PhD fellowship in Experimental Physics

PhD fellowship in Experimental Physics
Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices (PEN) group,
Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)

Join ICN2 for an exciting PhD position centered on proximity-induced spin phenomena and spin-orbit torques in artificial heterostructures based on 2D quantum materials (2DQM). ICN2 is located 30 minutes north of downtown Barcelona, Spain ( You will be hosted by the group of ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela (, whose main activities relate to the electronic properties of quantum nanomaterials and nanodevices. The group counts with extensive state-of-the-art facilities for material growth, device design and fabrication, as well as for magneto-transport measurements (from 20 mK to room temperature). It also counts with a strong collaboration network across Europe and the USA.

The Project: Exploring spin phenomena in 2D quantum materials

Our project is driven by recent technical advances in the field of 2DQMs, with a focus on cutting-edge heterostructures using graphene and other atomically thin materials. These innovative heterostructures open the door to groundbreaking physics concepts, including exotic topological phases, and offer new possibilities for data storage and computing. Proximity effects play a pivotal role in unlocking the immense potential of 2DQMs. By strategically bringing them into contact with suitable (insulating) materials, we can introduce desired properties into their electronic band structure. This results in enriched and tailored electrical, optical, and spin behaviors of 2DQMs, leading to transformative materials design for spintronic memories, THz detectors, and quantum manipulation.

As a PhD student in our research group, you will focus on pioneering magnetic and spin-orbit proximity effects. Delving into the world of 2DQMs, you will be involved in the investigation of electronic properties in hybrid heterostructures, which will encompass a diverse range of materials, including metals, semimetals, semiconductors, and ferromagnets. This investigation will allow you to explore and tailor spin transport and spin-orbit torques exerted on ferromagnetic materials. The project combines solid-state physics, material science, and device engineering, offering you a unique opportunity to learn advanced nanofabrication techniques, perform low-noise electrical measurements, and conduct rigorous data analysis. Additionally, you will be in close collaboration with in-house theoretical physicists, fostering a stimulating environment for exchanging ideas and perspectives.

Recent work published in the PEN group related to this PhD project are reviewed in:

JF Sierra, J. Fabian, R. Kawakami, S. Roche and S. O. Valenzuela, Nature Nanotechnology 16, 856 (2021)
H Yang, SO Valenzuela, et al., Nature 606, 663 (2022)

Why Join Us?

By embarking on our PhD project, you will be part of a dynamic team that values curiosity, innovation and collaboration. We are committed to supporting your personal and academic growth, providing you with the resources and mentorship you need to thrive in the world of cutting-edge research.

Candidate’s profile

Applicants must show strong motivation, passion for pushing the boundaries of knowledge and exploring quantum phenomena, and willingness to engage in interdisciplinary research and to collaborate with diverse teams. A strong background on experimental condensed matter physics will be valued. A Master or an equivalent degree in Physics, Material Science, or Nanotechnology is required at the time of joining ICN2.

Summary of conditions:

• Full time work (37,5h/week)
• Contract Length: 4 years
• Location: Bellaterra (Barcelona)
• Life Insurance.


Applications will be evaluated as they are received. The contract will be funded by the Spanish Research Agency through a “Formación de Personal Investigador” (FPI) fellowship and is expected to start during early 2024, with a flexible starting date. The expected duration of the PhD is 4 years.

How to apply

All applications must be made via the ICN2 careers website ( and include the following:
1. A cover letter.
2. A full CV including contact details.
3. Two reference contacts.
4. Academic records (if the transcripts are not in English, Catalan or Spanish, applicants should also attach a translation in one of the mentioned languages).

Candidates interested in the position can send an e-mail to Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela ( and Dr. Juan F. Sierra (

Equal opportunities:
ICN2 is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.
ICN2 is following the procedure for contract of people with disabilities according with article 59 of the Royal Decree 1/2015, of 30 of October.