Martin Harmer

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NHI Director
Interface Engineering

Martin Harmer, Ph.D., is the Alcoa Foundation Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Director of the Nano/Human Interface Presidential Research Initiative. His group researches the science of ceramic powder processing, particularly sintering, the understanding and control of relationships between microstructure and properties of advanced ceramics, and the kinetic engineering of interfaces (grain boundaries and surfaces) to tailor their atomic transport rates, structure, and properties. Dr. Harmer is also internationally recognized for his role in the discovery that internal interfaces have complex three-dimensional structures called "complexions." He is a Distinguished Life Member of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), and has won numerous national and international awards, including the ACS' Kingery Lifetime Achievement Award as well as its highest honor for basic science achievement, the Robert B. Sosman Award.
As Director of the NHI Initiative, Dr. Harmer oversees the progress and future direction of the NHI Initiative. His specific research interest of nanoscale interfaces and advanced electron microscopy techniques were also aspects of the initial proposal to fund NHI to the Lehigh administration. Dr. Harmer and his group were increasingly limited by the conventional research approach of nanoscale characterization, and he was seeking new methods to advance nanoscience and accelerate scientific discovery.
Research Interests
  • Ceramic Processing and Sintering
  • Advanced Electron Microscopy
  • Grain Boundaries and Complexions
  • Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites



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