Jeff Walter

Assistant Professor


I joined Augsburg as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics in the fall of 2019. My favorite part of being a professor here at Augsburg is interacting with students in the classroom and in research activities. I developed a passion for physics and chemistry research by working closely with my professors when I attended a similar liberal arts university, and I hope I can serve as an equally inspiring mentor to my students here at Augsburg.

My research lies in the interdisciplinary field of materials science and engineering. Broadly, my students and I study sustainable materials for a variety of electronic and magnetic applications, using fundamental condensed matter physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering concepts on a daily basis. Some examples include developing new solar cell materials to address the world’s clean energy needs, and studying all-electrical-control of magnetic material properties for next-generation spintronic devices that could be used for data storage and processing. I work in close collaboration with my former PhD advisor, Professor Chris Leighton, at the nearby University of Minnesota, which provides my students frequent access to cutting-edge research facilities that are rare in liberal arts environments.

While I enjoy spending a lot of time in the lab and the classroom, I also enjoy golfing, camping, and watching MN sports teams (particularly the Wild, Twins, and Gophers) try their hardest to get my hopes up…right before crushing my spirit.


  • B.S. Hamline University, Chemistry and Physics, 2012
  • PhD University of Minnesota, Materials Science and Engineering, 2018

Research Interests

  • Sustainable solar cell materials
  • Voltage-controlled electronic and magnetic material properties
  • Sulfide single crystals
  • Oxide thin films and heterostructures

Selected Publications

  • B. Voigt, W. Moore, M. Manno, J. Walter, J. D. Jeremiason, E. S. Aydil, C. Leighton, “Transport evidence for sulfur vacancies as the origin of unintentional n-type doping in pyrite FeS2.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 11, 15552 (2019).
  • J. Walter, T. Charlton, H. Ambaye, M. R. Fitzsimmons, P. P. Orth, R. M. Fernandes, C. Leighton, “Giant electrostatic modification of magnetism via electrolyte-gate-induced cluster percolation in La1-xSrxCoO3-d.” Phys. Rev. Mater. 2, 111406(R) (2018).
  • J. Walter, S. Bose, M. Cabero, G. Yu, M. Greven, M. Varela, C. Leighton, “Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy via strain-engineered oxygen vacancy ordering in epitaxial La1-xSrxCoO3-d.” Phys. Rev. Mater. 2, 111404(R) (2018).
  • J. Walter, G. Yu, B. Yu, A. Grutter, B. Kirby, J. Borchers, Z. Zhang, H. Zhou, T. Birol, M. Greven, C. Leighton. “Ion-gel-gating-induced oxygen vacancy formation in epitaxial La0.5Sr0.5CoO3-d films from in operando X-ray and neutron scattering.” Phys. Rev. Mater. 1, 071403(R) (2017).
  • X. Zhang, M. Li, J. Walter, L. O’Brien, M. Manno, B. Voigt, F. Mork, S. V. Baryshev, J. Kakalios, E. Aydil, C. Leighton. “Potential resolution to the ‘doping puzzle’ in iron pyrite: carrier type determination by Hall effect and thermopower.” Phys. Rev. Mater. 1, 015402 (2017).