We will maintain the size of this research area relative to the overall EPSRC portfolio. A key aim is to strengthen further the already strong links with research communities in the Condensed Matter - Electronic Structure and the Spintronics areas; these enhanced links should be used to ensure that the UK secures a world-leading position in new fields, such as topological and superconducting spintronics (relating to the property of ‘spin’ in electrons) and skyrmionics (relating to exotic quasiparticles called skyrmions), which span these areas.
By the end of the current Delivery Plan period, we aim to have a community which:
- Continues to produce high-quality research on fundamental topics in magnetism, with the aim of establishing the UK as the best place in the world to conduct research in these fields
- Collaborates with researchers in industry and related fields to ensure that new knowledge can be applied to real-world problems such as magnetic data storage and medical diagnostics
The community should also continue to make good use of large UK facilities such as Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, which contribute to the excellent quality of research produced in this area. Members of the Condensed Matter - Magnetism and Magnetic Materials community are major beneficiaries of these facilities, which are fundamental to the production of world-leading research that the community delivers.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 overview report refers to a “golden age for condensed matter physics (Evidence source 1). Against this background, the UK has one of the highest success rates at the European Research Council (ERC) Condensed Matter Physics Panel (Panel 3) (Evidence source 2). With regard to industry connections, Condensed Matter - Magnetism and Magnetic Materials is linked to the strong magnetic data storage industry that exists in the UK.
The UK research community in this area has access to world-leading characterisation facilities in the UK (Diamond and ISIS), as well as facilities in Europe such as the XMaS beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble and the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) spanning Germany, France and the Netherlands. Access to these high-class facilities, combined with access to scientists with extensive experience of using them, ensure that this area is well-placed to deliver high-quality research, particularly in fields such as nanomagnetism where the UK is strong.
This area currently offers a good balance of training opportunities both for doctoral students and for postdoctoral research assistants.
This research area contributes to all EPSRC Outcomes and is particularly relevant to the following Ambitions:
P1: Introduce the next generation of innovative and disruptive technologies
This research area can contribute to new computing technologies that use spin rather than charge to store and process data (Evidence source 3,4).
C5: Design for an inclusive, innovative and confident digital society
This research area can contribute to new computing technologies that use spin rather than charge to store and process data (Evidence source 3,4)
R1: Achieve energy security and efficiency
This area can deliver new developments in bulk magnetics that contribute to renewable power generation.
R4: Manage resources efficiently and sustainably
This area can help provide alternatives to rare earth metals required for permanent magnets (Evidence source 5)
H4: Develop future therapeutic technologies
This research area can contribute to new diagnostic techniques through fields such as magnetic nanoparticles and hyperpolarisation, as well as medical therapies through techniques such as magnetic hyperthermia (Evidence source 3).