Dr. Pieter B. Visscher is a professor of physics and has been at The University of Alabama since 1978. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley in theoretical solid state physics, where he worked with the late Leo Falicov on galvanomagnetic effects in hexagonal metals. His work with MINT involves micromagnetic simulation and related theory. His most recent work is on anisotropy-graded media, developing an energy-landscape formulation of switching that makes it easy to establish rigorous bounds for the stability/coercivity ratio of such media, as well as to find systems that optimize the ratio. Previous work has involved simulation of self-assembly of magnetic colloids (FePt nanoparticles), spin-wave instabilities in switching and coarse-graining of damping coefficients. Descriptions and movies of some of this work are at http://bama.ua.edu/~visscher/mumag. He has also developed a simple public-domain micromagnetic simulator for the PC, at http://faculty.mint.ua.edu/~visscher/AlaMag. His group was the first to introduce the fast multipole method (FMM) in micromagnetic simulation. Before becoming involved with the MINT center, he worked on transport in fluids, developing a renormalization-group theory of the Navier-Stokes equation. He is the author of an undergraduate text in electromagnetism (Field and Electrodynamics, John Wiley and Sons, 1988) as well as many research papers.
Dr. Rainer Schad is an Assistant Professor of Physics. He received his doctoral degree from The Universiy of Hannover (Germany) in 1991 and performed postdoctoral research from 1992 to 1994 at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and from 1995 to 1998 at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (Netherlands). Dr. Schad joined The University of Alabama faculty in 1998. His research focuses on the interplay between structure and magnetic/electric properties of layered systems, in particular, the understanding and exploitation of spin-dependent transport phenomena observed in magnetic multilayers (Giant Magnetoresistance or Tunneling Magnetoresistance) that require an excellent control of the structural parameters. Dr. Schad is the author of more than 50 publications. Dr. Schad’s specialties are Structure analysis and Spin-dependent transport.
Dr. Sanjoy Sarker is a Professor of Physics. He received his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1980 and joined the faculty at the University of Alabama in 1984. He is engaged in theoretical research into the problem of highly correlated electron systems: high temperature cuprate superconductors and fullerenes, heavy fermions, as well as properties of transition metal oxides. He is particularly interested in metallic states that are characterized by long-range spin and charge density-wave order.
Dr. Tim Mewes is an Assistant Professor of Physics. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany) in 2002. From 2003 to 2005 he performed postdoctoral research at The Ohio State University and subsequently joined the faculty of The University of Alabama. His research focuses on the investigation of the dynamic properties of magnetic materials. As part of his research he is using and developing the new experimental technique of magnetic resonance force microscopy to characterize the properties of individual magnetic structures with sub-micron dimensions.
Dr. Gary Mankey is a Professor of Physics at the University of Alabama. He received his doctoral degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 1992 and performed postdoctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Plasmaphysics, and Louisiana State University. Dr. Mankey joined the faculty in 1996. Dr. Mankey’s group studies electronic, magnetic and structural properties of nanostructured ferromagnetic materials. Projects include development of exchange inversion materials, fundamental studies of high-moment materials, fabrication of half-metallic materials, and study of interfaces and coupling in layered magnetic systems. Materials characterization techniques include electron, x-ray and neutron diffraction; electron and scanned probe microscopy including SEM, STM, AFM and MFM; magnetic methods with AGM, VSM and MOKE; optical methods with spectroscopic ellipsometry; and electron spectroscopy including UPS, IPS, and XPS with laboratory and synchrotron radiation sources. The successful implementation of these experiments has yielded large and complex data sets and understanding of the data requires detailed analysis and modeling of physical phenomena including photoemission from solids, magnetic hysteresis behavior, magnetic force microscopy, and desorption of gases from surfaces. Collaborations with scientists at the Center for Materials for Information Technology as well as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Louisiana State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin Madison greatly strengthen the research program.
Dr. Patrick R. LeClair joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Alabama in 2005 as an assistant professor. He received his B.S. in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Physics (cum laude) from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in 2002. From 2002-2005 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory. His research at the moment focuses on electrical transport in novel magnetic heterostructures (“spin electronics”), superconductivity, and electron tunneling phenomena. Dr. LeClair is currently building up a shared laboratory for electrical, magnetic, and optical characterization of novel materials and devices down to ultra-low temperatures (<400mK) and high magnetic fields (>7T). He is the author of over 25 publications, and co-author of two patents.