Elahe Farghadany defends PhD thesis

Elahe Farghadany

On Dec. 17, 2021, Elahe Farghadany successfully delivered her PhD thesis, “Cooling rate controlled relaxation in single crystal heterostructures with volatile cations.”

Farghadany's curiosity about the surface of thin films led to her noticing a lack of knowledge about the effect of cooling profile on heterocouple in literature. When she began her defense studies, she observed a significant difference on the surface morphology and dove into studying different aspects of said differences.

"I value scientific fundamentals very much, so each time I observed a new behavior I would study about underlying mechanisms, and I expanded my knowledge to decide better on how to interpret the data, and what would be the best next step which minimizes waste of time,” said Farghadany, who used multiple instruments on and off the Case Western Reserve University campus for her studies, including atomic force microscopes, scanning electron microscopes, transition electron microscopes, x-ray diffractometry, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry.

A native of Boroujerd, Iran, Farghadany’s interest in the sciences began during her high school years. The daughter of a civil engineer, she frequently read magazines detailing the newest findings in the STEM world. “I was always fascinated by the functional materials that are being used in advanced craftsmanship like aerospace shuttles or electronic devices,” she said. “When I had to choose my major, I spoke with different people in different fields of engineering, and I realized that materials science is the one I am looking for!” She appreciates that materials science and engineering gives scientists a platform and knowledge to impact the world in a sustainable way and enjoys thinking about how the structure of materials can impact their properties.

Farghadany earned her B.S. in Metallurgy and Materials Science and Engineering at University of Tabriz in her home country, where her studies focused on Al-alloys, surface treatment and nitriding. The university’s location in one of Iran’s most industrious cities was beneficial for Farghadany. She interned at Kavian Co., where she worked on heat treatment of parts and accessories of vehicles, and Charkheshgar Co., where she focused on heavy machinery, parts & accessories of vehicles and spare-parts.

She went on to earn her M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from University of Tehran, also in Iran. During her M.S. studies focused on thermo-mechanical processing, Ti-alloys and characterization, she decided she wanted to come to the United States for her PhD studies.

Looking back on her time at CWRU, Farghadany is proud that she became a better researcher who can lead and see through a project and a stronger person who can endure difficulties on the way to achieving a goal. She praised her advisor, Associate Professor Alp Sehirlioglu, for being “a focused person who also expands on other aspects of life. With his understanding and respectful attitude, he makes it very easy to rely on his input to improve my functionality especially at a difficult time.”

Farghadany also values Professor James McGuffin-Cawley’s positive impact on her. “He is very knowledgeable in relating the reality of the commercial world to a purely academic organization.”

After Farghadany graduates in May with her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, she hopes to experience working in the corporate world in the United States, but also hopes to stay connected to academia. “In a world where human beings are moving too fast toward consuming resources, producing lots of waste, increasing global warming and struggling to provide a sustainable future, I would like to be a part of the positive force, by working in an organization which aims for a more sustainable future,” she said.