Dr. Dor Amram

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About me

Dor received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion. His research was performed in the “Solid-State Thermodynamics Group”, led by Prof. Eugen Rabkin. During his PhD, Dor worked on the thermal stability of thin metallic alloy films on ceramic substrates, and their evolution into single crystalline micro- and nanoparticles.

The results of this research were published in more than 10 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, including Acta Materialia and ACS Nano. Dor received several Technion prizes (including the Gutwirt, Jacobs and RBNI fellowships).

Among his international achievements is the Acta Materialia Student Award for a paper published in 2013 concerning phase transformations in micro- and nanoparticles. For his post-doctoral studies at MIT, Dor received both the MIT-Technion fellowship and Fulbright fellowships.

In November of 2015, Dor moved to lovely Cambridge with his partner, Aviv, opening a new chapter in his personal and academic life. In what little free time he has left, he enjoys playing classical music on the piano, cooking and baking, and getting up to date with the latest gadgets and gizmos.


About my research

Dor’s post-doctoral research is now underway at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the group of Prof. Christopher A Schuh. Prof. Schuh, who currently serves as the department head, is a prominent scientist specializing in physical metallurgy.

Dor’s research is focused on the design, fabrication and characterization of thermodynamically-stable nanocrystalline metallic alloys. Nanocrystalline metallic alloys are metallic materials which are made of up of many nano-scale crystallites (“grains”), typically ranging in size between 1-50 nanometers. These materials exhibit significantly improved properties over their conventional coarse-grained counterparts, yet their nanostructure is a double-edged sword. Having such small grains goes hand-in-hand with having a large fraction of “grain boundaries”.

These well-known structural features of the material are, to their dismay, branded as defects by materials science and thermodynamics. Under most circumstances such a classification is fitting, as upon exposure of the nanocrystalline metals to elevated temperature, these defects are expelled from the system by the process of grain growth, with a concomitant deterioration of the material’s improved properties. Conventional approaches to retain nanocrystallinity at elevated temperatures typically rely on “kinetic barriers”, which are designed to hinder the system from following its natural thermodynamic tendency.

Compared with true thermodynamic stability, such solutions are often inferior, and always temporary. The approach Dor will employ in his research fundamentally differs from that mainstream, since it relies on harnessing the natural tendency of a system to reach an equilibrium state, in obtaining desired structures and properties. In other words, instead of impeding the system this approach aims at tailoring the system’s final equilibrium state by a deep understanding of the preferred energetic state of its atomic constituents and the interactions between them. Employing a thermodynamic approach for engineering the structure and chemistry of these interfaces-dominated materials stands a good chance of overcoming the fundamental stability hurdle, with nature’s blessing.