University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Christopher Leighton

Graduate Faculty (Chem Eng & Mat Sci)

AMUNDH 48 (office), 612-625-4018
leighton @ •


Distinguished McKnight University Professor,
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Graduate faculty member in Physics

Director of Undergraduate Studies in Materials Science

Lead Editor, Physical Review Materials


About My Work

Electronic and magnetic materials are the central focus of my group's research. We study a wide variety of types of materials such as nanostructures, thin films, multilayered heterostructures, and bulk polycrystals and single crystals.

We have interests in several areas including the interplay between electronic transport and magnetism in novel materials, and the study of interfaces between dissimilar materials, particularly metals, oxides, and sulfides. The intention is to focus on topics that are attractive from the viewpoint of fundamental science but lie in close proximity to important technological applications such as information storage and microelectronics.

Each of the projects requires fabrication of magnetic/electronic materials and/or structures, detailed atomic level characterization, and in-depth measurement by numerous techniques, particularly electronic transport, magnetometry, and neutron scattering. The work often requires that collaborations be forged, both within the University of Minnesota and with external investigators.

Selected Publications

I. Gilbert, Y. Lao. L. O’Brien, J.D. Watts, M. Manno, C. Leighton, A. Scholl, C. Nisoli and P. Schiffer, Emergent reduced dimensionality by vertex frustration in tetris artificial spin ice, Nat. Phys. 12, 162 (2016)

A. Gulec, D.P. Phelan, C. Leighton and R.F. Klie, Simultaneous first-order valence and oxygen vacancy order/disorder transitions in (Pr0.85Y0.15)0.7Ca0.3CoO3-d via analytical transmission electron microscopy, ACS Nano 10, 938 (2016)

L. O’Brien, D. Spivak, N. Krueger, T.A. Peterson, M.J. Erickson, B. Bolon, C.G. Geppert, C. Leighton and P.A. Crowell, Observation and modeling of ferromagnetic contact-induced spin relaxation in Hanle spin precession measurements, Phys. Rev. B. 94, 094431 (2016)

L. O’Brien, D. Spivak, J.S. Jeong, K.A. Mkhoyan, P.A. Crowell and C. Leighton, Interdiffusion-controlled Kondo suppression of injection efficiency in metallic non-local spin valves, Phys. Rev. B. 93, 014413 (2016)

J. Walter, H. Wang, C.D. Frisbie and C. Leighton, Electrostatic vs. electrochemical doping and control of ferromagnetism in ion-gel-gated ultrathin La0.5Sr0.5CoO3-d, ACS Nano 10, 7799 (2016)

S. Yuan, P.L. Kuhns, A.P. Reyes, J.S. Brooks, M.J.R. Hoch, V. Srivastava, R.D. James and C. Leighton, Phase separation and superparamagnetism in the martensitic phase of Ni50-xCoxMn40Sn10, Phys. Rev. B. 93, 094425 (2016)

M. Topsakal, C. Leighton and R.M. Wentzcovitch, First principles study of crystal and electronic structure of rare-earth cobaltites, J. Appl. Phys. 119, 244310 (2016)

B.L. Zink, M. Manno, L. O’Brien, J. Lotze, M. Weiler, D. Bassett, S.T.B. Goennenwein, M. Johnson and C. Leighton, Efficient spin transport through native oxides of nickel and permalloy with platinum and gold overlayers, Phys. Rev. B. 93, 184401 (2016)

P. Ambwani, P. Xu, G. Haugstad, J.S. Jeong, R. Deng, A. Mkhoyan, B. Jalan and C. Leighton, Defects, stoichiometry, and electronic transport in SrTiO3-d epilayers: A high pressure oxygen sputter deposition study, J. Appl. Phys. 120, 055704 (2016)

E. McCalla, J. Walter and C. Leighton, A unified view of the substitution-dependent antiferrodistortive phase transition in SrTiO3, Chem. Mater. 28, 7973 (2016)

P.L. Kuhns, M.J.R. Hoch, S. Yuan, A.P. Reyes, V. Srivastava, R.D. James and C. Leighton, Magnetic-field-induced changes in superparamagnetic cluster dynamics in the martensitic phase of Ni43Co7Mn40Sn10, Appl. Phys. Lett. 108, 252403 (2016)

P.P. Orth, R.M. Fernandes, J. Walter, C. Leighton and B.I. Shklovskii, Percolation via combined electrostatic and chemical doping in complex oxide thin films, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 106801 (2017)

W. Xie, C. Leighton and C.D. Frisbie, 2D insulator-metal transition in aerosol-jet-printed electrolyte-gated indium oxide thin film transistors, Adv. Electron. Mater. 1600369 (2017)

B.L. Le, J.-S. Park, J. Sklenar, G.-W. Chern, C. Nisoli. J.D. Watts, M. Manno, D.W. Rench, N. Samarth, C. Leighton and P. Schiffer, Understanding magnetotransport in networks of connected permalloy nanowires, Phys. Rev. B. Rapid Comm. 95, 060405 (2017)

K.-W. Kim, L. O’Brien, P.A. Crowell, C. Leighton and M.D. Stiles, Theory of Kondo suppression of spin polarization in nonlocal spin valves, Phys. Rev. B. 95, 104404 (2017)

X. Ren, E. Schmidt, J. Walter, K. Ganguly, C. Leighton and C.D. Frisbie, Rubrene single crystal transistors with perfluoropolyether (PFPE) liquid dielectric: Exploiting free dipoles to induce charge carriers at organic surfaces, J. Phys. Chem. C. 121, 6540 (2017).


B.Sc. (Physics, 1st Class Honors), University of Durham, 1994,
Ph.D. (Condensed Matter Physics), University of Durham, 1998