prof. Jonathan Leliaert (PhD)

CRIG member
Jonathan Leliaert

Assistant professor (Faculty of Sciences, UGent)
FWO senior postdoctoral fellow (DyNaMat group, Dept. of solid state sciences, UGent)   


Research focus

The unique combination of properties found in magnetic nanoparticles (i.e., large magnetic moment, small size, and biocompatibility) make them excellent candidates for numerous medical applications. Within diagnostic applications, a major role is played by nanoparticle imaging techniques like magnetic particle imaging (MPI), Magnetorelaxometry imaging and AC-Susceptibility imaging. Concerning therapeutic applications, the particles often act as drug carriers. Another promising emerging adjuvant cancer therapy is magnetic particle hyperthermia, which exploits the increased heat sensitivity of cancer cells as compared to healthy tissues by bringing the particles in close contact with tumorous tissue and subsequently exposing them to a magnetic radiofrequency (RF) field. This causes the particles' magnetization to run through a dissipative hysteresis loop, thereby heating the surrounding tissue, and triggering cell death. 

In order to operate efficiently, these applications pose specific requirements on the nanoparticles. Therefore, improving our insight in the relation between the structure and magnetic properties of these particles will allow for the guided synthesis of particles with optimal properties for each application. 

In our group at the department of solid state sciences, we perform both theoretical/numerical and experimental research in this direction:

  • Advanced (micromagnetic) modeling approaches that simulate the dynamics of the particles, in equilibrium or in response to externally applied magnetic excitations. Specifically, we try to gain a deeper insight in the underlying physical processes describing particle heating in hyperthermia.
  • Experimental characterization of the particles (coming soon in our lab: AC-susceptometry, MOKE microscopy) or in collaboration with other labs (PTB, Berlin, Germany): magnetorelaxometry, thermal noise magnetometry,...   


prof. dr. Jonathan Leliaert (°1989) obtained his master degree in physics and astronomy from Ghent University in 2012. Subsequently he  pursued a PhD in physics at Ghent University in an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Electrical Energy Laboratory (EELAB) at the faculty of engineering and architecture and the Dynamics of Functional Nanomaterials (DyNaMat) group at the faculty of sciences, under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. Luc Dupré and prof. dr. Bartel Van Waeyenberge. 

Afterwards, he received junior and senior postdoctoral research fellowships from the Research Foundation Flanders and was Guest Scientist at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin, Germany, in the “metrology for magnetic nanoparticles” group. He was selected as an Emerging Leader by Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. He has (co-)authored about 50 papers and has given over 25 invited talks. 

Research team

  • prof. Jonathan Leliaert – principal investigator, assistant professor
  • Katrijn Everaert – PhD student
  • Javier Ortega-Julia – PhD student

Key publications

  • ’Magnetic nanoparticles in theranostic applications’, Journal of Applied Physics, 2022 (doi:
  • ‘Individual particle heating of interacting magnetic nanoparticles at nonzero temperature’, Nanoscale, 2021. (PMID: 34476432)
  • ’Dynamical magnetic response of iron oxide nanoparticles inside live cells’. ACS Nano, 2018. (PMID: 29508990)

Contact & links