€1.5M ERC grant for “outstanding” Lancaster physicist


Dr Mihaylovsky
A computer hard drive; Dr Mikhaylovskiy will launch an ambitious research programme to work towards the fastest and the least dissipative magnetic recording.

A Lancaster physicist has been awarded a €1.5M European Research Council grant for “outstanding scientists” to pursue “daring ideas”.

Dr Rotislav Mikhaylovskiy was among only 13% of successful applications in the highly competitive scheme which attracts applications from all over the world.

He was awarded early career funding for five years which will enable him to build his own team and conduct pioneering research with a project called "Shaken and stirred: Terahertz electric field control of magnetism" (MAGSHAKE). 

Dr Mikhaylovskiy will launch an ambitious research programme to work towards the fastest and the least dissipative magnetic recording.

Dr Mikhaylovskiy said:” I am extremely pleased to receive this highly competitive grant that will allow me to develop my own independent research line. With the MAGSHAKE project I aim to pave the way towards a memory device characterized by very low energy consumption and switching times of one trillionth of a second.

“To this end I will employ short pulses of electro-magnetic radiation at a terahertz (THz) frequency (i.e. thousand times faster than that in current data communication and processing standards. These pulses are made from light particles (photons), with their energies naturally matching those of elementary quantum magnets, ‘spins’. These are used to store information in common magnetic hard disk drives. Hence, such THz photons can excite spins on their own energy scale without releasing any significant heat into the surrounding medium.”

Starting Grants are awarded to early-career researchers of any nationality with two to seven years of experience since completion of the PhD (or equivalent degree) and a scientific track record showing great promise.

President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: “With researchers of 51 nationalities, the outcome of this call marks a record high in ERC competitions. It also reminds us that talent is everywhere to be found and it is essential that the EU keeps attracting and funding outstanding researchers from all over the world. It is with great pride that the ERC contributes to this challenge.”

The ERC has a budget of over €13 billion for the years 2014 to 2020, part of Horizon 2020, for which the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, is responsible.

He said: “To answer the most difficult challenges of our age, researchers need the freedom and conditions to follow their curiosity. This is what the EU provides via the European Research Council grants: an opportunity for outstanding scientists to pursue their most daring ideas.”

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