Post-Docs & PhD students funded by the project


MAGicSky-FET being a project funded 100% by the Horizon 2020 programme, partners have had the chance to hire a project manager, young researchers and PhD students to work full-time on the MAGicSky-FET issues.



Mr Benoît PILORGET started to work for MAGicSky as European Project Manager (EPM) in September 2015. Jointly with Dr. Vincent CROS, the project Scientific Coordinator, he will be in charge of the communication, management, events organisation, reporting periods and dissemination around the project.

After a Bachelor degree in Geography, Benoît PILORGET obtained his Master’s degree in « European project management » from the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie in September 2014. His previous work experiences at the IBA Basel 2020 (CH) and at the Centre National de Recherche Technologique in Caen (FR) allowed him to put into practice his expertise and knowledge about European-wide projects funded by the European Union.
He will be working on one hand half-time on MAGicSky along with Dr. CROS until the end of the project, and on the other hand half-time on another HORIZON 2020 project (OpenDreamKit – e-infrastructure).

Dr. Davide MACCARIELLO – Left the consortium

Dr. Davide MACCARIELLO started to work on the MAGicSky project as a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Vincent CROS’ team in September 2015. His work will be focused on electrical transport characterisation.

Davide Maccariello received his PhD in Condensed Matter Physics and Nanotechnology at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. He worked in Pr. Rodolfo MIRANDA’s group at the Surface Science Laboratory on the dynamical properties as surface phonons and charge transfer phenomena in nanostructured graphene-based surfaces. In the framework of his PhD thesis he collaborated with Pr. Julio CAMARERO’s group at IMDEA-Nanoscience Institute where he focused on the study of magnetization reversal processes and magnetoresistive phenomena in low dimensional magnetic systems with large Spin-Orbit coupling. During his career he got familiar with thin film deposition (PLD, Sputtering, e-beam evaporation), dynamical properties as surface phonons (by He atom scattering), charge transfer phenomena (XPS-UPS) and magnetization reversal processes by a vectorial Kerr magnetometer for simultaneous and quantitative measurements of the magnetoresistance and the magnetization components.

Dr. Myoung-Woo YOO – Left the consortium

Myoung-Woo YOO started to work for the MAGicSky project a a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Vincent CROS & Dr. Joo-Von KIM in January 2016. He will focus his studies on micromagnetic calculations and experimental characterizations of magnetic skyrmions.

Myoung-Woo YOO received his PhD degree in materials science and engineering the Seoul National University. For his degree he studied static and dynamic properties of non-trivial spin collaborations (e.g. magnetic vortices) in confined magnetic thin films using micromagnetic simulations and VNA-FMR technics. Based on the results obtained, he suggested a more efficient way to write digital information in non-volatile magnetic vortices. As part of his research efforts, Myoung-Woo YOO learned fundamentals of nanomagnetism and how to analyse the complex spin dynamics in nanoscale magnetic systems.


University of Hamburg

 Dr. Pin-Jui HSU

Dr. Pin-Jui HSU started to work on the MAGicSky project as a post-doctoral researcher in Pr. Dr. WIESENDANGER’s group at the University of Hamburg on the 1st of September 2015. He will focus his studies on individual skyrmion manipulation in view of room-temperature spintronics applications.

Pin-Jui HSU received his PhD in physics from the National Taiwan University where his research focused on the real-space spin-resolved imaging of magnetic nanostructures by spin-polarised scanning tunneling microscopy (SP-STM). After completing his PhD, he was offered a post-doctoral position to continue his research career in studying nanomagnetism at Würzburg University. Afterwards, he joined the Hamburg group led by Pr. Dr. WIESENDANGER and he contributed to the investigation of high-temperature skyrmion systems as well as specialised approaches to manipulate individual skyrmions. As part of his research efforts, Pin-Jui HSU is familiar with the growth, fabrication and characterisation of magnetic skyrmions.

Ms. Aurore FINCO (PhD student)

Aurore FINCO started working as a PhD student at the University of Hamburg for MAGicSky on the 1st of September 2015. She will be part of Pr. Dr. WIESENDANGER’s group until the end of the project (September 2018).

She graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) and the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris in the condensed matter branch of the ICFP master degree programme. During her master studies she worked on dipolar quantum antiferromagnets at the EPFL in Lausanne and on multiferroic materials using Raman scattering at the University Paris Diderot. Her current activity focuses on spinpolarised and temperature-magnetic field dependent STM measurements of magnetic skyrmions in ultra-thin transition metal films on substrates with high spinorbit coupling.

Mr Marco PERINI (PhD student)

Marco PERINI started his PhD at the University of Hamburg on the 2nd of November in Pr. Dr. WIESENDANGER’s group, and he will be part of the UHAM team in the MAGicSky project until its end in September 2018.

Marco PERINI received his Master’s degree at the University of Padova, Italy, after a 6-months experience in Belgium in the Nanoscale Superconductivity and Magnetism Group led by Pr. V. V. MOSHCHALKOV. His work in Hamburg consisted in working on his Master Thesis, which was focused on the study of magnetic vortices in type-II superconducting nanostructures. The efforts led to a first in its kind observation via Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of symmetry-induced vortex configurations. Thanks to this research experience Marco acquired familiarity with scanning probe techniques, particularly STM, and with thin film deposition techniques.


University of Glasgow

Ms. Louise DESPLAT (PhD student)

Ms. Louise DESPLAT obtained her Master’s degree in Condensed Matter and Nanophysics at the University of Strasbourg, France, in July 2015.

During her master’s thesis, she worked in the Ultrafast Optics and Nanophotonics department at the “Institut de Physique et Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg” (IPCMS) where she focussed on simulating the ultrafast magnetization dynamics of single-domain magnetic nanoparticles at finite temperature under the supervision of Dr. Giovanni MANFREDI and Pr. Paul-Antoine HERVIEUX. She then began a Phd at the University of Glasgow as part of the Material and Condensed Matter Physics team on October 1rst 2015. She will be working with Pr. Dr. Robert STAMPS on theoretical and computational models of stochastic nucleation and pinning processes of magnetic skyrmions in the frame of the MAGicSky project.

Mr Sean HUGHES (PhD student) – Left the consortium

Mr. Sean HUGHES obtained his BSc in Physics from Dundee University and began PhD studies at the University of Glasgow on the 1st of October, 2015.

He will be working within the Material and Condensed Matter Physics research group at Glasgow. He will be trained in techniques of transmission electron microscopy including imaging and analysis utilising magnetic, structural and compositional characterisations, as well as utilising micromagnetic simulations for interpretation from Lorentz TEM. He will be analysing samples prepared at partner laboratories as part of the MAGicSky consortium.



University of Leeds

Dr. Katharina ZEISSLER

Dr. Katharina ZEISSLER started to work as a postdoctoral research fellow in Leeds on the 12th October, and will be part of the Leeds crew until the end of the project (September 2018).

Katharina ZEISSLER received her PhD in Physics from Imperial College London where her research focused on the field driven behaviour of artificial spin ice materials. Upon completing her PhD she was awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship to build upon her PhD work in nano-magnetism at Imperial College. In particular, she probed the importance of domain wall chirality on the reversal of connected nanostructures as well as studying the electrical transport properties of nanostructured ferromagnetic arrays. As part of her research efforts, Katharina is familiar with both the fabrication, including electron beam lithography, and characterization of magnetic nano-materials.



Forschungszentrum Jülich


Dr. Bernd ZIMMERMANN started to work on the MAGicSky project as a post-doctoral researcher in the Jülich team on the 1st of September 2015 until the end of the project (September 2018). His work will be focused on ab-initio calculations of micromagnetic parameters of magnetic interfaces and of hetero structures, as well as on the calculation of intrinsic and extrinsic impurity-driven contributions to the Hall effects and of spin-orbit-like torques acting on skyrmions of various sizes.

Bernd ZIMMERMANN studied physics at the RWTH Aachen University and joined Pr. Dr. Stefan BLÜGEL’s group at Forschungszentrum Jülich in 2009 as a diploma student. Here he worked on the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriva in thin magnetic films. For his PhD studies he then moved to the Topological Nanoelectronics group headed by Pr. Dr. Yuriy MOKROUSOV. For his outstanding PhD work on spin-orbit driven phenomena by means of density-functional theory (DFT) calculations, Bernd was awarded in 2015 the « Thyssen-Krupp Dissertation Award » of the German Physical Society (DPG) magnetism division.  The determination of magnetic ground-state properties from DGT simulations is one of his core tasks in the MAGicSky project. Bernd has in-depth knowledge of two complementary Jülich-made DFT codes which are based on the FLAPW method and on the Korringa-Kogn-Rostocker Green-function method.

Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel

Ms. Marie BÖTTCHER (PhD student) – Left the consortium

Ms. Marie BÖTTCHER started working on the MAGicSky project on the 1st of July 2016. She is part of the Spintronics Theory group of Pr. Stefan HEINZE at the Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel.

She joined the group of Pr. HEINZE as a bachelor student. In her bachelor’s thesis she investigated adatoms and molecules on a graphene surface using ab-initio methods. In her master’s thesis she focused on the investigation of the temperature and magnetic field dependence of chiral magnetic structures in monolayers and multilayers using the Parallel Tempering Monte Carlo method. Additionnally, she received a BSc in Physics of the Earth System (meterorology, oceanography and geophysics) at the University of Kiel.

Mr Sebastian MEYER (PhD student)

Sebastian MEYER started to work as a PhD student at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel for MAGicSky on the 1st of July 2016 and will focus on DFT calculations for ultrathin magnetic films.

He joined the Spintronics Theory group of Pr. Stefan HEINZE for his master’s thesis in 2015 in which he investigated different ultrathin magnetic films by using the DFT code from Jülich (FLEUR). Before Sebastian started the study of physics for his master’s degree, he received his BSc in Physics of the Earth System (meterorology, oceanography and geophysics) at the University of Kiel.

Mr Stephan VON MALOTTKI (PhD student)

Stephan VON MALOTTKI started to work as a PhD student on the MAGicSky project on the 1st of July 2016. He is part of the Spintronics Theory group of Pr. Stefan HEINZE.

He studied physics in Kiel and joined the HEINZE group during his bachelor thesis, which was about Monte Carlo simulations of skyrmions. In his master thesis he worked on the development of an atomistic spin dynamics code together with Dr. Bertrand DUPE in the HEINZE group and studied the motion of chiral domain walls. Mr Von MALOTTKI is working during his PhD on the simulation of static and dynamic properties of skyrmions starting from a spin Hamiltonian  parametrized from first-principles calculations

Dr. Fabian Marius OTTE – Left the consortium

Dr. Fabian Marius OTTE started to work on the MAGicSky project as a post-doctoral researcher on the 1st of February 2016. His work will be focused on ab-initio calculations of magnetic structures on surfaces.

Fabian OTTE studied physics at the Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel and joined the group of Pr. Dr. Stefan HEINZE as a diploma student investigating magnetic clusters on transition-metal surfaces. During his PhD, Fabian Otte focused on transport properties of nanojunctions, especially magnetoresistive effects in single-atom and single-molecule junctions caused by spin-orbit coupling and spin non-collinearity. In his studies he used various methods including density functional theory methods based on PAW and FLAPW, Wannier functions, Green’s functions, and tight binding.


Dr Paul Souvik started working in the MAGicSky project as a post-doctoral researcher on September 1, 2017 in the group of Prof. Stefan Heinze.

He will study skyrmions in magnetic multilayers and in ultrathin films using first-principles calculations and atomistic spin dynamics. He has completed his PhD degree in computational materials science from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India, on multifunctional materials called inverse Heusler alloys. Then, he worked as a departmental post-doctoral fellow in the materials theory division at Uppsala Universityfor two years under the DMFT group of Prof. olle Eriksson afore joining the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.

Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)

Dr. Simone FINIZIO

Dr. Simone FINIZIO started to work at PSI on the 2nd of November 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow on the MAGicSky project in Dr. Jörg RAABE’s group.

Simone FINIZIO received his PhD degree in Physics from the Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, where he focused his research on the study of artificial multiferroic systems with x-ray magnetic microscopy, which he carried out at different synchrotron light sources across Europe. Within the MAGicSky project, he will focus his efforts on the high resolution imaging (both quasi-static and time-resolved) of magnetic skyrmions.
As part of his research efforts, Simone is familiar with the patterning of nanostructured materials (including electron beam and focused ion beam lithography), and with the characterization of micro- and nanostructured magnetic materials with x-ray magnetic microscopy techniques (including PEEM and STXM).

The history and future of skyrmions within MAGicSky

The amount of information produced by modern society has grown massively in the last years, attracting increasing attention to information storage technology, because of the constant need for more powerful and efficient devices. The state-of-the-art technology includes Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SSD), and flash memories, which are based on the detection and movement of electron charges. However, several limitations, among which the speed of writing and reading data from an HDD and the durability of SSD, have slowed down the continuous improvement of these devices, so that reducing their size and power consumption has become a serious technological issue. For this reason, it has become crucial to search for new prototypes for data storage devices.

Nowadays technology listed above is based on electronics, meaning it uses the charge of the electrons to transfer information. But besides that, electrons also have a spin (intrinsic magnetic moment) which application has opened the new field of spintronics: the combination of spin and electronics.

Whereas in electronics the charge current can be driven with electric fields, in spintronics the systems are also controlled via magnetic effects.

Spintronics was born in Europe with the discovery of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) in 1988 by Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg (who both received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007 for this discovery). The principle of GMR is that the resistance through two magnetic electrodes separated by a non-magnetic metal shows “giant” changes as the relative orientation of their magnetisations changes. The GMR effect has been used in commercial devices since the 90’s but there are many more possibilities; for example using magnetic skyrmions which are at the core of the MAGicSky (MAGnetic Skyrmions for future nano-spintronic devices) project.

The original mathematical concept of a skyrmion was developed by Tony Skyrme within particle-physics. Since its first definition, it was discovered that the concept of skyrmions could be applied to many phenomena outside of its original framework, in lower dimensions. Within the context of condensed matter physics, the term (magnetic) skyrmion now designates a topologically and physically stable magnetic texture arising from the competition of different short range interactions. This physical and topological stability is, of course, of extreme interest for spintronic applications.

What MAGicSky is focusing on are magnetic skyrmions which are localised, particle-like solitons of


Figure 1: numerical simulation of an object covered with spins (arrows) pointing in every possible direction Figure 2: representation of a spin-covered object as a sphere, also called hedgehog or magnetic knot


a few nanometers in size (from 1 to 100 nm as reported up to now), exhibiting a characteristic configuration of the spins in which they show a defined sense of rotation (figure 1). The spins point in all directions wrapping a sphere, an example of which is shown in figure 2.


It is now possible to create and shape skyrmions with magnetic field, electric field or temperature control in a controlled environment. To improve the process, our research teams experimentally identify particular combinations of elements in which skyrmions can be stabilised and manipulated. It is the choice of the consortium to create skyrmions in structures which are obtained by stacking at the nanoscale several magnetic and non-magnetic metal layers, and to control skyrmions with applied currents (figure 3).


Figure 3: numerical simulation of skyrmions moving on a race track (50nm wide) after an electrical current was applied to them

A large part of this research is to balance properly the amount and stacking order of the elements that we use and to understand the role of materials defects, either of unavoidable or intended nature.

To accomplish this, it is necessary to explore the new materials and preparation techniques offered by recent technological and industrial progress of ultrathin film fabrication.
State- of-the-art microscopy techniques  daily used by our research teams (such as spin-polarised scanning tunneling microscopy, magnetic force and Kerr effect microscopy, energy loss electron spectroscopy, etc.) were indeed developed specifically to address the challenge of observing small magnetic structures at the nanoscale.
The final goal of the 3 year-long MAGicSky project is to manipulate skyrmions individually in devices at room-temperature.

The stability and the size of the skyrmions will eventually lead to the creation of the next generation very high density information storage, breaking though the barriers set by current technology. This could  eventually allow the industrialisation of storage devices in which the bits could be spaced down a few nanometers, i.e. the order of magnitude of the skyrmion diameter. Compared to recent HDD or SSD storage devices, there is no limitation related to mechanical parts in the state-of-the-art technology. Particle-like properties of these nanoscale structures should highly improve the stability of the bits, as well as the speed and efficiency of the writing and reading process of information. Furthermore, as skyrmions should be created and manipulated with low-density current, skyrmion-based devices will hopefully allow a drop of the energy consumption compared to the nowadays magnetic-based devices.


   This text is the result of a collaborative work from: Davide Maccariello, Benoît Pilorget, Marie Böttcher, Louise Desplat, Aurore Finco, Simone Finizio, William Legrand, Stephan von Malottki, Sebastian Meyer, Marco Perini, Myoung-Woo Yoo and Katharina Zeissler.


   Figures: courtesy of Dr Myoung-Woo Yoo

Publications funded by MAGicSky


    • C. Moreau-Luchaire, C. Moutafis, N. Reyren, J. Sampaio, C. A. F. Vaz, N. Van Horne, K. Bouzehouane, K. Garcia, C. Deranlot, P. Warnicke, P. Wohlhüter, J.-M. George, M. Weigand, J. Raabe, V. Cros & A. Fert

Universität Hamburg

University of Leeds

Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel

Forschungszentrum Jülich

  • Lifetime of racetrack skyrmions (June 2017)
    • P.F. Bessarab, G.P. Müller, I.S. Lobanov, F.N. Rybakov, N.S. Kiselev, H. Jónsson, V.M. Uzdin, S. Blügel, L. Bergqvist, A. Delin

University of Glasgow

Paul Scherrer Institut