Summer School Tutorial Biographies

Ran Cheng, Assistant Professor, University of California, RiversideDr. Ran Cheng obtained his PhD in condensed matter physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, after which he held a postdoctoral appointment at Carnegie Mellon University. He joined UC Riverside as an assistant professor in Electrical Engineering and a cooperating faculty member of Physics in 2018. His research centers on spintronics, magnetism, and magnetic materials. He studies fundamental physics and practical applications arising from the interplay between spin, charge, mechanical, and thermal transport in a wide variety of magnetic materials, especially antiferromagnetic thin films and nanostructures. As a theorist, he is actively collaborating with experimentalists on a broad range of topics.

Dustin Gilbert, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee KnoxvilleDustin Gilbert received his B.S. in 2008 from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Physics, and Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 2014, also in Physics, with a thesis title "Physics on the Nanoscale - a Study of Nanomagnetic Phenomena". After graduating he received a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, working at the neutron scattering center there. During his research, he has been active in the area of nanoscale materials with an emphasis on magnetism, including high-anisotropy materials, patterned nanostructures, chiral spin textures, ionic materials, and interface coupled composites. His current research has leveraged the unique capabilities of neutron scattering and synchrotron X-rays together to advance the understanding of new emergent fields, including magneto-ionics, skyrmions, and topological insulators.

Brian Kirby, Instrument Scientist for the Polarized Beam Reflectometer, NIST Center for Neutron ResearchBrian Kirby received his B.S. in Physics in 2000 from Pittsburg State University, and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Missouri in 2004. At NIST, Brian is the instrument scientist for the NG-1 Polarized Neutron Reflectometer, and specializes in using neutron and x-ray scattering to study novel magnetic materials important for spintronics applications. Brian’s particular interests include artificial magnetic semiconductors, exchange interactions in magnetic multilayers, and magnetic properties of complex oxides.  He maintains research collaborations with groups at several universities and national laboratories.

J. Ping Liu, Distinguished Professor, Univ. of Amsterdam, NetherlandsJ. Ping Liu received his PhD degree in Physics at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has worked in research and development of permanent magnets and other related magnetic materials for more than thirty years in China, Europe and the United States. He is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has authored or coauthored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and has edited two scholarly books on nanomagnetism (“Nanoscale Magnetic Materials and Applications”, Springer, 2009, and “Skyrmions: Topological Structures, Properties, and Applications”, CRC Press, 2016). Dr. Liu is a Fellow of American Physical Society and the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award in the 25th International Workshop in Rare-Earth Permanent Magnets and Future Magnets.

Sara A. Majetich, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University My research focuses on magnetic nanoparticles that have very uniform sizes, and we study their fundamental behavior, as well as possible applications in data storage media, permanent magnets, and biomedicine. One of the consequences of this monodispersity is that the particles can then self- assemble into arrays (shown below), just as atoms come together to form a crystal. We are investigating the collective behavior of the nanoparticle arrays that are analogous to those in crystals. Isolated iron atoms do not interact with each other and are paramagnetic, but in an iron crystal the interactions lead to ferromagnetism. Superparamagnetic-to-ferromagnetic and insulator-to-metal phase transitions are expected as the nanoparticles are brought closer together. We have also developed a method to replace the surfactant coating the particles with an inorganic matrix, and are exploring methods that exploit this approach to prepare functional nanocomposites.

Tim Mewes, Professor, University of AlabamaDr. Mewes’s 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. Mewes 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.

Bruce Terris, Director of Non-volatile Memory Materials Research & IEEE Fellow, Western Digital Bruce received a B.S. degree in applied physics from Columbia University and the M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After receiving his doctorate, he was a post-doctoral fellow for two years at Argonne National Laboratory. He then began his career in 1985 by joining IBM as a Research Staff Member working on laser printers. Through the acquisition of the hard drive business by Hitachi, the evolution of HGST, and ultimately, the acquisition by Western Digital, he has worked in areas that include thin film superconductivity and magnetism, contact electrification of insulators, atomic force microscopy (AFM), near field optical data storage, high density hard drive media (perpendicular and bit patterned media), heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), and non-volatile memory technologies. Bruce has also led exceptional contributions to the scientific community. He is an American Physical Society Fellow, has served as an IEEE Magnetics Society officer, including president for two years and was a 2008 IEEE Magnetics Society Distinguished Lecturer. He has served as general chair and program chair for the INTERMAG conference and has co-authored over 120 refereed publications and been issued more than 25 US patents.