Brief research summary over last 5 years / academic profile
Van Wees is a world-leading physicist in quantum electronic transport and he has contributed to forefront discoveries in nanoelectronics, mesoscopic systems, spintronics and, most recently, spin-caloritronics and novel 2D materials. His work is characterized by his efforts to introduce revolutionary new device physics that combines novel experimental concepts and deep fundamental understanding, complemented by sound theoretical analysis and descriptions.
Van Wees leads the Physics of Nanodevices group at the University of Groningen. The group currently focuses on the following research lines, which are relevant for this proposal.
Spin caloritronics (Nature Materials 2012) studies the interaction between charge, spin and heat transport, both for fundamental understanding as well as with an eye on application potential. Van Wees and his group achieved a breakthrough when they showed that magnons (the elementary spin wave excitations) in an electrically insulating ferromagnet are very effective long-range carriers of spin and spin information (Nature Physics 2015). This has internationally led to a large range of activities including the realization of magnon spin transistors (Phys Rev Lett. 2018) and the demonstration of effective magnon transport in antiferromagnets by other groups (Nature 2018).
Charge and spin transport in single layer graphene and Van der Waals materials and heterostructures. After the demonstration of long-range spin transport in graphene (Nature 2007) the group of Van Wees has systematically worked on improving the figures of merit of the spin transport as well as realizing new ways of spin control in Van der Waals heterostructures. These include 2D semiconductors, such as TMDs (Nanolett. 2017, 2019) as well as 2D (anti) ferromagnets (accepted for publication in Nature Nano 2021, ArXiv 2020).
A new direction which Van Wees recently took, combines the two research areas above and comprises of the study of magnon transport and magnon dynamics in 2D Van der Waals insulating ferro and anti-ferromagnets. The first demonstration of magnon transport was given in CrBr3 (Phys. Rev. B 2020). Recently his group studied other materials, including the antiferromagnet MnPS3 and related compounds, and the ferromagnets CrGeTe, CrSiTe and related materials. For this research, Van Wees collaborates closely with companies such as HQ Graphene for the realization of high-resolution transfer stages for the controlled assembly of Van der Waals heterostructures, as well as the search for new functional 2D materials.
International visibility, activities, prizes, scholarships etc.
Van Wees is professor in Applied Physics and is Distinguished Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Chair of the University of Groningen. In 2016 he was awarded the Spinoza award, the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands for his “outstanding, groundbreaking, an internationally recognized research”. In 2009 he was elected as member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and in 2014 as Fellow of the American Physical Society, “for pioneering research in charge and spin-based quantum transport in mesoscopic systems”. In 2017 he received the royal decoration of Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, “for his scientific achievements”.
In the period 2012-2018, he was the leader of the Spintronics work package in the EU Graphene Flagship. Under his leadership, the research on spintronics in graphene evolved into new directions including new 2D Van der Waals materials as well as the use of graphene and 2D materials in spin transfer torque devices for future applications.
Van Wees has published over 280 peer reviewed articles, which attracted over 40.000 citations (Google Scholar). During his professorship (2000-current) Van Wees has (co) supervised the thesis completion of 45 PhD students. He currently (co) supervises 10 PhD students. He has given over 130 invited lectures at international conferences and workshops and currently receives about 10 invitations a year.
5 key output/publications
G.E. W. Bauer, E. Saitoh, and B.J. van Wees, Nature Materials 11 (5), 391-399 (2012).
This paper gives an overview of our understanding and the experimental state-of-the-art concerning the coupling of spin, charge and heat currents in magnetic thin films and nanostructures. This paper has greatly stimulated the growth of the research field of spin caloritronics, for both fundamental understanding as well as search for and improvement of new applications, such as heat energy harvesting.
L. Cornelissen, J. Liu, R.A. Duine, J. Ben Youssef, and B.J. van Wees, Nature Physics, 11, 1022 (2015).
This describes the first realization of a high-fidelity signal transfer chain, where electrical charge signals are first converted into electron spin signals, then transported by magnon spin propagation and then converted back into electronic spin and charge signals. This paper opened the way for new ways of signal communication, such as interconnects in integrated devices, and established the crucial role of the magnon chemical potential as an important driving force for magnon spin transport.
Large Proximity-Induced Spin Lifetime Anisotropy in Transition Metal Dichalcogenide/Graphene Heterostructures.
T.S. Ghiasi, J. Ingla-Aynés, A.A. Kaverzin, and B.J. van Wees, Nano Letters 17, 7528 (2017)
This paper demonstrates the unique potential of Van der Waals heterostructures to modify and control the spin properties in graphene, while preserving the high-quality long-range transport properties.
T.S. Ghiasi, A. Kaverzin, P. Blah, and B.J. van Wees, Nano Letters, 19(9), 5959-5966 (2019).
This paper is the first demonstration of efficient spin-charge conversion mechanisms in Van der Waals heterostructures. The results are a basis for further progress towards spintronics applications of these systems.
Detecting chirality in two-terminal electronic devices.
X. Yang, C.H. van der Wal, and B.J. van Wees, Nano Letters 20, 8, 6148–6154 (2020).
This paper addresses important theoretical guidelines to correctly determine the role of chirality induced spin selectivity in magneto electric measurements, emphasizing the distinction between linear and nonlinear transport regimes. It greatly stimulated the discussion about how experiments should be designed and interpreted.