Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy

Neil Mathur

Neil Mathur portrait

Professor of Materials Physics
APS Fellow

MA University of Cambridge
PhD University of Cambridge

+44 (0)1223 762980
ndm12@cam.ac.uk
www.msm.cam.ac.uk/dmg/

Thin-film device physics

I use thin-film devices to study the physics of materials that display notable electrical and magnetic properties. Thin films present large areas for interfacing and imaging, and thin-film devices collect information from precisely controlled materials and materials combinations. My scientific goals are academic but reflect long-term technological challenges.

Multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials

It is possible to address magnetic materials via an electrical signal, or vice versa. The magnetoelectric coupling that permits this cross-talk suggests applications in sensors, actuators and data storage. Meanwhile, the related challenge of finding multiferroic materials that are both ferromagnetic and ferroelectric remains a hot topic.

Electrocaloric materials

These materials permit the interconversion of heat and electricity. The ability to heat and cool a material via a voltage-driven phase change provides the basis for an electrically driven solid-state heat pump. The reverse effect permits electrical power generation from waste or other heat. Thin films and large electric fields offer an exciting avenue for exploration.

Manganites

Complex magnetic and electronic textures arise naturally in these crystalline perovskite oxides of manganese. By controlling these textures it is possible to explore the links with macroscopic measurements. Studies of this type provoke dreams of some future nanotechnology based on self-organized devices.

Spintronics

Electrons can carry magnetic information over long distances in non-magnetic materials, provided they travel sufficiently fast. Carbon nanotubes are fast electronic conductors, and therefore constitute plausible building blocks for e.g. proof-of-principle spin transistors, or quantum computers based on magnetic qubits.

Size and cost comparison for a one-cent multilayer capacitor that inadvertently functions as a room-temperature magnetic-field sensor that requires no electrical power [A one-cent room-temperature magnetoelectric sensor. C Israel, ND Mathur & JF Scott, Nature Materials 7 (2008) 93]
Size and cost comparison for a one-cent multilayer capacitor that inadvertently functions as a room-temperature magnetic-field sensor that requires no electrical power [A one-cent room-temperature magnetoelectric sensor. C Israel, ND Mathur & JF Scott, Nature Materials 7, 93-94 (2008)].
  • X Moya, S Kar-Narayan and ND Mathur, "Caloric materials near ferroic phase transitions", Nature Materials 13, 439 (2014).
  • M Ghidini, R Pellicelli, JL Prieto, X Moya, J Soussi, J Briscoe, S Dunn and ND Mathur, "Non-volatile electrically driven repeatable magnetization reversal with no applied magnetic field " Nature Communications 4, 1453 (2013).
  • X Moya, LE Hueso, F Maccherozzi, AI Tovstolytkin, DI Podyalovskii, C Ducati, LC Phillips, M Ghidini, O Hovorka, A Berger, ME Vickers, SS Dhesi and ND Mathur "Giant extrinsic reversible magnetocaloric effects in La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 films due to strain" Nature Materials 12, 52 (2013).
  • E Defay, S Crossley, S Kar-Narayan, X Moya and ND Mathur, "The electrocaloric efficiency of ceramic and polymer films" Advanced Materials 25, 3337 (2013).