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mike fitzsimmons
Michael Fitzsimmons
Joint Faculty Professor

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics
Distinguished R&D Staff, Neutron Scattering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Phone: (505) 901-0534

Brief Vita
  • Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University, 1988
  • M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University, 1984
  • B.A., Physics, Reed College, 1982

  • Joint Faculty Physics Professor, University of Tennessee (February 2016–present)
  • Distinguished R&D Staff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (January 2019–present)
  • Group Leader, Thin Films and Nanostructures, Quantum Condensed Matter Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (February 2015-January 2019)
  • Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory (September 1993-January 2015)
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (September 1990-September 1993)
  • Fulbright Junior Research Fellow, Maximilians Universität, München Germany (September 1989-July 1990)


Thin films and nanostructures provide convenient platforms to exploit novel functional behavior for technological applications. Applications include: permanent magnets, quantum information technologies, spintronics, low power electronics, memristors etc., as well as energy conversion, e.g., spin Seebeck currents and conventional thermoelectrics. Thin films and interfaces also enable topologically protected (against annihilation) magnetic order, such as topological insulators and skyrmions. My research is focused on understanding novel materials properties that stem from interfaces—regions between dissimilar materials whose structure enables ground states of matter not observed in the constituent components. Examples include combinations of ferroelectric, ferromagnetic, ferroelastic and ferrotoroidic order parameters. My experiments involve developing and using instrumentation techniques that allow control of various conjugate fields during neutron scattering experiments. A second research effort involves characterization of turbulent flow around objects under conditions of large Reynolds number using neutron beams and cryogenic He.

Condensed Matter Physics at UT

For Prospective Students

I seek highly motivated graduate students and postdocs who are interested in participating in experimental research to understand and control interfacial properties that lead to new functional materials. Ability to work in a collaborative laboratory and user facility environments is essential. If you are interested please e-mail or call me.

Selected Publications with UT Bylines

Please see my Google Scholar profile for a complete list of publications.

  • 141. Er-Jia Guo, Ryan D. Desautels, David Keavney, Andreas Herklotz, T. Zac Ward, Michael R. Fitzsimmons and Ho Nynung Lee, Lee, Switchable orbital polarization and magnetization in strained LaCoO3 films, Phys. Rev. Matter 3, 014407 (2019).
  • 140. Er-Jia Guo, Manuel A. Roldan, Xiahan Sang, Satoshi Okamoto, Timothy Charlton, Haile Ambaye, Ho Nyung Lee, and Michael Fitzsimmons, Influence of chemical composition and crystallographic orientation on the interfacial magnetism in BiFeO3/La1-xSrxMnO3 superlattices, Phys. Rev. Matter., 2, 114404 (2018).
  • 139. J. Walter, T. Charlton, H. Ambaye, M.R. Fitzsimmons, P.P. Orth, R.M. Fernandes and C. Leighton, Giant Electrostatic Modification of Magnetism via Electrolyte-Gate-Induced Cluster Percolation in La1-xSrxCoO3-d, Phys. Rev. Matter., 2, 111406 (2018).
  • *138. Er-Jia Guo, Manuel Roldan, Timothy Charlton, Zhaoliang Liao, Qiang Zheng, Haile Ambaye, Andreas Herklotz, Zheng Gai, T. Zac Ward, Ho Nyung Lee, and Michael R. Fitzsimmons, Removal of Magnetic Dead Layer by Geometric Design, Adv. Funct. Matter., 28, 1800922 (2018).
  • *137. E. Guo, Y. Liu, C. Sohn, R.D. Desautels, A. Herklotz, Z. Liao, J. Nichols, J.W. Freeland, M.R. Fitzsimmons, H.N. Lee, Oxygen Diode Formed in Nickelate Heterostructures by Chemical Potential Mismatch, Advanced Materials 30, 1705904 (2018).
  • 136. Q. Wang A.P. Chen, E.J. Guo, M.A. Roldan, Q.X. Jia and M.R. Fitzsimmons, An upper limit on the influence of elastic bending stress on the saturation magnetization of La0.8Sr0.2MnO3, Physical Review B 97, 014437(2018).
  • 135. T. Wang, C.Y. Jiang, T.O. Farmer, L. Debeer-Schmitt, J.F. Wenzel, L. McDonald, J.L. Robertson, M.R. Fitzsimmons and X. Tong, New polarized small angle neutron scattering capability at the High Flux Isotope Reactor, Physica B 551, 492 (2017).
  • 134.  A. Huon, D. Lee, A. Herklotz, M.R. Fitzsimmons, H.N. Lee and S.J. May, Effect of chemical pressure on the electronic phase transition in Ca1-xSrxMn7O12 films, Applied Physics Letters Materials 5, 096105 (2017).
  • *133. Er-Jia Guo, Timothy Charlton, Haile Ambaye, Ryan Desautels, Ho Nyung Lee and Michael Fitzsimmons, Orientation control of interfacial magnetism at La0.67Sr0.33MnO3/SrTiO3 interfaces, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 9, 19307 (2017).
  • *132. Er-Jia Guo, Jonathan R. Petrie, Manuel A. Roldan, Qian Li, Ryan D. Desautels, Timothy Charlton, Andreas Herklotz, John Nichols, Johan van Lierop, John W. Freeland, Sergei V. Kalinin, Ho Nyung Lee, and Michael R. Fitzsimmons, Spatially resolved large magnetization in ultrathin BiFeO3, Advanced Materials, 1700790 (2017).
  • *131. Aiping Chen, Qiang Wang, Michael R. Fitzsimmons, Erik Enriquez, Marcus Weigand, Zach Harrell, Brian McFarland, Xujie Lü, Paul Dowden, Judith L. MacManus-Driscoll, Dmitry Yarotski, and Quanxi Jia, Hidden Interface Driven Exchange Coupling in Oxide Heterostructures, Advanced Materials 1700672 (2017).
  • *130. A. Herklotz, E. Guo, A.T. Wong, T.L. Meyer, S. Dai, T.Z. Ward, H.N. Lee, M. R. Fitzsimmons, Reversible control of interfacial magnetism through ionic liquid assisted polarization switching, NanoLetters, 17, 1665 (2017).

Awards, Honors, Memberships
  • 2014: Fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America
  • 2014: Visiting scholar, University of California at San Diego
  • 2008-11: Visiting scholar, the Laboratoire de Physique des Matériaux, Université H. Poincaré Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France
  • 2007: Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2004: Los Alamos Neutron Science Director’s Award
  • 2001: Los Alamos National Laboratory Director’s Award (individual)

Professional Society Governance

2019 President of the Materials Research Society Materials Research Society, 1/1/2018-12/31/2020 VP in 2018, Pres. in 2019, Past Pres. in 2020.
Treasurer and Officer of the Board of Directors, Materials Research Society, 1/1/2010-12/31/2015
Chair, Finance Committee, Materials Research Society, 2013-2015
Member-at-large, topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications (GMAG), American Physical Society, 2007-2009
Chair, Nominating committee for GMAG 2009


Chair, Science Technical Advisory Panel (reflectometry) for the European Spallation Source, 2016-present
Member, Basic Research Needs for Synthesis Science Basic Energy Sciences, panel 2016
Member, Neutron Optics Technical Advisory Panel for the European Spallation Source, 2012-2016
Member, Basic Energy Sciences review panel of the neutron scattering directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2012


Member, programming committee condensed matter programming committee International Conference on Neutron Scattering '17
Member, programming committee condensed matter programming committee American Conference on Neutron Scattering '16
Member, programming committee Surface X-ray and Neutron Scattering Conference, '15
Member, programming committee Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference '13
Member, programming committee condensed matter programming committee American Conference on Neutron Scattering '12
Meeting Chair, Fall 2008 Meeting of the Materials Research Society
Chair, condensed matter programming committee American Conference on Neutron Scattering '08
Symposium Organizer, Materials Research Society, 2002

Neutron Scattering Schools

Lecturer, Neutron reflectometry and small angle neutron scattering, Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2017
Lecturer, Neutron reflectometry and small angle neutron scattering, Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica, Bariloche, Argentina 2017
Lecturer, Introduction to Neutron Scattering, May 2015 Materials Characterization Course, UTK, MS&E
Organizer and Lecturer, 5th LANSCE neutron scattering school, 2009
Lecturer, Canadian Neutron Scattering School, Chalk River Canada, 2006
Lecturer, 1st LANSCE neutron scattering school, 2004


Organizer, Emerging opportunities in condensed matter research inspired quantum confinement, workshop ORNL/UTK 2017
Organizer, Very cold neutrons for the Second Target Station workshop, ORNL 2016
Invited Speaker, SANS Opportunities for Hard Condensed Matter, 4/14 ORNL
Participant, Quantum Condensed Matter and neutron scattering, 12/13 Berkeley, CA
Chair, Neutron optics and polarization techniques for the NIST-NCNR expansion upgrade workshop
Organizer, Neutron scattering and nanomagnetism, 2004
Invited Speaker, Reflectometry at the SNS, ANL, 2000
Invited Speaker, Reflectometry at the LPSS, LBNL, 1995
Invited Speaker, High power spallation source, ANL, 1993

Proposal Reviewer

Department of Energy, National Science Foundation


American Physical Society (Fellow)
Materials Research Society
Neutron Scattering Society of America (Fellow)

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