Photo of Prof Robert J Hicken

Prof Robert J Hicken

Professor of Condensed Matter Physics

Email:

Telephone: 01392 724153 or (Lab) 01392 724152

Extension: (Streatham) 4153 or (Streatham - Lab) 4152

My research interests lie in Magnetic Materials and Photonics, with particular emphasis on high frequency processes. My research group uses a combination of microwave and time resolved optical and x-ray measurement techniques to study structural, electrical and magnetic changes in condensed matter systems. Our research is directly relevant to different forms of data storage technology, including hard disk drives, Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) and phase change recording. Dynamic magnetic processes also underlie the operation of spintronic and magnonic devices that show great potential for use in logic and telecommunications applications.

Education and Employment

  • 1983 - 1986 BA Hons Physics, Oxford University
  • 1986 - 1991 PhD Physics, Johns Hopkins University
  • 1991 - 1995 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Physics, Cambridge University
  • 1996 - 1999 Lecturer in Physics, University of Exeter
  • 1999 - 2004 EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Exeter
  • 2004 - 2006 Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Exeter
  • 2006 -         Professor of Condensed Matter Physics, University of Exeter

Funded Research Projects

  • "Magnetization dynamics of writer structures studied at the wafer level", Seagate Technology, 1/7/2013-30/6/2016, US$20,000
  • "Materials World Network: Spin dynamics of the ferromagnet/antiferromagnet interface studied by time-resolved x-ray magnetic dichroism", EPSRC EP/J018767/1, 1/10/12-30/9/15, £358,448
  • "A Plasmonic Antenna for Magneto-Optical Imaging at the Deep Nanoscale", EPSRC EP/I038470/1, 1/9/12-28/2/16, £637,496
  • "Near-field tagging of metallic objects within the retail sector", Exeter University & Crown Technology, 1/11/11-31/8/12, £63,261
  • "Time Resolved Magnetic Measurements and X-Ray Magnetism", Seagate Technology, 1/7/10-30/06/13, US$60,000
  • "A Planar Microwave Cavity Loaded with Ferromagnetic Material: a new 8.2 MHz Anti-Theft Tag for Metallic Packaging within the Retail Sector", EPSRC EP/I500219/1 (plus £10k cash contribution from Crown Technology), 9/9/10-8/10/11, £110,154
  • "Security Tagging of Metal Containers at Crown Technology", Crown Technology, 20/7/09 - 25/9/09, £3,450
  • "Security Tagging of Metal Containers at Crown Technology", Crown Technology, 01/09/2008, £1,300
  • "Spin-wave and domain wall dynamics in vertical magnetic nanowires", UKIERI SA07-021,1/4/08-31/3/11, £101099
  • "Microwave Amplification by Spin Transfer Emission Radiation (MASTER)", EU FP7 NMP3-SL-2009-212257, 1/3/08-31/8/11, £215,154
  • "Optical Investigation of non-thermal processes in phase change materials", EPSRC EP/F015046/1, 17/12/07-16/12/10, £318,445
  • "Picosecond magnetization dynamics of nanomagnets: time resolved XMCD and XPEEM", EPSRC EP/F021755/1, 1/10/08-30/9/12, £120,139
  • "Experimental studies of the spin momentum transfer effect and high frequency precessional switching in hard magnetic layers", Seagate Technology, 1/6/07 – 31/5/10, £25,642
  • "Spin@RT: Room Temperature Spintronics", EPSRC EP/D000572/1, 1/7/06-30/9/09, £420,429
  • "Picosecond Magnetization Dynamics of Mesoscopic Magnetic Tunnel Valves", EPSRC EP/C52022X/1, 1/5/05 – 30/4/08, £273,263
  • "New Materials and Features for Spin Engineering", New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, 1/10/04 - 30/9/07, £81,391
  • "Optical Orientation and Relaxation of Spin in Metals", EPSRC GR/R98990/01, 2/03 – 1/05, £133,537
  • "Imaging High Frequency Magnetisation Dynamics at the Wafer Level", EPSRC GR/R73850, 2/02-1/04, £124,276
  • "Harnessing Hot Electrons in Vertical Transport Structures", Seagate Technology, 10/01-9/04, £27,000
  • "Picosecond Spin Dynamics in Nanoscale Magnetic Materials", EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, EPSRC AF/991005, 10/99-9/04, £229,361
  • "Pump-Probe Studies of Spin Dynamics in Thin Films", EPSRC GR/M23724, 1/99-12/02, £171,534
  • "Tunnelling experiments in magnetic spin-valve structures", Exeter University Research Fund, Jan-98, £1,650
  • "Time resolved pump-probe studies of spin dynamics in thin films", EPSRC GR/L67752, Aug-97, £39,000
  • "Variable temperature magnetometry and magnetoresistance measurements", Exeter University Research Fund, May-97, £4,325
  • "Thin Film Kerr Magnetometry", Royal Society RSRG18277, Apr-97, £9,944
  • "Incorporation of insulators into magnetic films by means of radio frequency sputtering", Exeter University Research Fund, Jun-96, £6,000

Consultancy

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Facilities Usage

Facilities time for which I was the Principal Investigator:

  • "Interfacial spin dynamics of epitaxial CoO/Fe(001) thin films", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI9330, TBA, 15 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Time resolved imaging of magnetic flux propagation in hard disk writer structures", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI9287, TBA, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Time-resolved x-ray magnetic dichroism study of the ferromagnet/antiferromagnet interface", Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, beamline 4.0.2, ALS-05720, 3-7/10/2013, 12 shifts of 8 hours
  • "XFMR study of spin diffusion and spin transfer torque within magnetic trilayer films", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI8782, 11/8/2013-16/8/2013, 15 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Should we Avoid or Exploit Edges within Magnonic Crystals?", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI7804, 17/9/12-25/9/12, 21 shifts of 8 hours
  • "XFMR study of spin dynamics in an epitaxial NiO/Fe(001) exchange biased bilayer", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI7803, 1/8/12-7/8/12, 12 shifts of 8 hours
  • "XFMR measurements of spin transfer torque: no need for nano-pillars", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI7357, 17/12/11-21/12/11, 12 shifts of 8 hours
  • "X-ray ferromagnetic resonance study of precessional modes of a spin-valve", Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, beamline 4.0.2, ALS-03584, 7/11/11-12/11/11, 15 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Phase resolved X-ray Ferromagnetic Resonance in the non-linear regime", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI6565, 22/4/11-26/4/11, 12 shifts of 8 hours
  • "X-ray ferromagnetic resonance study of precessional modes of a spin-valve", Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, beamline 4.0.2, ALS-03584, 23/3/11-1/4/11, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Enhanced Damping in Exchange Biased Ferromagnetic Films: the Role of the Antiferromagnet", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI6253, 1/12/10-7/12/10, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "X-ray ferromagnetic resonance study of precessional modes of a spin-valve", Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, beamline 4.0.2, ALS-03584, 29/9/10-3/10/10, 15 shifts of 8 hours
  • "X-ray ferromagnetic resonance study of precessional modes of a spin-valve", Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, beamline 4.0.2, ALS-03584 ,31/3/10-5/4/10, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Revealing the Origins of Magnetic Damping with Phase-resolved X-ray Ferromagnetic Resonance (XFMR)", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI4695, 26/5/10 – 1/6/10,1 8 shifts of 8 hours
  • "X-Ray Ferromagnetic Resonance (XFMR) study of precessional modes of a spin-valve", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI1842, 2-8/12/09, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Time resolved imaging of vortex dynamics in planar magnetic elements", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI1070, 8/7/09-14/7/09, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Phase resolved measurement of X-ray Ferromagnetic Resonance (XFMR)", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI1068, 27/05/09-28/05/09 and 15/07/09-17/07/09, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "Time resolved imaging of magnetic nano-elements", STFC Diamond Light Source beamline I06 SI576, 8/7/08-11/07/08 and 24/7/08-27/7/08, 18 shifts of 8 hours
  • "The effect of interface bonding on interfacial magnetism and its role in spin-polarised tunnelling", CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory station 1.1 ref 45288, 8/3/06-13/3/06, 5 days
  • "Two-Colour Pump-Probe Measurements of Charge and Spin Dynamics in a Gold Thin Film", CCLRC Lasers for Science Facility US16P23, 12/10/03-18/10/03, 1 week

Invited Presentations

Invited presentations since Jan 2008 given by myself and students and postdocs under my supervision:

  • "Ultrafast magnetization dynamics of nanomagnets" (Keynote talk), R. J. Hicken Current Research in Magnetism 2008, University College London 15/12/08
  • "Picosecond magnetization dynamics of an individual nanomagnet" P. S. Keatley, A. Neudert, P. Gangmei, T. Blight, V. V. Kruglyak, R. J. Hicken, J. R. Childress, J. A. Katine, X. Cao, M. A. Gubbins, R. R. Lamberton and A. B. Johnston, Magnonics09 Dresden, Germany, 3-8/08/2009
  • “Control of picosecond magnetization dynamics for spintronic applications”, R. J. Hicken, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre Research Conference on Physics on New Materials, Kolkata, India 16-17/1/2010
  • “Bottom Up Magnonics: Dipolar Interaction of a Pair of Nanoscale Magnetic Disks”, P. S. Keatley, P. Gangmei, M. Dvornik, R. J. Hicken, J. Grollier and C. Ulysse, Magnonics, Recife, Brazil 8-10/8/11
  • “Dynamic dipolar coupling of edge modes in a pair of nanoscale ferromagnetic discs”, P. S. Keatley, P. Gangmei, M. Dvornik, R. J. Hicken, J. Grollier and C. Ulysse, Spin Master Voice Workshop, Chateau de Villiers-le-Mahieu, France 14-16/12/11
  • “Observation of T2z Optical Phonons and Optically Induced Linear Birefringence in Epitaxial GeSbTe/GaSb Films” Yanwei Liu, Ashawaraya Shalini, Uday Al Jarah, Gyaneshwar P Srivastava, Robert J Hicken, C. D Wright, W. Braun, E10.2, MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco, USA 9/4/12-13/4/12
  • “Crystallization of Ge2Sb2Te5 by Multiple Femtosecond Optical Pulses” Yanwei Liu, Ashawaraya Shalini, Robert J Hicken, Mustafa M Aziz, C. D Wright, Andrew Pauza, E10.3, MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco, USA 9/4/12-13/4/12
  • “Optical detection of the magnetization dynamics of a single nanomagnet subject to spin transfer torque from a pure spin current” P. S. Keatley, R. J. Hicken, A. Aziz, M. G. Blamire, M. Ali and B. J. Hickey, NordicSpin12, Varberg, Sweden 22-25/4/2012
  • “Phase resolved X-ray Ferromagnetic Resonance (XFMR) measurements of spin pumping in spin valves (Invited)”, M. K. Marcham, P. S. Keatley, A. Neudert, R. J. Hicken, S. A. Cavill, L. R. Shelford, G. van der Laan, N. D. Telling, J. R. Childress, J. A. Katine, P. Shafer, and E. Arenholz, Synchrotron Radiation Users Meeting, Diamond Light Source, UK 5/9/2012
  • “Observation of T2-like optical phonons and optically induced linear birefringence in epitaxial GST/GaSb”, R. J. Hicken, ECONOS 2013, Exeter, UK 22-24/4/2013
  • "Optical and x-ray detection of spin current induced magnetization dynamics", R. J. Hicken, JSPS York-Tohoku Research Symposium on "Magnetic Materials and Spintronic Devices", York, UK 10-12/6/2013

Contributions to the Community

  • Secretary of the Institute of Physics (IoP) Magnetism Group since Jan 2008
  • Organizer of IoP postgraduate workshop at Diamond Light Source, 17 Nov 2011
  • Member of the editorial board for Intermag 2008 held in Madrid
  • Member of the advisory committee for the International Colloquium on Magnetic Films and Surfaces (ICMFS) 2012 held in Shanghai, China
  • Member of the I10 Diamond Light Source beamline for Advanced Dichroism (BLADE) User Working group until its mission ended in 2011 with the taking of first light
  • Since Jan 2008, external examiner for the award of MPhil and PhD degrees at Cambridge University, Imperial College London and the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris
  • Member of the EPSRC peer review college
  • Reviewer for funding bodies including EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Council, European Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, Agence Nationale de la Recherche of France, Netherlands Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Government of Canada, National Science Foundation USA.
  • External examiner for undergraduate programme, Department of Physics, University of Bath, 2013-16.

Outreach

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Memberships

I am a member of the Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Prizes

 

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