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  • Writer's pictureWill

S a l u t a t i o n s

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Hello! I am a postdoctoral researcher working in condensed matter physics, with a focus on nanoscale magnetic phenomena (think a few tens of atoms) and their application in next-generation computing. Recently, I have embarked on a new project to investigate nanoscale magnetic textures called skyrmions (see the Figure below), which can be mobilised to carry information and may form the backbone of future brain-inspired computing. The ultimate aim of the project is to engineer a nanoscale artificial synapse which uses skyrmions to encode synaptic weights.

Skyrmions are localised topological excitations in magnetically ordered materials.

Despite the early serving of jargon, I will try to write a good amount of this blog with a non-specialist audience in mind. The fundamentals of magnetism are surprisingly fiddly to explain in a digestible form. In a 1983 interview for the BBC documentary 'Fun to Imagine', the great Richard Feynman was asked to provide a simple explanation for the attraction felt between the opposite poles of two bar magnets. This seems in all respects a fair question; the mysterious, invisible force experienced while playing with magnets is unlike any other force encountered on a daily basis.

Feynman’s response, articulated over several minutes, culminated in the declaration, “I am not going to be able to give you an answer to why magnets attract each other, except to tell you that they do.” This, of course, wasn’t an admission of ignorance, rather an expression of just how difficult of a task it is to distil the physics which underlies simple magnetic attraction into layman’s terms.

Still, I’ll give it the ol' college try.

The aim here is for me to provide (soft of) short, digestible descriptions of a wide variety of concepts within the fields of nanomagnetism, skyrmionics, and spintronics, as well as to disseminate critical (read: occasionally completely trivial) developments of my own project. I do also hope to be interesting! At least at first, I’m not expecting to write blog entries on any sort of strict schedule; perhaps this will change once we’re all settled in.

tl;dr: The primary purpose of this platform is to provide periodic posts pertaining to pivotal progression points of my postdoctoral project.

Welcome, and have a nice day! :-)


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