Dr. Tonya S. Coffey


  • Ph.D. - 2004, North Carolina State University
  • M.S.  - 1999, North Carolina State University
  • B.S. - 1996, North Carolina State University

Areas of Research/Interest

Microscopy and Spectroscopy for Materials Analysis, including: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and related modes, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and Transmission Electron Microscopy with related modes; Materials Science; Physics Education Research; STEM Educational Outreach; Quartz Crystal Microbalances; Nanotribology


Tonya Shea Coffey is a solid state physicist with research focused on nanoscale analysis of materials using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. She is the Director of the Physics Secondary Education Program with a strong focus on physics pedagogy and physics educational outreach. 

Selected Publications

“A study on contact resistance as a function of surface treatment in perovskite field-effect transistors,” Colin Tyznik, Matthew C. Waldrip, Ryan P. Sullivan, Motahhare Mirhosseini, Adam Berry, Sean Dwyer, Hurriyet Yuce Cakir, Tonya Coffey, Yueh-Lin Loo, and Oana D. Jurchescu, ACS Applied Electronic Materials, https://doi.org/10.1021/acsaelm.3c00149, ASAP article published May, 2023. 

“Optimal morphology, H-aggregation, and ternary blend excited state disruption in equilibrated squaraine-based all small molecule solar-cells,” Tyler Wiegand, Joseph Godoy, Soumya Gupta, Jeremy Cody, Tonya Coffey, Christopher J. Collison, Thin Solid Films 765, 139623 (2023).

“Smashing Pumpkins,” Tonya Coffey, Ross Gosky, Joshua Gregory, Raimie Neibaur, Jon Orr, The Physics Teacher 59, 518, (2021).

“Nanoscale Characterization of Squaraine-Fullerene Based Photovoltaic active layers by Atomic Force Microsopy mechanical and electrical property mapping,” Tonya Coffey, Andrew Seredinski, Jake Poler, Crystal Patteson, William Watts, Kenny Baptiste, Chenyu Zheng, Jeremy Cody, Christopher Collison, Thin Solid Films 669, 120-132 (2019).

“A Multi-instrument Study of Microwear Polishes on Mousterian Tools from Weasel Cave (Myshtulagty Lagat), Russia”, Larry R. Kimball, Tonya S. Coffey, Nathan R. Faulks, Stephen E. Dellinger, N. Matt Karas & Nazim Hidjrati, Lithic Technology 42, 61-76, (2017).

“An Outreach Adventure,” T. Coffey, SPS Observer, 1 (3), 8-9 (2016).

 “Exploring Nanoscience and Scanning Electron Microscopy in K-12 Classrooms,” Tonya Coffey, Gabor Zsuppan, and Robert Corbin, Microscopy Today 23 (1) (2015).

“Making the Nano Visible and Wonderfilled,” Gabor Zsuppan, Tonya Coffey, and Robert Corbin, Informal Learning Review 128, 10-13 (2014).

“Atomic force microscopy of microwear traces on Mousterian tools from Myshtylagty Lagat (Weasel Cave), Russia,” N. R. Faulks, L. R. Kimball, N. Hidjrati, T. S. Coffey, Scanning 3, 304-315, (2011).

“A New Atomic Force Microscopy Learning Module Using Diffraction Gratings,” T. Coffey et al., Microscopy Today 18, 42-48 (November, 2010).

“Soda Pop Fizz-ics,” T. Coffey, The Physics Teacher, 46, 473 (2008).

 “Diet Coke and Mentos: What is really behind this physical reaction?” T. Coffey, American Journal of Physics 76 (6) 551-557 (2008).

“Impact of Atomic Corrugation on Atomic Friction as Probed by QCM,” T. Coffey and J. Krim, Physical Review Letters, 95, 076101 (2005).

“QCM Studies of the Slippage of Solid and Liquid Krypton Monolayers on Metal(111) and C60 Surfaces,” T. Coffey and J. Krim, Physical Review B, 72, 235414 (2005).

“C60 Molecular Bearings and the Phenomenon of Nanomapping” T. Coffey and J. Krim, Physical Review Letters, 96, 186104 (2006).

 “Nanotribology.” T. Coffey and J. Krim, in: The Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, American Scientific Publishers, Stevenson Ranch, California, 2004.

“A scanning probe and quartz crystal microbalance study of the impact of C60 on friction at solid-liquid interfaces.”  T. Coffey, M. Abdelmaksoud, and J. Krim.  Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 13 (2001) 4991-4999.

Title: She/Her/Hers, Department Chair, Professor
Department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-2437

Fax: (828) 262-2049

Office address
Garwood Hall 233