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.

Brief Vita

Joint Faculty Physics Professor, University of Tennessee, 2/16 – Present

Group Leader, Thin Films and Nanostructures, Quantum Condensed Matter Division Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2/15 – Present

Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 9/93-1/15

Postdoctoral fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 9/90-9/93

Fulbright Junior Research Fellow, Maximilians Universität, München Germany, 1/89-7/90

For Prospective Students and Postdocs

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.



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


Selected Publications

1.      P. Jain, Q. Wang, M. Roldan, A. Glavic, V. Lauter, C. Urban, Z. Bi, T. Ahmed, J. Zhu, M. Varela, Q. Jia, M. R. Fitzsimmons, Synthetic magnetoelectric coupling in a nanocomposite multiferroic, Scientific Reports 5, 9089(2015)

2.      E.J. Moon, R. Colby, Q. Wang, E. Karapetrova, C.M. Schleputz, M. R. Fitzsimmons, S.J. May, Spatial control of functional properties via octahedral modulations in complex oxide superlattices, Nature Communications (2014).

3.      S. Singh, J.T. Haraldsen, J. Xiong, E.M. Choi, P. Lu, D. Yi, X.-D. Wen, J. Liu, H. Wang, Z. Bi, Y. Pu, M.R. Fitzsimmons, J.L. MacManus-Driscoll, R. Ramesh, J.-X. Zhu, A.V. Balatsky and Q.X. Jia, Induced magnetization La0.7Sr.0.3MnO3/BiFeO3 superlattices, Physical Review Letters 113, 047204 (2014).

4.      M.R. Fitzsimmons and Ivan K. Schuller, Neutron scattering—the key characterization tool for nanostructured magnetic materials, J. of Magn. and Magn. Materials, 350, 199 (2014).

5.      C. He, A.J. Grutter, M. Gu, N.D. Browning, Y. Takamura, B.J. Kirby, J.A. Borchers, J.W. Kim, M.R. Fitzsimmons, X. Zhai, V.V. Mehta, F.J. Wong, Y. Suzuki, Interfacial ferromagnetism and exchange bias in CaRuO3/CaMnO3 superlattices, Physical Review Letters 109, 197202 (2012).

6.      S. Singh, M.R. Fitzsimmons, T. Lookman, H. Jeen, A. Biswas, M.A. Roldan and M. Varela, Role of elastic bending stress on magnetism of a manganite thin film studied by polarized neutron reflectometry, Physical Review B 85, 21440 (2012).

7.      Surendra Singh, M.R. Fitzsimmons, T. Lookman, J.D. Thompson, H. Jeen and A. Biswas, Mangetic non-uniformity and thermal hysteresis of (La0.4Pr0.6)0.67Ca0.33MnO3 thin films, Physical Review Letters 108, 077207 (2012).

8.      M.R. Fitzsimmons, B.J. Kirby, N.W. Hengartner, D.L. Smith, F. Trouw, M. Erickson, S.D. Flexner, T. Kondo, C. Adelmann, C.J. Palmstrøm, P.A. Crowell, W. Chen, T.R. Gentile, J.A. Borchers, C.F. Majkrzak, R. Pynn, Suppression of Nuclear Polarization near the Surface of Optically Pumped GaAs, Physical Review B 76, 245301 (2007).

9.      S. Roy, M.R. Fitzsimmons, S. Park,  M. Dorn, O. Petracic, Igor V. Roshchin, Zhi-Pan Li, X. Batlle, R. Morales, A. Misra, X. Zhang, K. Chesnel, J.B. Kortright, S.K. Sinha and Ivan K. Schuller, Depth profile of uncompensated spins in the antiferromagnetic layer of an exchange bias system, Physical Review Letters 95, 047201 (2005).

10.    M.R. Fitzsimmons, S.D. Bader, J.A. Borchers, G.P. Felcher, J.K. Furdyna, A. Hoffmann, J.B. Kortright, Ivan K. Schuller, T.C. Schulthess, S.K. Sinha, M.F. Toney, D. Weller, S. Wolf, Neutron scattering studies of nanomagnetism and artificially structured materials, J. Magn. Magn. Mat., 271, 103 (2004). 10.1016/j.jmmm.2003.09.046


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


Awards, Honors and 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 Treasurer and Officer of the Board of Directors,
Materials Research Society, 2010-present
Chair, Finance Committee, Materials Research Society,2013-present
Member-at-large, topical Group on Magnetism and itsApplications (GMAG), American Physical Society, 2007-2009
Chair, Nominating committee for GMAG 2009
Committees Member, Neutron Optics Technical Advisory Panel for the European Spallation Source, 2012-present
Member, Basic Energy Sciences review panel of the neutron scattering directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2012
Conferences Member, programming committee Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference ‘13
Member, 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 SchoolOrganizer and lecturer, 5th LANSCE neutron scattering school, 2009
Lecturer, Canadian Neutron Scattering School, Chalk River Canada, 2006.
Lecturer, 1st LANSCE neutron scattering school, 2004
Workshops Chair, Neutron optics and polarization techniques for the NIST-NCNR expansion upgrade workshop
Organizer, Neutron scattering and nanomagnetism, 2004
Speaker, Reflectometry at the SNS, ANL, 2000
Speaker, Reflectometry at the LPSS, LBNL, 1995
Speaker, High power spallation source, ANL, 1993
Memberships American Physical Society
Materials Research Society