Welcome to the Zink Research Lab in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Denver!

Our work is in experimental condensed matter physics, exploring themes of order and disorder in novel materials and small structures primarily through studies of thermal, electronic, thermoelectric, and spin transport. Many of these measurements are enabled by micro- and nanofabrication of specialized thermal isolation platforms and other structures that enable accurate control and measurement of thermal gradients. Applications of our work range from nanoscience to nonproliferation.

Please explore this page for more information on who we are and what we do! The menus above describe our current projects, people, equipment, publications, etc... Note also that this page is, and probably always will be in some sense, under construction...

Latest News:

November, 2021: Paper on non-electronic contributions to thermal conductivity in a low-damping metallic ferromagnet published as a letter in Physical Review Materials

Exciting results on thermal conductivity in Co-Fe alloys, where the low damping promotes long-lived spin dynamics, and non-electronic contributions to thermal conductivity (probed with our unique micromachined thermal isolation platorms).  Thanks to first-author Matt Natale, our NIST Boulder collaborators (Justin Shaw, Hans Nembach and team) and all who contributed.  Check it out here!

October, 2021: Prof. Zink gives (virtual) invited talk at the APS Four Corners Section meeting

Thanks to the organizers at CU Boulder for the chance to talk on some interesting recent thermal conductivity results!

September, 2021: Zink Group at FRAMS 2021, hosted by CSU

We masked-up and headed to our first in-person conference for a long time, complete with in-person poster sessions.  It was great to see friends and colleagues old and new, in Fort Collins. 

November, 2020: PhD students Sam Bleser, Leo Hernandez give virtual contributed talks at MMM2020

Both projects are collaborations with our colleagues in Prof. Xin Fan's group.  One on large spin conversion in thermally evaporated chromium films, and the second comparing the anomalous Hall effect and SQUID magnetometry on synthetic ferrimagnets.

October, 2020: Paper on very unusual phonon heat transport in carbon nanotube thermoelectrics published in Advanced Electronic Materials 

More fruit of our collaboration with NREL (thanks Andrew Ferguson and Jeffery Blackburn).  A certain preparation of semiconducting carbon nanotubes shows nearly zero phonon thermal conductivity at modestly reduced temperature.  Check it out: here!

March, 2020: COVID, cancelled meetings, and quarantines...

DU's response is amazing, but the world is weird.

Feb, 2020: Paper on absolute and relative Seebeck effect in thin films and nanostructures published in Journal of Applied Physics

This paper is the first in a long list of things we want to finally finish in 2020.  This shows one way to extract the absolute Seebeck coefficient from thermoelectric measurements made with micro- and nanomachined structures like our silicon-nitride platforms.  Thanks to all who contributed, and the JAP editors for making it an "Editor's Pick!"  Check it out here. 

Nov, 2019: Zink Group presents three posters and a contributed talk at MMM, in Las Vegas NV

Prof. Zink also served as one of the Program Committee Chairs.  Fun, but intense! One highlight was the glow-in-the-dark KISS mini golf at the Student Reception. 

Sept, 2019: Rachel Bennet and Alex Hojem's work on membrane-suspended non-local spin valves published in Physical Review B

This was a fun and interesting project where we used extreme measures to apply large in-plane thermal gradients to the ferromagnetic nanowires in a non-local spin valve, producing large and quantifiable anomalous Nernst effect contributions.  Check it out here.

Sept, 2019: Prof. Xin Fan's group publishes work on Anomalous Spin Orbit Torques in Nature Nanotech

With some minor contributions from us...check it out here

May-June, 2019: New sample prep clean room installed, and limited He recovery from DU Chem & BioChem NMR underway...

Leo Hernandez and friends completed installation for a new, cleaner home for our bonder and sample storage.  We have also devised a very home-grown solution to recovering He gas from the NMR across the street...

Mar-Apr 2019: The Zink Lab is excited to host Prof. Yayoi Takamura (UC Davis Mat. Sci.) for part of her Sabbatical

We enjoyed discussions and talks with Yayoi, as well as a lovely group party with some fine golf swings on display...

Dec, 2018: (slowly) Getting back to business....

With a huge amount of effort from the PhD student crew, we are slowly getting things back up and running.  Not at full speed yet...

Fall 2018: Umm...that's not ideal...


Unfortunately, lab had to entirely shut down for asbestos abatement.  Will return asap, and at least somewhat better than before...

May, 2018: Latest work on thermoelectric effects in metallic ferromagnets published in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

Our (probably) final work, again led by Devin Wesenberg, clarifying that spin currents are not generated by in-plane thermal gradients on mm-scales in metallic ferromagnets.  The result includes a unique, direct comparison of the planar Nernst effect and planar Hall effect for a single thin-film sample.  This suggests a possible violation of the Mott relation of these transverse thermoelectric effects.  Find it here.

Dec, 2017: Congratulations to Dr. Devin Wesenberg on a very successful Ph.D. defense, and good luck at Lam!


Oct, 2017: Our surprising results on nonlocal spin transport in disordered YIG published in Nature Physics

Experiments led by Devin Wesenberg on material grown by Mingzhong Wu's group at CSU, with contributions from our colleague Davor Balzar:   https://www.nature.com/articles/nphys4175

Oct, 2017: Delivery and installation of our "new" SQUID magnetometer!

Adding critical tools for understanding magnetism in materials, including disordered systems for spin transport.


Sept, 2017: Paper on n- and p-type thermoelectric carbon nanotube films (in collaboration with NREL) published in Energy & Environmental Sciences

Remarkable properties of highly tuned materials prepared by NREL, with thermal conductivity measured here.  Check it out...here.

Aug, 2017: Prof. Fan and Zink's Groups Host the 4th Annual Front Range Magnetics Symposium (FRAMS) at DU.

We enjoyed hosting our colleagues from CSU, CU Boulder, UCCS, U. Wyoming, and NIST for an exciting day of talks, posters, and discussions.  Thanks to all who contributed!



Aug, 2017: Delivery and installation of our liquid helium recycling facility! 

Thanks for NSF for supporting this critical infrastructure.  

Homegrown He on tap

Nov, 2016: Zink group members (BLZ, Rachel Bennet, and Alex Hojem) attended MMM in New Orleans, LA. 

Participation in an epic floating welcome banquet was a highlight!

July 21, 2016: Thermal spin injection PRB published, and highlighted as an Editor's Suggestion!

June 30, 2016: Alex's Hojem's work on thermal spin injection in non-local spin valves accepted by Phys. Rev. B

June 26-30, 2016:  DU Physics makes a strong showing at Magnetic North V, at UC Colorado Springs.  Many congratulations to Devin Wesenberg for winning best poster!

Members of the Zink and Fan groups from left to right: Alex Hojem, BLZ, Alisha Karatsoupa, Devin Wesenberg, Wandy Li, Rachel Bennet and XF.

May 2, 2016: Paper on spin transport through magnetic oxides and large spin Hall angle in impure gold films, collaboration with the University of Minnesota and the Walther Meissner Institute published in Physical Review B!

April 4, 2016: Paper on improved thermoelectric properties in carbon nanotube/polymer hybrid films, collaboration with NREL and KAIST published online in Nature EnergyAlso discussed in a "News & Views" article, "Thermoelectrics: Carbon nanotubes get high." 

Mar. 20-23: Prof. Zink participates in "MXLS-2016, New Opportunities for Magnetic Dynamics and Materials," workshop in Vail, CO.  Even makes it back to Denver despite the Blizzard of 2016.

Mar. 16, 2016: Prof. Zink presents results on tunable thermoelectric properties of Carbon Nanotube thin films from DU/MSU/NREL/KAIST collaboration at APS March Meeting, Baltimore, MD.

Mar, 2016:  Zink Group welcomes PhD student Rachel Bennet!

Feb. 2016: Revived a group web page!

Jan. 11-15, 2016:  Zink group presents two posters and a contributed talk at the 2016 Joint MMM/Intermag.

Dec. 8, 2015: PRB paper on thermal conductivity in Py, Al, Co, Cu thin films published online!(http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.214410)

Sept. 22, 2015: Alex Hojem selected as Best Poster Awardee at the first Front Range Advanced Magnetics Symposium (FRAMS) for his contribution on thermal effects in non local spin valves.  Congratulations Alex!

Alex Frams

Mar-June 2015: Prof. Zink in residence at NIST Boulder Quantum Devices Group as part of sabbatical. 

Jan-Feb 2015: Prof. Zink in residence at University of Minnesota CEMS Department as George T. Piercy Distinguished Visiting Professor

Nov. 2014: Zink Group members present two posters at MMM 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii

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