Theory colleagues Kareljan Schoutens and Ari Turner will also be able to offer theoretical projects related to this research.

For more information, contact Mark Golden, Anne de Visser, Erik van Heumen.

[1] For example, see the review papers: M. Z. Hasan and C. L. Kane, Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 3045 (2010) & Xiao-Liang Qi and Shou-Cheng Zhang, Rev. Mod. Phys. 83, 1057 (2011)


2) 1D nanowires on semiconductor surfaces.

This project can be offered to one BSc student, and is centred on joining in the running research based upon the generation - via self-assembly - of 1D and quasi-1D metallic nanowires on semiconductor surfaces, and the investigation of their singular electronic properties using angle-resolved photoemission and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy and microscopy.
2
One-dimensional systems possess a special position in condensed matter physics. As part of a national, FOM-funded research programme [1], the QEM group - together with Jean-Sebastien Caux of IoP-ITFA - is conducting research into the electronic properties of one dimensional Au and Pt nanowires on silicon substrates. The expertise in wire growth is being imported from Harold Zandvliet's lab in Twente by a QEM PhD student and this MSc project offers you the chance to join this team and make your own nanoscale 1D systems and to study their properties using state-of-the-art electronic structure probes.
This is no easy project and calls for a student with a well-developed feeling for experimental work, combined with a robust interest in condensed matter theory.
Theory colleague Jean-Sebastien Caux will also be able to offer theoretical projects related to this research.

[1] http://www.fom.nl/live/onderzoek/onderzoeksprogrammas/vrije_progs/artikel.pag?objectnumber=131569
For more information, contact Mark Golden, or Nick de Jong.

3) 1+1=3: surprises at oxide heterointerfaces.


This project can be offered to one BSc student, and involves joining in our running research involving the investigation of the novel, emergent phases of matter generated at the heterointerface between transition metal oxides

Text Box: Figure: visualisation of the 2DEG in the STO|LAO system.   Image from Mark Huijben of the the Twente InterPhase group.  Image from Harold Zandvliet's group in Twente.    As part of a FOM-funded national research programme [1], the QEM group is using high-energy spectroscopies such as core level photoemission and x-ray absorption to  investigate the 2D electron gas which forms at the interface between the insulating oxides SrTiO3 and LaAlO3. Hailed as one of the top science breakthroughs of 2007 (by Science magazine), the field of oxide heterointerfaces is showing that at the interface between complex and even strongly correlated transition metal oxides some of the physics usually associated with more conventional semiconductor materials can be realised, possibly opening the door to a whole new generation of electronic materials with unconventional and technologically interesting properties.

The thin film samples for this project come from the groups at the University of Twente expert in pulsed laser deposition of oxides, and the MSc student will use the FAMoS experiment in the IoP-WZI's experimental hall to investigate quantities related to the crystal and electronic structure of 'made-to-measure' thin film stacks from the Twente partners.

This project calls for a student with a well-developed feeling for experimental work, combined with an interest in the physics of new materials. It is possible that the MSc student may join the QEM team to investigate these systems using synchrotron radiation at one of the half-yearly beamtimes at HZB-BESSY in Berlin.
[1]http://www.fom.nl/live/onderzoek/onderzoeksprogrammas/vrije_progs/artikel.pag?objectnumber=92718&referpagina=14837 For more information, contact Mark Golden.

 

Small projects (first/second year)

1) Zwevende supergeleidende potten bakken

In this project - under the expert guidance of Dr. Yingkai Huang - you'll make your own high Tc superconductor, characterise its structure, alter its Tc via changing the oxygen content (measuring Tc using SQUID magnetometry). The klap op de vuurpijl is to show your HTSC pellet floating (levitating) above a magnet during your presentation...

Please contact Yingkai Huang for more information.

2) Quantum overal: Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

In dit experiment maak je kennis met de scanning tunneling microscopy techniek aan de hand van een trainingsopstelling. De uitdaging van dit jaar is om voor het eerst een bijzonder electronisch fenomeen, nl een charge density wave zichtbaar te maken met dit instrument.

Neem contact op met Jeroen Goedkoop voor meer informatie.

 

3) Do-it-yourself ellipsometrie

In dit project bouw en test je zelf een ellipsometer. Met behulp van ellipsometrie kunnen de optische eigenschappen van materialen worden bepaald. De resultaten die je in dit project behaald kunnen direct vergeleken worden met experimenten die op dit moment in het optische spectroscopie lab van de QEM groep worden gedaan.

Neem contact op met Erik van Heumen voor meer informatie.


Application Information

Below some information can be found for those interested in applying for a place in a MSc-level or PhD level programme hosted by our group. The information is structured starting at the national, then UvA and then group level.


To access a national 'grantfinder' website, in which you can see if there are possible scholarships or other funding possibilities for an MSc or PhD project in the Netherlands in general and at the University of Amsterdam in particular, please click here.


For general information for students interested in pursuing an MSc degree at the UvA - such as the research masters in physics in our 'Advanced Matter & Energy Physics' track, please click here.


For general information at the UvA level regarding scholarships (MSc and PhD level), click here.


For information regarding the physics MSc programme here at the Faculty of Science within the UvA, click here.


For specific information regarding the physics MSc track 'Physical Sciences', click here.