Hellman Research Group
Dr. Frances Hellman
Citations & Publications
Research & Activities

"Frances Hellman's kitchen is her laboratory where she delights in cooking up experiments on magnetic materials composed of rare and exotic ingredients" -Eric Niiler, The Joy of Physics

Professor Frances Hellman



Frances Hellman

Ph.D., Applied Physics, Stanford University, 1985
BA, Physics, Dartmouth College, 1978



My research group is concerned with the properties of novel magnetic and superconducting materials especially in thin film form. We use specific heat, magnetic susceptibility, electrical resistivity, and other measurements as a function of temperature in order to test and develop models for materials which challenge our understanding of metallic behavior.

Current research includes: effects of spin on transport and tunneling, including studies of amorphous magnetic semiconductors and spin injection from ferromagnets into Si; finite size effects on magnetic and thermodynamic properties; formation of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in magnetic thin films and effects of the vapor-deposition growth process on the structure of thin film amorphous and crystalline materials.

We also have an extensive effort in development of calorimetry for thin films, small bulk samples, and nano-scale biological systems. We use Si-microfabrication techniques to create membrane-based micro/nanocalorimeters that allow us to measure films weighing micrograms or less from 1-500K and in magnetic fields at present to 8T. We are working with researchers at the national high magnetic field lab to extend the magnetic field range to 45T in steady state and 100T in pulsed fields, and the temperature range to 0.3K.


Hellman Research Group



•Member of the Board of Physics and Astronomy, advisory committee to National Academy of Sciences
•Member of the Solid State Sciences Committee (SSSC), advisory committee to National Academy of Sciences
•Chair of the topical Group on Magnetism (GMAG) of the American Physical Society (APS)
•Former Chair of the Division of Materials Physics (DMP) of APS; Exec Comm
•Member (2002-2005) and Program Chair (2003/2004) of APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP)
•Associate Faculty member of the UCSD Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR)
•Advisory Board for the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center
•Program co-chair 1994, program and advisory committees for several MMM (Magnetism and Magnetic Materials) and INTERMAG conferences
•Member of MRS and AVS
•Co-organized 1995 March APS meeting focus sessions on magnetic heterostructures.
•Runs UCSD Physics Dept NSF-REU site program.
•On several San Diego community science boards: the Elementary Institute of Science, an after hours and summer science program for children, the San Diego Education Fund, which funds teacher training for students from under-represented populations, and the San Diego Foundation Science and Technology Working Group which meets monthly and conducts site visits to consider issues and opportunities in the fields of science and technology in San Diego.



•Fellow of the American Physical Society (1997)
•Elected Chair of APS Division of Materials Physics (1997)
•Elected Chair of APS Topical Group in Magnetism and its Applications (2000)
•National Merit Scholar (1974)
•Phi Beta Kappa Dartmouth College (1978)
•IBM Graduate Fellowship (1980-1982)


Spin Electronics- The Science and Technology of Combining Magnetism and SemiconductorsSpin Electronics- The Science and Technology of Combining Magnetism and Semiconductors

Join UCSD's Frances Hellman for a fascinating presentation about semiconducting and magnetic materials and her research into what is called "spin electronics," which strives to use unique combinations of these materials to control electrons.

An Atoms to Xrays Video Archive





1. "A New Look at the Growth of Thin Films of Nb-Sn," International Cryogenic Materials Conference, M.I.T., 1985.

2. "Anomalous Unidirectional Anisotropy in Tb-Fe/Permalloy Bilayer Films," Magnetics Technology Center, Carnegie-Mellon University, April 1986.

3-5. "Magnetic Interactions in Multilayer Films", seminars and colloquia at:
Boston College, April 1986
Dartmouth College, May 1986
The Ohio State University, June 1986.

6-17. "Preferred Directions in Amorphous Magnetic Thin Films," seminars at:
Princeton, December 8, 1986.
University of Florida, February 1987
University of Minnesota, February 1987
Arizona State University, February 1987
Northeastern, March 1987
Tufts University, March 1987
UCSD, March 1987
Columbia University, April 1987
Boston University, April 1987
SUNY at Stony Brook, April 1987
U. Mass, Amherst, April 1987
Carnegie-Mellon University, May 1987.

18. "Magnetic Thin Films: How the Growth Process Affects the Magnetic Properties," Fall Meeting of the Metallurgical Society, Cincinnati, 1987.

19. "Levitation of a Magnet Over a Type II Superconductor", American Ceramic Society Meeting, May 1988.

20. "Vapor-deposition-induced magnetic anisotropy in amorphous RE-TM alloys", Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) Conference, Pittsburgh, July 1991.

21. "Anisotropy in amorphous thin films", Magnetic Thin Films Workshop, Stanford University, Jan. 1992.

22-26. "Magnetic anisotropy in amorphous rare earth-transition metal alloys", condensed matter seminars at: U. C. Berkeley, Oct. 1991
U. C. Davis, April 1991
Stanford University, 1991
U. C. San Diego, Oct. 1991 (Physics Dept.) and April 1992 (Materials Science).

27. "Growth-Induced Magnetic Anisotropy in Amorphous Rare Earth-Transition Metal Films"; Magneto-optical Recording International Symposium (MORIS) 1992.

28. "Growth-Induced Anisotropy in Amorphous Magnetic Thin Films"; March APS meeting

29. "Growth-Induced Magnetic Anisotropy in Amorphous RE-TM Films"; INTERMAG'93.

30. "Anisotropy in amorphous magnetic thin films", Workshop on Non-Linear Interactions in Magnetic and Magneto-optic Materials". (Dec. 1993).

31-33. "Randomness and order in amorphous materials"
Colloquia at: UCSD (Oct. 1993)
U. Texas at Austin (Jan. 1994)
Texas A&M (Jan. 1994)

34. “Vapor deposition of amorphous thin films: a case study of growth-induced magnetic anisotropy". 3M company presentation, May 1993.

35-38 “Randomness and order in amorphous and crystalline materials"
Colloquia at: Simon Fraser University, Oct.7,1994.
Dartmouth College Oct 20, 1994
U. Maine Oct 21, 1994
Cal. State LA Oct. 11, 1995

39-40. “Membrane-based Microcalorimeter for Wide Temperature Range Sensing and Thermodynamic Measurements”
UCSD ECE Dept. Nov. 18, 1994.
UC Berkeley, Microprocessing seminar, Jan 27, 1995.

41-44. “Randomness and order in amorphous and crystalline thin films"
Caltech University, Seminar, Aug. 30, 1994
Tulane University Colloquium, Feb. 3, 1995.
Harvard University Physics Dept. Colloquium, March 11, 1996
U. Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Colloquium, May 25, 1996

45. “Evidence for a Magnetically-Driven Miscibility Gap in Co-Pt Thin Films”, UC Irvine May 8, 1995.

46. Student invited talk: E. N. Abarra “Heat Capacity Measurements of NiO/CoO Superlattices”, Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) Conference, Philadelphia, Nov. 1995.

47-48. “Evidence for a Surface-Mediated Magnetically-Driven Miscibility Gap in Co-Pt Thin Films”,
UCBerkeley condensed matter seminar Nov. 29, 1995.
UCDavis condensed matter seminar May 29, 1997

49. “Growth-surface-driven immiscibility in Co-Pt and Ni-Pt alloy thin films”,
APS March meeting invited talk 1996.

50. “Tutorial on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials”. CLC (Campus-Laboratory Collaboration) meeting Sept. 10, 1996.

51. “Sensitivity to Disorder and the Superconductor-Insulator Transition in K3C60”, March Meeting invited talk 1997, Symposium on Bad Metals.

52-54. “Randomness and order in amorphous and crystalline magnetic materials";
Colloquia at: Utah State Jan. 28, 1997
UC Irvine. April 25, 1997.
Maria Goeppert-Mayer Memorial Symposium, UCSD March 8, 1997.

55-56. “Metal-Insulator Transition and Giant Negative Magnetoresistance in Amorphous Rare Earth-Silicon Alloys”. Seminars at:
IBM Yorktown Heights Research Center, Feb 14, 1997.
Stanford University, Feb. 20, 1997.

57. “Magnetic Order in Amorphous Rare Earth-Transition Metal Thin Films”, LANSCE User Group meeting, LANL Aug. 7, 1997.

58-64. “Giant Negative Magnetoresistance in Amorphous Rare Earth-Silicon Alloys”, seminars at:
Center for Magnetic Recording Research, Oct 14, 1997.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. UCSD Jan 16, 1998
Michigan State University, Feb 23, 1998
Princeton University, April 8, 1998
Livermore Labs (MRI), Dec. 9, 1998
Stanford University, May 13, 1999
Caltech, May 18, 1999

65-67 "Putting a New Spin on Amorphous Silicon and the Metal-Insulator Transition",
Colloquia at: UC Santa Barbara Nov. 17, 1998
U. Wisconsin Nov. 20, 1998
U. C. Riverside March 18, 1999.

68. "Magnetic Anisotropy and Coercivity in Magneto-optical Materials", Invited talk MORIS (Magneto-optic Recording International Conference) Jan 12, 1999.

69. “Si Micromachined Devices for Wide Temperature Range, High Field, Small Sample Calorimetry”, Invited talk, Workshop on Innovative Measurement Technology, Sandia Lab, Aug. 12-13, 1999.

70. “Giant Negative Magnetoresistance, Enhanced Susceptibility and Magnetic Entropy near the Metal-Insulator Transition in Amorphous Gd-Si”, Seminar at National High Magnetic Field Lab, Florida State University, Sept 24, 1999.

71. “Small angle neutron scattering as a probe of long length scale magnetic structure”, Workshop Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, Santa Fe, NM, Jan. 23 (2000).

72. “Microcalorimetry: Small sample, high field, wide temperature range measurements.” Invited talk March APS meeting MN 2000.

73. “Magnetic field-induced insulator to metal transition in amorphous Gd-doped Si.” Workshop on Induced Cooperative Phenomena, Berkeley, CA, June 25-28 (2000).

74-75. "Putting a New Spin on Amorphous Silicon and the Metal-Insulator Transition",
Colloquia at: U. Nebraska, Oct. 5, 2000
Brown University, Oct 23, 2000

76. “Giant Negative Magnetoresistance in Amorphous Rare Earth-Silicon Alloys”, seminar at:
Carnegie-Mellon University, March 21, 2001..

77. “Si Micromachined Devices for Wide Temperature Range, High Field, Small Sample Calorimetry”, Invited talk, Calorimetry Conference (CALCON), Colorado Springs Aug 30, 2001.

78-79. "Specific Heat Measurements of Thin Films and Tiny Crystals",
Chemistry Dept. Seminar, Brigham-Young University, Feb 1, 2002.
Chemistry Dept. Seminar UCSD May 22, 2002.

80. “Spin Electronics: the Science and Technology of Combining Magnetism and Semiconductors”, Atoms to X-rays Physical Sciences Division Seminar, UCSD, Feb. 22, 2002, and UCSD TV April 2002.

81. “Magnetic Semiconductors: the Science and Technology of Combining Magnetism and Semiconducting Properties”, UCSD CMRR invited sponsor seminar May 22, 2002.

82. "Local and Non-local Magnetic Moments in Amorphous Silicon near the Metal-Insulator Transition", colloquium USC Physics Dept, Nov. 25, 2002.

83-85. “Enormous Negative Magnetoresistance in Amorphous Rare Earth-Silicon Alloys”, seminars
IBM Almaden, Nov 22, 2002.
UC Santa Cruz Physics Dept, April 14, 2003.
High Magnetic Field Lab, Los Alamos, May 9, 2003.

86-87. "Experimental Aspects of Fundamental Magnetism", NSF-sponsored magnetism summer school lecture series. Also, public lecture: "Magnets: Science, Technology, and "Magic Tricks". Boulder, CO, June 29-July 3, 2003.



1. Superconductor-Magnet Induced Separation, Gyorgy, E. M., Hellman, F.,and Johnson, Jr., D. W. Case 28-1-21. filed 4/22/87, granted 1/10/89. Patent number 4,797,386.
2. Scanning near-field microscope, Betzig, E., Gyorgy, E. M., Hellman, F., Trautman, J., Wolfe, R. Patent number 91,310,415.

Back to Physics Dept.
Official UC Berkeley web page