Professor Nicola A Morley

Nicola Morley

MPhys, PhD, MInstP
Professor in Material Physics

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5935
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943


Nicola Morley was appointed as Lecturer to the department in May 2005 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2014 and Professor in January 2019. Her research is based in the Sheffield Centre of Advanced Magnetic Materials and Devices (SCAMMD). Previously, she was a postdoctoral research assistant in the SCAMMD group at the University of Sheffield (2003-2005), which was originally based in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, but moved in July 2004 to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Durham in 2003, and graduated from the University of Oxford in 1999 with a MPhys in Physics.

Research interests

Her research centres on functional magnetic materials, including the understanding and development of magnetic films to be used in magnetic devices and sensors. The main research areas are:

Fe-based Magnetostrictive Materials and Devices
Research is focused on the fabrication and characterisation of Fe-based magnetostrictive film, including Fe-Co and Fe-Ga for MEMS device applications. Fabrication techniques include a state of the art co-sputter-evaporation deposition system, RF/DC sputter system and an evaporator. A wide range of characterisation techniques are used, which include XRD, AFM/MFM, MOKE magnetometry and resistance measurements, as well as a central facilities (ESRF, France, diamond, UK). The main aim of the work is to understand the relationship between the magnetostriction, microstructure and magnetisation. The work has also involved the development of magnetostrictive MEMS devices, which includes magnetostrictive actuators for structural health monitoring, magnetostrictive energy harvesters and mass MEMS sensors.

Organic Spintronics
This research investigates the spin transport within organic semiconductors, including the development of room temperature organic spin-valves. The spin transport has been investigated using a range of techniques including magnetoresistance, XPS, MOKE magnetometry, AFM and muon spectroscopy. The main aims are to understand how the interfaces influence the spin transport in organic spin-valves and develop novel organic spin devices, such as the spin switch. Research has studied both lateral and vertical devices at room temperature.

This research involves studying multilayer multiferroics to investigate how the optical, electrical and magnetic properties are linked within the hetrostructures. Work has studied how the interfaces influence the overall properties of the structures. Characterisation techniques include XRD, SEM, TEM, AFM/MFM, MOKE magnetometry and electrical measurements.

Functional Magnetic Materials
This research involves investigating functional magnetic materials (magnetocaloric, soft and hard magnets and magnetostrictive) using novel techniques such as spark plasma sintering (SPS), additive layer manufacture (ALM) and thin films, to determine how the structural properties of the materials influence the functional properties. The work has included studying element substitution, high entropy alloy and materials design using computational methods.

Professional activities

  • Member of the Muon Facility Access Panel.
  • Programme Chair of SpinOS 2012
  • Guest Editor for Synthetic Metals special edition (2012)

Selected recent publications

  • K. Wang, P. Murahari, K. Yokoyama, J. S. Lord, F. L. Pratt, J. he, L. Schulz, M. Willis, J. E. Anthony, N. A. Morley, L. Nuccio, A. Misquitta, D. J. Dunstan, K. Shimomura, I. Watanabe, S. Zhang, P. Heathcote and A. J. Drew, “Temporal mapping of photochemical reactions and molecular excited states with carbon specificity” Nature Materials, 16, 4, 467, (2017)
  • M. P. P. Hodge, N. A. Morley, M. Grell and D. A. Allwood “Wide Field Magnetic Luminescence Imaging” Advanced Functional Materials, 27, 31, 1606613, (2017)
  • Q. A. Abbas, N. A. Morley “Fabrication and characterisation of magnetostrictive amorphous FeGaSiB films” Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 439, 353-357, (2017)
  • A. Quintata-Nedelcos, J.L. Sanches-Llamazares, C.F. Sanchez-Valdes, P. Alvarez-Alonso, P. Gorria, P Shamba and N. A. Morley “On the magnetostructural transition in MnCoGeBx alloy ribbons” Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 694, 1189-1195, (2017)
  • V. Iurchuk, D. Schick, J. Bran, D. Colson, A. Forget, D. Halley, A. Koc, M. Reinhardt, C. Kwamen, N. A. Morley, M. Bargheer, M. Viret, R. Gumeniuk, B. Doudin and B. Kundys, “Optical modification of the magnetic anisotropy by remanent photostriction” Physical Review Letters, 117, 107403, (2016)
  • P. Shamba, N.A. Morley, O. Cespedes, I.M. Reaney and W. M. Rainforth, “Optimization of Magnetocaloric Properties of Arc Melted and Spark Plasma Sintered LaFe11.6Si1.4” Applied Physics A, 122, 8, 1-9, (2016)
  • T Szumiata, M Gzik-Szumiata, K Brzózka, B Górka, M Gawro?ski, A Caruana Finkel, N Reeves-McLaren, N A Morley, “Interface influence on the properties of Co90Fe10 films on soft magnetic underlayers - Magnetostrictive and Mossbauer spectrometry studies” Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 401, 943-948 (2016)
  • W-G Yang, N A Morley, J Sharp, Y Tian and W M Rainforth, “Strain-mediated converse magnetoelectric coupling strength manipulation by a thin titanium layer” Applied Physics Letters, 108, 012901, (2016)
  • W Yang, N A Morley, W M Rainforth "Giant electric field tunable magnetic properties in a Co50Fe50/lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate multiferroic heterostructure", Journal of Applied Physics, 118, 3, 034102 (2015)
  • W Yang, N A Morley, J Sharp, W M Rainforth, "Electric field-controlled magnetization in bilayered magnetic films for magnetoelectric memory" Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 48, 30, 5005 (2015)
  • N A Morley, R Dost, A S L Lingam and A Barlow, “Investigations of the polymer/magnetic interface of organic spin-valves” Applied Surface Science, 359, 704-713, (2015)
  • F Arab Hassani, N A Morley and M Romero-Gonzalez, “A polymer based sensor for phosphate detection in water” IEEE transactions on sensors, 15717294, (2015)
  • A Caruana Finkel, N Reeves-McLaren and N A Morley, "Influence of soft magnetic underlayers on the magnetic properties of Co90Fe10 films" Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 357, 87-92 (2014)
  • N A Morley, H AlQahtani, M P P Hodges, M R J Gibbs, M Grell and D J Morgan, “Study of Polymer-Magnetic interfaces using XPS” Applied Surface Science, 265, 570-577, (2013)
  • S. Kotapati, A. Javed, N. Reeves-McLaren, M. R. J. Gibbs and N. A. Morley, “Effect of the NiFe thickness on the magnetic properties of NiFe/FeCo bilayers” Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 331, 67-71 (2013)
  • J Dean. M T Bryan, N A Morley, G Hrkac, A Javed, M R J Gibbs and D A Allwood, “Numerical study of the effective magnetocrystalline anisotropy and magnetostriction in polycrystalline FeGa films” Journal of Applied Physics, 110, 043902 (1 - 5), (2011)
  • L Schulz, L Nuccio, M Willis, P Desai, P Shakya, T Kreouzis, V K Malik, C Bernhard, F L Pratt, N A Morley, A Suter, G J Nieuwenhuys, T Prokscha, E Morenzoni, W P Gillin and A J Drew, “Engineering spin propagation across a hybrid organic/inorganic interface using a polar layer” Nature Materials, 10, 39 - 44, (2011)
  • A Javed, T Szumiata, N A Morley and M R J Gibbs, “An investigation of the effect of structural order on magnetostriction and magentic behaviour of Fe-Ga thin films” Acta Materialia, 58, 4003 - 4011 (2010)
  • A Javed, N A Morley and M R J Gibbs, “Structure, Magnetic and Magnetostrictive Properties of as-deposited Fe-Ga thin films” Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 321, 2877 - 2882 (2009)
  • N A Morley, A Rao, D Dhandapani, M R J Gibbs, M Grell and T Richardson, “Room temperature organic spintronics” Journal of Applied Physics, 103, 07F206, (2008)
  • N A Morley, S- L Yeh, S Rigby, A Javed and M R J Gibbs, “Development of a co-sputter-evaporation chamber for Fe-Ga films” Journal of Vacuum Science and technology A, 26, 4, 581 - 586 (2008)
  • A J Drew, J Hoppler, L Schultz, F L Pratt, P Desai, P Shakya, T Kreouzis, W P Gillin, A Suter, N A Morley, V Malik- Kumar, H Bouyanfif, K W Kim, A Dubroka, F Bourqui, C Bernhard, R Scheuermann, T Prokscha, G J Nieuwenhuys and E Morenzoni, “Direct measurement of the spin polarization of injected electrons into the spacer layer of an organic spin valve” Nature Materials, 8, 2, 109 - 114 (2008)
  • A J Drew, F L Pratt, J Hoppler, L Schultz, V Malik- Kumar, N A Morley, P Desai, P Shakya, T Kreouzis, W P Gillin and R Scheuermann, “Intrinsic mobility limit for an anisotropic electron transport in Alq3” Physical Review Letters, 100, 116601, (2008)

Research group

Dr Zhao Leong (Structural health monitoring of composites)

Research students:
Mr Qayes Al-dulaim (Amorphous Fe-based films)
Ms Saturi Baco (Magnetostrictive Fe-based films)

Project students:
Mr James Clarke (Magnetostrictive structural health monitoring of composites)
Mr William Holmes (Magnetostrictive structural health monitoring of composites
Mr Ben Lawton (Magnetostrictive energy harvesters)
Mr Akshay Padki (Magnetostrictive structural health monitoring of composites)
Mr Chin Lim (High Entropy alloy thin films)
Mr Jatupol Surakarnkha (Magnetostrictive structural health monitoring of composites)