Liam Morrissey

B. Eng., M.Sc (Earth Sciences), PhD (Memorial)

Contact Information

Em: lsm088[at]
Office: EN3015


  • Multiscale Harsh Environment Modelling
  • Solar Wind Sputtering on Planetary Surfaces
  • Molecular Dynamics Modelling
  • Volatile Deposition and Diffusion on the Moon and Mercury
  • Binary Collision Approximation Modelling
  • Hydrogen Diffusion and Embrittlement of Materials
  • Mechanical Properties of Nanostructures

Current Projects and Collaborations

  1. NASA GSFC and Columbia University: Multiscale modelling of Solar Wind impacts on Mercury’s Exosphere
  2. NASA LEADER: Molecular dynamics modelling of solar wind deposited volatiles on the Lunar surface
  3. NASA GSFC: Design of in-situ Lunar witness plates for environmental and materials assessment
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology: Sputtering and Secondary Ion Densities at Phobos and Deimos: A combined computational and experimental study

Personal Profile

I am born and raised here in St. John’s, Newfoundland and am a proud graduate of Memorial University’s mechanical engineering class of 2014. After graduation I completed my Master’s and PhD at Memorial studying the interactions of the environment and materials. In my PhD I focused on using atomistic modelling to quantify the effect of harsh environments on material properties their subsequent behavior and reliability.

After completing my PhD I then applied these approaches to another exciting extreme environment, space. I truly believe that the next step for humanity is reaching out to the stars, and for this to be possible we need to better understand the materials, structures and environments that will take us there. As a postdoctoral researcher I worked for two years with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center studying the interaction of the solar wind onto exposed surfaces and materials. This work was applied to both Mercury and the Moon where sputtering and damage is a key process with both operations and scientific importance.

As a faculty member I am now further developing this exciting research area and bringing these collaborations back home to Memorial.

Research Highlights

Morrissey, L. S., Pratt, D., Farrell, W. M., Tucker, O. J., Nakhla, S., & Killen, R. M. (2022). Simulating the diffusion of hydrogen in amorphous silicates: A ‘jumping’migration process and its implications for solar wind implanted lunar volatiles. Icarus379, 114979.

Morrissey, L. S., Tucker, O. J., Killen, R. M., Nakhla, S., & Savin, D. W. (2022). Solar wind ion sputtering of sodium from silicates using molecular dynamics calculations of surface binding energies. The Astrophysical Journal Letters925(1), L6. 

Morrissey, L. S., Tucker, O. J., Killen, R. M., Nakhla, S., & Savin, D. W. (2021). Sputtering of surfaces by ion irradiation: A comparison of molecular dynamics and binary collision approximation models to laboratory measurements. Journal of Applied Physics130(1), 013302.

Open Positions

I am currently seeking motivated and independent graduate students (Masters or PhD) for projects related to multiscale simulations of space weathering on Mercury and the Moon. Students will be exposed to various aspects of the space industry and will be encouraged to work closely with current collaborators. This will also provide the unique opportunity for internships and travel to other international institutions.

Candidates should have strong computational abilities along with an eagerness to learn new software. Experience with Molecular Dynamics is an asset.

Interested students are encouraged to reach out for further discussion.

Profiles and Links



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