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Dr Thomas Ostler PhD, BSc (Hons), FHEA, MInstP

Senior Lecturer


Tom’s research focuses on the development and use of high performance computing codes to describe the properties of magnetic materials and magnetisation dynamics. A big focus of his research is on understanding the physics of magnetic materials that have been driven out of equilibrium by very short, intense laser pulses with pulse widths of 10s to 100s of femtoseconds. He works closely with experimentalists and other theory groups on a range of collaborative projects to solve a range of technologically relevant and fundamental physics projects from data storage and processing to methods to determine the structure of magnetic materials.


Tom began his postdoctoral positions at the University of York working jointly as a project manager for a collaborative EU FP7 project on ultrafast magnetism involving 9 universities from across Europe, and Seagate Technology. In 2015 he moved to the University of Exeter to work as a senior postdoctoral research fellow in the Group of Prof Gino Hrkac on functional materials on an EPSRC project with the University of Manchester.

In 2015 Tom was awarded a Marie Curie BeIPD COFUND project at the University of Liège hosted by the Nanomaterials group of Prof Matthieu Verstraete. The project involved using electronic structure calculations to fit second principles Hamiltonians to study the dynamics of magnetic and multiferroic materials. In 2020 he was awarded an EPSRC New Investigator Award to setup a research group on Terahertz magnetisation dynamics in collaboration with the High Performance Computing Department at the Science and Technologies Facilities Council.

Tom is also a committee member for an EU COST project (CA17123-MAGNETOFON - Ultrafast opto-magneto-electronics for non-dissipative information technology) and honourable secretary of the Institute of Physics Magnetism working group.

Details of Grants/Awards:

  • £228,352 EPSRC New Investigator Award, EP/T027916/1 TERASWITCH - Towards low dissipation THz-induced switching of magnetic materials
  • 14k GPU hours on the Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery (CSD3) operated by the University of Cambridge Research Computing Service, provided by Dell EMC and Intel using Tier-2 funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (capital grant EP/P020259/1), and DiRAC funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
  • Travel award under COST Action P19 (Multiscale Modeling of Materials) - €1750.
  • Marie Curie Incoming (COFUND) Fellow at the University of Liège – salary (2 years) + €16K expenses (travel, consumables, equipment).
  • Accomodation award under COST Action MP1306 (Training workshop for SPR-KKR code), €276.

Specialist areas of interest:

  • Multiscale modelling
  • Optical switching
  • Ultrafast spin dynamics
  • GPU computing
  • Interface magnetism.

Specialist areas of interest:
- Multiscale modelling
- Optical switching
- Ultrafast spin dynamics
- GPU computing
- Interface magnetism.


Department of Engineering and Mathematics

Business, Technology and Enterprise

Subject Area

Physics and Engineering Mathematics


BSc Physics


- Quantum Mechanics
- The Professional and Practical Physicist
- Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics
- Final Year Physics Projects


The group is currently primarily focused on an EPSRC-funded project, TERASWITCH, which is a collaborative project with STFC and is using multiscale modelling to investigate the dynamics of antiferromagnetic materials after excitation with high frequency, short burst terahertz laser pulses. The project runs for two years and is in collaboration with experimental partners at the Freie University, Berlin. STFC are using electronic structure methods to determine second principles Hamiltonians. The group at Hallam are using atomistic spin dynamics and micromagnetic methods to investigate the dynamics.

Tom is also engaging in a collaborative project with the National Physical Laboratory and ICMM Madrid and the Czech Metrology Institute on a method of determining the form of domain walls in magnetic thin films using a local probing method. The experimental work at NPL is being supported by Tom’s micromagnetic code based on the Landau-Lifshitz-Bloch equation. Tom is also collaborating with researchers at the University of York on ultrafast magnetisation dynamics and also continues to collaborate with Dr Unai Atxitia at the Freie University, Berlin on a range of topics.

Featured Projects

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- Prof Matthieu Verstraete – University of Liège, Belgium.
- Prof Roy Chantrell – The University of York.
- Prof Gino Hrkac – The University of Exeter.
- Dr Stuart Cavill – The University of York and Diamon Light Source.
- Dr Ilie Radu – Max Born Institute, Berlin.
- Dr Unai Atxitia – The University of Konstanz, Germany.
- Dr Oksana Chubykalo-Fesenko, ICMM, Madrid.
- Dr Chudong Xu, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China.
- Dr Matthew Ellis, Trinity College, Dublin.
- Prof Aldo Romero, West Virginia State University, USA.
- Dr Ezio Iacocca, University of Colorado, Bolder, USA.
- Dr Jerome Jackson, Science and Technologies Facilities Council, Daresbury, USA.
- Dr Craig Barton, National Physical Laboratory, UK.


Journal articles

Jakobs, F., Ostler, T., Lambert, C.H., Yang, Y., Salahuddin, S., Wilson, R.B., ... Atxitia, U. (2021). Unifying femtosecond and picosecond single-pulse magnetic switching in GdFeCo. Physical Review B (Condensed Matter), 103 (10), 104422.

Ceballos, A., Pattabi, A., El-Ghazaly, A., Ruta, S., Simon, C.P., Evans, R.F.L., ... Hellman, F. (2021). Role of element-specific damping in ultrafast, helicity-independent, all-optical switching dynamics in amorphous (Gd,Tb)Co thin films. Physical Review B, 103 (2), 024438.

Skelland, C., Westmoreland, S.C., Ostler, T., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., Yano, M., ... Hrkac, G. (2020). Atomistic study on the pressure dependence of the melting point of NdFe12. AIP Advances, 10, 025130.

Skelland, C., Ostler, T., Westmoreland, S.C., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., Yano, M., ... Hrkac, G. (2019). The Effect of Interstitial Nitrogen Addition on the Structural Properties of Supercells of NdFe12-xTix x. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 55 (10), 1-5.

Iacocca, E., Liu, T.M., Reid, A.H., Fu, Z., Ruta, S., Granitzka, P.W., ... Durr, H.A. (2019). Spin-current-mediated rapid magnon localisation and coalescence after ultrafast optical pumping of ferrimagnetic alloys. Nature communications, 10 (1756).

Azim, Z.A., Ostler, T., Xu, C., & Roy, K. (2019). Optical receiver with helicity-dependent magnetization eversal. IEEE transactions on magnetics, 55 (1).

Atxitia, U., & Ostler, T. (2018). Ultrafast double magnetization switching in GdFeCo with two picosecond-delayed femtosecond pump pulses. Applied Physics Letters, 113 (6), 062402.

Lu, X., Zou, X., Hinzke, D., Liu, T., Wang, Y., Cheng, T., ... Xu, Y. (2018). Roles of heating and helicity in ultrafast all-optical magnetization switching in TbFeCo. Applied Physics Letters, 113 (3), 032405.

Skelland, C., Ostler, T., Westmoreland, S., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., Yano, M., ... Hrkac, G. (2018). Probability distribution of substituted titanium in RT12 (R = Nd and Sm; T = Fe and Co) structures. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics.

Di Gennaro, M., Miranda, A.L., Ostler, T., Romero, A.H., & Verstraete, M.J. (2018). Competition of lattice and spin excitations in the temperature dependence of spin-wave properties. Physical Review B (PRB), 97 (21).

Cuadrado, R., Oroszlány, L., Deák, A., Ostler, T., Meo, A., Chepulskii, R., ... Chantrell, R. (2018). Site-resolved contributions to the magnetic anisotropy energy and complex spin structure of Fe/MgO sandwiches. Physical Review Applied, 9 (054048).

Cuadrado, R., Oroszlány, L., Szunyogh, L., Hrkac, G., Chantrell, R., & Ostler, T. (2018). A multiscale model of the effect of Ir thickness on the static and dynamic properties of Fe/Ir/Fe films. Scientific Reports, 8 (3879), 1-13.

Moreno, R., Ostler, T., Chantrell, R., & Chubykalo-Fesenko, O. (2017). Conditions for thermally induced all-optical switching in ferrimagnetic alloys: Modeling of TbCo. Physical Review B (PRB), 96 (014409).

Barton, C.W., Ostler, T., Huskisson, D., Kinane, C.J., Haigh, S.J., Hrkac, G., & Thomson, T. (2017). Substrate Induced Strain Field in FeRh Epilayers Grown on Single Crystal MgO (001) Substrates. Scientific Reports, 7 (44397).

Ostler, T., Barton, C., Thomson, T., & Hrkac, G. (2017). Modeling the thickness dependence of the magnetic phase transition temperature in thin FeRh films. Physical Review B, 95 (6), 064415.

Atkinson, L.J., Ostler, T., Hovorka, O., Wang, K.K., Lu, B., Ju, G.P., ... Chantrell, R.W. (2016). Effects of interactions on the relaxation processes in magnetic nanostructures. Physical Review B, 94 (13), 134431.

Xu, C., Ostler, T., & Chantrell, R.W. (2016). Thermally induced magnetization switching in Gd/Fe multilayers. Physical Review B, 93 (5), 054302.

Atxitia, U., Ostler, T., Chantrell, R.W., & Chubykalo-Fesenko, O. (2015). Optimal electron, phonon, and magnetic characteristics for low energy thermally induced magnetization switching. Applied Physics Letters, 107 (19), 192402.

Ellis, M.O.A., Evans, R.F.L., Ostler, T.A., Barker, J., Atxitia, U., Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., & Chantrell, R.W. (2015). The Landau-Lifshitz equation in atomistic models. Fizika Nizkikh Temperatur, 41 (9), 908-916.

Radu, I., Stamm, C., Eschenlohr, A., Radu, F., Abrudan, R., Vahaplar, K., ... Rasing, T. (2015). Ultrafast and Distinct Spin Dynamics in Magnetic Alloys. SPIN, 5 (3), 1550004.

Ostler, T., Cuadrado, R., Chantrell, R.W., Rushforth, A.W., & Cavill, S.A. (2015). Strain Induced Vortex Core Switching in Planar Magnetostrictive Nanostructures. Physical Review Letters, 115 (6), 067202.

Ellis, M.O.A., Evans, R.F.L., Ostler, T., Barker, J., Atxitia, U., & Chantrell, R.W. (2015). The Landau-Lifshitz equation in atomistic models. Low Temperature Physics, 41 (9), 1-9.

Azim, Z.A., Fong, X., Ostler, T., Chantrell, R., & Roy, K. (2014). Laser Induced Magnetization Reversal for Detection in Optical Interconnects. IEEE Electron Device Letters, 35 (12), 1317-1319.

Ostler, T., Ellis, M.O.A., Hinzke, D., & Nowak, U. (2014). Temperature-dependent ferromagnetic resonance via the Landau-Lifshitz-Bloch equation: Application to FePt. Physical Review B, 90 (9), 094402.

Evans, R.F.L., Ostler, T., Chantrell, R.W., Radu, I., & Rasing, T. (2014). Ultrafast thermally induced magnetic switching in synthetic ferrimagnets. Applied Physics Letters, 104 (8), 082410.

Evans, R.F.L., Fan, W.J., Chureemart, P., Ostler, T., Ellis, M.O.A., & Chantrell, R.W. (2014). Atomistic spin model simulations of magnetic nanomaterials. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 26 (10), 103202.

Barker, J., Atxitia, U., Ostler, T., Hovorka, O., Chantrell, R.W., Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., & Chantrell, R.W. (2013). Two-magnon bound state causes ultrafast thermally induced magnetisation switching. Scientific Reports, 3, 3262.

Atxitia, U., Ostler, T., Barker, J., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., & Chubykalo-Fesenko, O. (2013). Ultrafast dynamical path for the switching of a ferrimagnet after femtosecond heating. Physical Review B, 87 (22), 224417.

Ellis, M.O.A., Ostler, T., & Chantrell, R.W. (2012). Classical spin model of the relaxation dynamics of rare-earth doped permalloy. Physical Review B, 86 (17), 174418.

Ostler, T., Barker, J., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., Atxitia, U., Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., ... Kimel, A.V. (2012). Ultrafast heating as a sufficient stimulus for magnetization reversal in a ferrimagnet. Nature Communications, 3, 666.

Ostler, T., Evans, R.F.L., Chantrell, R.W., Atxitia, U., Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., Radu, I., ... Kimel, A.V. (2011). Crystallographically amorphous ferrimagnetic alloys : comparing a localized atomistic spin model with experiments. Physical Review B, 84 (2), 024407.

Radu, I., Vahaplar, K., Stamm, C., Kachel, T., Pontius, N., Dürr, H., ... Kimel, A.V. (2011). Transient ferromagnetic-like state mediating ultrafast reversal of antiferromagnetically coupled spins. Nature, 472 (7342), 205-208.

Conference papers

Ostler, T., Barker, J., Evans, R.F.L., Atxitia, U., Chantrell, R.W., Hovorka, O., & Chubykalo-Fesenko, O. (2015). Multiscale modeling of ultrafast magnetization dynamics. In Bigot, J.-.Y., Hübner, W., Rasing, T., & Chantrell, R. (Eds.) Ultrafast Magnetism I : Proceedings of the International Conference, UMC 2013 Strasbourg, France, October 28th - November 1st, 2013, (pp. 146-149). Cham: Springer International Publishing:

Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., Nieves, P., Atxitia, U., Ostler, T., & Chantrell, R.W. (2015). Optimising materials for energy-efficient all-optical magnetic switching. Proceedings - EUROCON 2015.

Atxitia, U., Ostler, T.A., Chubykalo-Fesenko, O., & Chantrell, R. (2015). Energy efficient thermally induced magnetization switching by tailoring the electron and phonon dynamics. 2015 IEEE International Magnetics Conference, INTERMAG 2015.

Radu, I., Stamm, C., Eschenlohr, A., Radu, F., Abrudan, R., Vahaplar, K., ... Rasing, T.H. (2015). Engineering ultrafast magnetism. Springer Proceedings in Physics, 159, 297-299.

Radu, I., Vahaplar, K., Stamm, C., Kachel, T., Pontius, N., Radu, F., ... Kimel, A. (2012). Ultrafast magnetism as seen by x-rays. Proceedings of SPIE : Ultrafast Phenomena and Nanophotonics XVI, 8260.

Other activities

Current External Responsibilities

- UK Committee Member and Working Group Leader for the MAGNETOFON COST Action, CA17123
- Honourable Secretary of the Institute of Physics Magnetism Committee
- Organiser of the Current Research in Magnetism (CRIM) 2021 conference

- Ad Hoc Reviewer: Nature Communications, Nature Light: Science and Applications, Nature Scientific Reports, Phys. Rev. Lett., Phys. Rev. B, Phys. Rev. Appl., Phys. Rev. E.,
- Journal of Alloys and Compounds, JAP, JMMM, APL, IEEE Trans Magn, MMM Annual Conf. Proc.
- Reviewer of Grants for External Organisations: Deutsche Forschungsgemeimschaft (DFG), Polish National Science Council.

Previous Conference and Workshop Organisation and Session Chairs:

  • 2020 – Current Research in Magnetism 2020, Online – Organiser.
  • 2020 – IOP Magnetism Conference, Leeds, UK – Joint Programme Chair.
  • 2020 – IOP Magnetism Conference, Leeds, UK – Joint Programme Chair.
  • 2019 – Current Research in Magnetism 2019, IOP London – Organiser.
  • 2019 – IOP Magnetism Conference, Leeds, UK – Joint Programme Chair.
  • 2015 – EMN Ultrafast Meeting on Ultrafast, Las Vegas – International Program Committee.
  • 2015 – Ultrafast Magnetism Conference, Nijmegen, The Netherlands – Chair of session “Ultrafast Magnetic Control”.
  • 2016 – Sol-SkyMag, San Sebastian, Spina – Chair of session “Spintronics and Spin Orbit Effects”.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD Students

Mr Joel Hirst

Current Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dr Sergiu Ruta

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