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We advance and implement X-ray crystallography for probing materials structures. We investigate fine structures on different length scales to obtain standard crystallographic, structural disorder and microstructural information. We study materials under electric, thermal and (in future) mechanical perturbation. We are currently focused on piezoelectrics and ferroelectrics but open for exploring any materials where the relationship between structure and properties are not yet understood.

Current research projects

1. Investigation of multidomain crystals using high-resolution X-ray diffraction

Domain is a finite volume of a crystal, where a physically meaningful order parameter is uniform. Domains and domain walls may mediate new physical properties, such as giant piezoelectricity or shape-memory effect. We advance the methods of investigation of domains using X-ray and neutron scattering inspecting domains from Bragg peaks splitting and track their response to external field.

2. Development of time resolved X-ray single crystal diffractometry

X-ray diffraction is the leading tool for the investigation of materials structures. Understanding the structure-properties relationship relies on the ability of measure how the structure adapts to the external conditions. This adaptation might be e.g. distortion of the chemical bonds, macroscopic strains, variations in the microstructure / domain pattern. For example application of electric field to a piezoelectric material induces macroscopic deformation, which can be to the structural effect or domain wall motion. We develop data aquisition systems for synchronized collection of X-ray diffraction and application of external stimuli to a material (probing a device in action).

3. Crystallography of cleavage

Cleavage describes the tendency of a crystal to break easily along a specific lattice planes. Acquiring the information about cleavage in a given crystal structure is essential for the investigation of key mechanical properties such as fracture toughness, plasticity and strength. Although cleavage planes are commonly known for simple crystals (e.g. silicon), such information about arbitrary crystals is not available.
We develop an universal algorithm for automatic inspection of crystal structures, and the prediction of likely cleavage planes in them. The algorithm is being implemented in the form of MATLAB program. The project is carried out in collaboration with Prof Dov Sherman and his brittle fracture laboratory .

Lab News

15 January 2021

DAQ Not really news, but the nice view of the lab! Red light is on, data collection is running. Nobel Prize? Maybe tomorrow!

1 January 2021

Yair Welcome Yair Dror, our new laboratory engineer. He will work half of his time with us and another half with Dr Maxim Sokol (ceramics laboratory). We wish Yair a smooth start, years of succesfull and pleasant work. And of course, the standard wish of staying healthy during this challenging times.

12 December 2020

DAQ The wait is over: the multi-channel analyzer for time-resolved X-ray diffraction experiments with a point detector arrives. It was developed by the former colleagues in the University of Siegen. Great to the see the old friend.

30 August 2020

Electric field Our measurements of time-resolved X-ray diffraction under external electric field continue. Does this material have a chance to become the new "star" of piezoelectricity? If so, why? We will get the answer soon.

27 July 2020

Electric field The next milestone celebration in the lab. Our first laboratory-based experiments on crystals under electric field have started. This time, it is test measurements of the piezoelectric coefficient of single crystal of quartz. Synchronization of PILATUS detector with the applied electric field is realized using this methodoly.

17 July 2020

ChrisPaper The new paper is accepted to Applied Physics Letters. The paper results from the past beamtime at the ID22 beamline at the European Synchrotron. It is dirven by one of our major collaborators Dr Christopher Fancher from ORNL and Prof Jacob Jones from NCSU, USA

Group Members

Dr Semën Gorfman

Principal investigator

+972 73 380 4341 Sem Gorfman

Curriculum Vitae


Dr David Spirito

Postdoctoral researcher

+972 73 380 4467 David Spirito

Netanela Cohen

PhD Student

Netanela Cohen

Tal Zaharoni

PhD Student

Joint affiliation with SOREQ /SARAF

Tal Zaharoni

Yair Dror

Laboratory engineer

+972 73 380 4467 Yair Dror

Latest publications


U. Vaknin, D. Sherman, S. Gorfman

Geometrical prediction of cleavage planes in crystal structures

International Union of Crystallography Journal, 8 (5), in press, (2021)

Journal article

S. Gorfman, D. Spirito, N. Cohen, P. Siffalovic, P. Nadazdy, Y. Li

Multipurpose diffractometer for in situ X-ray crystallography of functional materials

Journal of Applied Crystallography, 54 (3), 914 - 923,(2021)

Journal article

A. Auslender, G. Levi, V. Ezersky, S. Gorfman, O. Dieguez, A. Kohn

Mean inner potential of graphite measured by electron holography: Probing charge distribution and orbital diamagnetic susceptibility

Carbon, 179, 288 - 298,(2021)

Journal article

J. Schultheiss, L. Porz, L. K. Venkataraman, M. Hoefling, C. Yildirim, P. Cook, C. Detlefs S. Gorfman, J. Roedel, H. Simons

Quantitative mapping of nanotwin variants in the bulk

Scripta Materialia, 199 (6),113878,(2021)

Journal article





Useful links


Funding agency:
Israel Science Foundation

Project title:
Fine structure, polarization rotation and low-symmetry phases in ferroelectric perovskites

Project duration:
October 2018 - October 2022

Funding agency: BSF: US-Israel Billateral Science Foundation

Project title: Local structure mechanisms of electromechanical coupling in oxide ferroelectrics

Project partner: Dr Igor Levin , National Institute of Standards and Technology. Gaithersburg, USA

Project duration: October 2020 - October 2023

Contact us


Dr Semën Gorfman

Materials Science and Engineering department
Tel Aviv University

Wolfson Building for Mechanical Engineering, George Wise Street, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL

+972 73 380 4341 Sem Gorfman