We plan a joint theoretical and experimental characterization of van der Waals (vdW) bilayers consisting of a 2D magnetic layer in contact to a layer which possesses large spin-orbit interactions. We plan to examine whether proximity effects from a vdW layer with large spin-orbit interaction can modify the magnetic anisotropy energy or the magnetic exchange interactions of a 2D magnet, with the aim of raising its ferromagnetic Curie temperature or stabilizing non-ferromagnetic states. Furthermore, we want to reverse the interaction and exploit proximity-induced magnetism from a 2D magnet onto the topological properties of a second layer.
We will use first-principles methods based on time-dependent density functional theory combined with many-body perturbation theory enabling apart from ground state also to access dynamical properties. Complementary, we will assemble bilayers and use low-temperature scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy to characterize their structural, electronic, and magnetic properties.