Professor Des McMorrow

Prof Des McMorrow

Interim Director of the LCN
tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7189
ext: 37189
fax: +44 (0)20 7679 0595


Research interests:

Low dimensional quantum spin systems
High-temperature superconductivity
Multipolar order in novel materials


  • 2008-Present Deputy Director, London Centre for Nanotechnology
  • 2004-Present Professor of Physics, UCL
  • 2004-2009 Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award
  • 2002-2003 Senior Research Scientist, Riso National Laboratory
  • 2000-2002 Head of Research Programme, X-ray and Neutron scattering, Riso
  • 1998-2003 External lecturer in Physics, Niels Bohr Institute
  • 1993-2000 Senior Scientist, Risø
  • 1991-1993 Senior College Lecturer, Keble College, Oxford
  • 1990-1993 Research Fellow, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford
  • 1987-1990 Research Fellow, Physics Department, University of Edinburgh
  • 1983-1987 Ph. D., University of Manchester
  • 1979-1983 B.Sc. in Physics, University of Sheffield
My research is focussed on understanding how electrons organise themselves in solids to produce the wonderfully diverse range of phenomena encountered in modern condensed matter physics. I am particularly interested in how low-dimensionality and strong collective quantum effects can produce new states of matter, such as the high-temperature superconductors, quantum spin liquids, etc. The techniques I use are based mainly on using x-rays and neutrons to probe the structural and magnetic correlations that dominate the low-energy behaviour of these and other interesting classes of solids. This invariably means that I spend significant periods of time at central facilities such as ISIS in Oxfordshire, and the Institute Laue-Langevin and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, both located in Grenoble, France.
Examples of Recent Publications
  • Femtoscale Magnetically Induced Lattice Distortions in Multiferroic TbMnO3. H. C.Walker, F. Fabrizi, L. Paolasini, F. de Bergevin, J. Herrero-Martin, A. T. Boothroyd, D. Prabhakaran, D. F. McMorrow, (2011) Science 333 1273
  • Antiferromagnetically spin polarized oxygen observed in magneto-electric TbMn2O5. T.A.W. Beale, S.B. Wilkins, R.D. Johnson, S.R. Bland, Y. Joly, T.R. Forrest, D.F. McMorrow, F. Yakhou, D. Prabhakaran, A.T. Boothroyd, and P.D. Hatton. (2010) Phys. Rev. Lett. 105 087203
  • Electric field control of multiferroic domains in Ni3V2O8 imaged by X-ray polarization enhanced topography. F. Fabrizi, H. C. Walker, L. Paolasini, F. de Bergevin, T. Fennell, N. Rogado, R.J. Cava, Th. Wolf, M. Kenzelmann, and D. F. McMorrow. (2010) Phys. Rev. B 82 024434
  • Inelastic X-ray Scattering Study of SmFeAsO1-xFy Single Crystals: Evidence for Strong Momentum-Dependent Doping-Induced Renormalizations of Optical Phonons. M. Le Tacon, T. R. Forrest, Ch. Rüegg, A. Bosak, A. C. Walters, R. Mittal, H. M. Ronnow, N. D. Zhigadlo, S. Katrych, J. Karpinski, J. P. Hill, M. Krisch, D.F. McMorrow. (2009) Phys. Rev. B 80 220504
  • Magnetic Coulomb Phase in the Spin Ice Ho2Ti2O7 .T. Fennell, P. P. Deen, A. R. Wildes, K. Schmalzl, D. Prabhakaran, A. T. Boothroyd, R. J. Aldus, D. F. McMorrow, and S. T. Bramwell. (2009) Science 326 415
  • Nature of the magnetic order and origin of induced-ferroelectricity in TbMnO3. S. B. Wilkins, T. R. Forrest, T.A.W. Beale, S.R. Bland, H.C. Walker, D. Mannix, F.Yakhou, D. Prabhakaran, A.T. Boothroyd, J.P. Hill, P.D. Hatton, and D.F. McMorrow. (2009) Phys. Rev. Lett. 103 207602
  • Circularly polarized X-rays as a probe of non-collinear magnetic order in multiferroic TbMnO3. F. Fabrizi, H. C. Walker, L. Paolasini, F. de Bergevin, A.T. Boothroyd, D. Prabhakaran, D. F. McMorrow. (2009) Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 237205
  • Magnetic field-induced soft-mode quantum phase transition in the high-temperature superconductor La1.85Sr0.145CuO4. J. Chang, N.B. Christensen, Ch. Niedermayer, K. Lefmann, H.M. Roennow, D.F. McMorrow, A. Schneidewind, P. Link, A. Hiess, M. Boehm, R. Mottl, S. Pailhes, N. Momono, M. Oda, M. Ido, J. Mesot. (2009) Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 177006
  • Direct Observation of Magnon Fractionalization in the Quantum Spin Ladder. B. Thielemann. Ch. R¸egg, H.M. Ronnow, A.M. Luchli, J.-S. Caux, B. Normand, D. Biner, K.W. Kramer, H.-U. G¸del, J. Stahn, K. Habicht, K. Kiefer, M. Boehm, D.F. McMorrow, J. Mesot. (2009) Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 107204

Research Highlights

Thermal and quantum melting of the magnetic order in TlCuCl3.
An international team of researchers including a group from the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) at UCL have uncovered...
unusual extended, three dimensional  jeff=1/2 groundstate wave function of  an I
In general, gaining an understanding of the properties of any material depends on determining the wavefunctions of its many-...
Jeff=1/2 electronic ground state wavefunction of the 5d transition metal oxides
Electrons in materials interact with their environment, and one another, through a hierarchy of energy scales. In functional...
Femtoscale atomic displacements
A breakthrough in understanding materials for next-generation electronic devices
Scientists at the London Centre for Nanotechnology report a major breakthrough in the study of low-dimensional quantum...
Four papers – two published this week, and two on the preprint archive – independently present evidence that...
Spin ice is an example of a system in which the geometry of the lattice produces frustration, i.e. if two neighbouring spins...
Press release, 20 September 2007 An international team including scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology (...