PhD Student - Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group


Process in the Interviews phase

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The mission of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) is to achieve the highest level of scientific and technological excellence in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Its research lines focus on the newly-discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the behavior of matter at the nanoscale. ICN2 has been awarded with the Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence distinction for two consecutive periods (2014-2018 and 2018-2022). ICN2 comprises 19 Research Groups, 7 Technical Development and Support Units and Facilities, and 2 Research Platforms, covering different areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Job Title: PhD Student

Research area or group:  Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group

Description of Group/Project:

This theoretical Thesis project will focus on developing a workflow to accelerate the discovery and assessment of novel material functionalities based on a combined use of machine learning algorithms, first principles methods, and in-house linear scaling quantum (spin) transport simulations applied to new van der Waals heterostructures based on 2D materials. The project objectives include discovering materials combinations that optimizes spin-orbit torque (SOT) for ultralow-power memory applications, and developing quantum descriptors for material assessment using high-throughput and machine learning approaches.

Main Tasks and responsibilities:

The project's primary goal will be to identify the most promising heterostructures displaying technologically relevant spin-to-charge conversion and SOT efficiencies. The candidate will first be trained to advanced quantum transport physics and spin dynamics in topological quantum matter, and assign preliminary theoretical work on model systems. Then he/she will learn, use and participate in the further development of novel in-house methodological approaches combining high-throughput scanning, guided by a symmetry-driven classification process to search for the upper limit of charge-to-spin conversion efficiency in 2D materials-based heterostructures. The search will be done on a large set of stable 2D materials such as graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, and 2D magnets like FeGeTe. A technical task/objective will be to optimize the conditions for zero-field SOT-driven switching, which is currently one of the major limiting factors for realizing ultralow-power non-volatile memories based on spin torque physics. Such optimization will be carried by combining machine learning algorithms based on reinforcement and self-supervised learning with the group in-house quantum transport tools, a methodology that allows for the discovery of hitherto unknown novel conditions.


  • Education

Have obtained a Master or equivalent degree in Physics

  • Skills

Advanced knowledge of Condensed Matter Physics, knowledge of PYTHON and some programing

  • Professional Experience

Some experience on scientific research, as proven by preprints/publications or recommendations letter from supervisors would be a plus.

Summary of conditions:

  • The candidates pre-selected for this call will need to apply for competitive fellowships in order to secure the funding required to formalise their contract. The ICN2 will provide full support to these candidates for the preparation of their fellowship applications. Candidates who are successful in their applications will be admitted to the ICN2 PhD Programme, and will benefit from:
  • Full-time working contract as a PhD researcher. Contracts include medical care under the Spanish public healthcare system and workplace accident insurance.
  • Relocation support.
  • ICN2 social benefits: life insurance, flexible timetable, flexible compensation package.
  • Training and monitoring programme: Students admitted to the ICN2 PhD Programme will have full access to the scientific, technical and transferable skills training and relevant monitoring activities organised each year.

How to apply:

All applications must be made via the ICN2 website and include the following:

  1. A cover letter.
  2. A full CV including contact details.
  3. 2 Reference letters or referee contacts.

Deadline for applications:  August 30th, 2021

Equal opportunities:

ICN2 is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Process in the Interviews phase

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