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PhD Research Project

Solid-State Chemistry of Functional Inorganic Materials

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School of Chemistry
Dr F D Morrison
Applications accepted all year round
Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Our research lies in the area of synthesis and characterisation of ferroelectric oxides and related materials. Ferroelectrics account for a significant market share of electronic devices world-wide; they are the key component in the 1000 billion+ multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) produced annually and their piezoelectric properties are utilised in a range of sensors and actuators for medical ultrasound and fuel injectors. New and improved materials are required to extend device capabilities (e.g. for high temperature applications) and to replace the Pb-based materials currently used in many piezo-devices.

Our aims are to investigate and develop novel ferroelectrics and, more recently, magnetoelectrics and multiferroics (which exhibit both electric and magnetic ordering) which are expected to enable entire new device technologies. Research projects are available to understand composition-structure-property interrelations in these materials in order to develop novel materials for use in consumer electronics.

Students in the Morrison group will learn aspects of solid state and sol gel synthesis of inorganic materials and their physical and electrical characterisation. Projects typically involve a wide range of techniques including X-ray and neutron diffraction, electron microscopy, immittance (impedance and dielectric) spectroscopy and thermal analysis.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Finlay Morrison (

Potential applicants are welcome to arrange to visit St Andrews at any time.
Please see: for the application procedure or e-mail for more information.

Funding Notes:

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in chemistry, physics, material science or related discipline.


A-site size effect in a family of unfilled ferroelectric tetragonal tungsten bronzes: Ba4R0.67Nb10O30 (R = La, Nd, Sm, Gd, Dy & Y)
Jonathan Gardner and Finlay D. Morrison
Dalton Trans., 43, 11687, 2014.

Magnetically Driven Dielectric and Structural Behavior in Bi0.5La0.5FeO3
Christopher M. Kavanagh, Richard J. Goff, Aziz Daoud-Aladine, Philip Lightfoot and Finlay D. Morrison
Chem. Mater., 24 (23), 4563, 2012.

Origin and stability of the dipolar response in a family of tetragonal tungsten bronze relaxors
Andrei Rotaru, Donna C. Arnold, Aziz Daoud-Aladine and Finlay D. Morrison
Phys. Rev. B, 83, 184302, 2011.

B-cation effects in relaxor and ferroelectric tetragonal tungsten bronzes
Donna C. Arnold and Finlay D. Morrison
J. Mater. Chem., 19, 6485–6488, 2009.

The β-to-γ Transition in BiFeO3: A Powder Neutron Diffraction Study
Donna C. Arnold, Kevin S. Knight, Gustau Catalan, Simon A. T. Redfern, James F. Scott, Philip Lightfoot, and Finlay D. Morrison
Adv. Funct. Mater., 20, 2116–2123, 2010.

Ferroelectric-Paraelectric Transition in BiFeO3: Crystal Structure of the Orthorhombic β−Phase
D.C. Arnold, K.S. Knight, F.D. Morrison and P. Lightfoot
Phys. Rev. Lett., 102, 027602, 2009


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