Our group is located in the Clarendon Laboratory (Physics Department), University of Oxford), as well as on the Harwell Oxford Science Campus next door to the UK’s national synchrotron radiation source Diamond and the pulsed neutron and muon source ISIS.

Research interests

Growth of quantum materials in the form of thin films and of nanostructures using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), UHV sputtering, and chemical vapor deposition; their structural, magnetic, and electrical characterization; as well as exploratory device studies.

Materials of interest include:

  • Topological insulators
  • Magnetic skyrmions
  • Magnetic oxides
  • Magnetic heterostructures


Efficiency is the Enemy of Innovation!

Magnetic skyrmions - Easy reading

Read up about MAGNETIC SKYRMIONS in the UK Magnetic Society's quarterly magazine, MagNews.


Skyrmions are topologically stable, vortex-like magnetization states that form periodic, three-fold symmetric lattices. They were observed in non-centrosymmetric crystals, such as B20 systems, in which the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction plays a role, using small angle neutron scattering and magnetotransport measurements (topological Hall effect), and in real space using Lorentz transmission electron microscopy. Since each Skyrmion can carry one bit of (binary) information, the crystal itself can be regarded as a high-density, non-volatile information matrix. Most interestingly, the Skyrmion state can be simply manipulated with current densities that are 5-6 orders of magnitude smaller than the ones needed for spin transfer torque (STT)-based schemes. Moreover, direct logic communication can be achieved by introducing the interaction and propagation of vortex/anti-vortex pairs. The value of the Skyrmionics devices lie in the fast and efficient evaluation of suitable materials for STT-MRAM scaling beyond the 65-nm- node, as well as novel emerging memory and logic applications which could become possible by making use of these intriguing physical properties.

For more details on our work, we refer to Shilei Zhang's book on "Chiral and Topological Nature of Magnetic Skyrmions" (Springer, 2018).

Shilei's thesis