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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS5900M Nanomagnetism

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Thomas Moore

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Solid State Physics at UG level 2, or equivalent.

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHYS3422Magnetism in Condensed Matter

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Magnetic materials underpin much of modern technology and thus our everyday lives, from electric motors to data storage, sensors and computing. An understanding of nanomagnetism requires knowledge in several areas of physics to be brought together, including classical and quantum mechanics, statistical physics and condensed matter physics. The first half of this course focuses on the theory of ferromagnetism, while the second half uncovers the physics behind the applications, such as permanent magnets and spin electronics. Alongside this you will access current research papers in the field of nanomagnetism and produce your own review article.


On successful completion of this module a student will have demonstrated the ability to:
• describe the quantum mechanical nature of the molecular field- the exchange interaction
• recognise the necessity of anisotropy for stable ferromagnetism
• recall the origin and consequences of the demagnetising field
• discuss domains and simple micro-magnetics
• recall the consequences of magnetism on transport properties of materials
• describe current issues in ultrathin film magnetism - surface anisotropy, Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction etc
• describe current issues in magnetic heterostructures and devices
• summarise current research literature in aspects of nanomagnetism

Learning outcomes
• Communicate complex scientific ideas concisely, accurately and informatively;
• Solve advanced problems in nanomagnetism using mathematical techniques and analysis.
• Manage own learning and make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources.


• Introduction to basic concepts.
• Measurements of magnetisation.
• Exchange and Heisenberg Hamiltonian.
• Antisymmetric exchange.
• Magnetisation vs. temperature: Molecular field, Stoner model, magnons, critical regime.
• Anisotropy and Superparamagnetism.
• Stoner-Wohlfarth particles.
• Origins of anisotropy.
• Exchange anisotropy.
• Magnetostatic self-energy and demagnetising factors.
• Shape anisotropy.
• Domain structures and domain walls.
• Simple micromagnetics.
• Magnetization dynamics.
• Permanent magnets and energy products.
• Low-dimensional ordering, perpendicular anisotropy.
• Spin-dependent band structures - spin-dependent transport.
• Anisotropic, giant, and tunnelling magnetoresistance.
• Spin torque.
• Magnetotransport measurements.
• Spin-valves, magnetic tunnel junctions, read-write heads and MRAM.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours126.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Self-study as follow-up to lectures. Preparation for workshops. Researching the literature and writing review article.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Workshops are a chance to gain feedback on problem solving, and the literature review.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentLiterature Review20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Students will have to complete an in-person exam at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound. Students must submit a serious attempt at all assessments, in order to pass the module overall.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:39


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