Project title: The contribution of surfaces to the magnetic Curie temperature and magnetic recording fidelity

Supervisor: Dr Adrian Muxworthy, Dr Karl Fabian and Professor Valera Shcherbakov

Project description:

Magnetic nanoparticles (<20 nm) have been shown to have a wide, and potentially important range of applications. For example, in the Earth Sciences, magnetic nanoparticles have been suggested as the origin of magnetic anomalies detected over oilfields. A number of applications in the biosciences have also been highlighted as showing potential, with uses in therapeutic hyperthermia in cancer treatment, and as improved contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging. Technological applications in magnetic recording media are also being explored. 

Whilst experimental techniques can give an idea of the general effects of finite size on the properties of a magnetic nanoparticle, there are considerable challenges in obtaining a detailed surface picture. This PhD aims to develop a numerical model using mean-field theory, for nano-scale particles, taking into consideration finite sized and surface effects. I hope to make inroads towards understanding the role of surfaces in changes to the magnetic ordering, and make predictions of the Curie temperature of these nanoparticles. An initial study will focus on the mineral magnetite due to its importance in rock magnetism and magnetic hyperthermia research.