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Dr David Cortie

Dr David Cortie

Neutron Reflectometry Instrument Scientist

Role at ANSTO

David Cortie is a physicist and instrument scientist for the PLATYPUS neutron reflectometer at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering at ANSTO. His specialisation lies in applying spin-polarised neutron reflectometry techniques to a variety of scientific problems.

He collaborates with visiting scientists from Australian and international universities to study condensed matter physics and inorganic chemistry at the surfaces and interfaces of nanostructures. His passion lies in using neutron techniques to study quantum materials spanning magnetism, strongly correlated electron systems, multiferroicity and topological materials. He also has active collaborative projects in directed towards energy sustainability and energy efficiency exploring 2D materials, perovskites, functional oxides, thermoelectric materials and lattice/spin dynamics in nanoparticles. 

He is co-responsible for upgrading the software and hardware capabilities of the reflectometry instrumentation at ANSTO to enable the next generation of neutron-science with the aim of advancing the frontier towards high magnetic fields, advanced neutron optics, AC field environments, ultra-cold dilution temperatures and vacuum surface science.  

David welcomes University-led or industry-led projects across all areas of physics, electrical engineering and solid-state chemistry. He also supports neutron experiments with in-house electronic transport, magnetic susceptibility and scientific computing capabilities at the ACNS. He enjoys working and training with students and researchers of all backgrounds and is available for co-supervision of HDR students.

Prior to joining  ANSTO, David was an ARC Discovery Early Career research fellow (2017-2021), a Research Fellow at the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University (2016) and joint Max-Planck UBC fellow at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute based at the University of British Columbia (2013-2016).  


Neutron and X-ray reflectometry, diffraction, neutron spectroscopy, quasielastic spectroscopy, polarised neutrons, surfaces, thin films, nano magnetism, perovskites, 2D van-der Waals materials, topological materials, ion beam implantation, ion beam synthesis, materials simulation of bulk and surface crystal structures, condensed matter physics, density functional theory, molecular dynamics, magnetic susceptibility, magnetometry, electronic and thermal transport, electron microscopy

Qualifications & Achievements

  • Australian Neutron Beam User Group Young Scientist Award (2020)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2021-2023) – “Hot Topic: Quantum Design of Phononic Heat Filters
  • Australian Research Council Linkage Project (2021-2023), “Functional topological materials for superior thermoelectric applications
  • Associate Investigator for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics in Theme 1: Topological Materials and Theme A/B Enabling Technology
  • ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award  (2018-2021) – “Engineering magnetism at the atomic scale in topological insulators”
  • Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering Gold Medal for PhD thesis (2014)
  • PhD  (Physics) from University of Wollongong (2013)

Committees, Affiliations & memberships 


  • Treasurer and ANSTO representative of the Australian Neutron Beam Users Group
  • Public relations officer for the Asia Oceania Neutron Scattering Organisation
  • Member of the Australian Institute of Physics
  • Member of IEEE Magnetics Society
  • National Executive of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies