SCSAM'S New Engineer: Tugce Karakulak Uz


In September 2021, Tugce Karakulak Uz joined the staff at Case Western Reserve University’s Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials as the newest research engineer. She will be responsible for the center’s two scanning electron microscopes, the ThermoFisher Apreo 2S and the FEI Helios 650 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope with Focused Ion Beam; She will also focus on X-Ray Diffraction. Her main responsibilities will include maintaining the instruments she specializes in, training users on the instruments and conducting research about in-situ electrochemical experiments.

"Electron microscopes are important for the depth of detail they show and each microscope technique elucidates specific information about your material,” said Karakulak Uz, who added that she loves handling microscopes and troubleshooting microscope issues. “I’m learning new things every day.” It isn’t just the scientific aspect of her new job she appreciates. “Everyone (at CWRU) is so nice and I feel that there is an inclusive and supportive environment here,” she said. She has already begun training students on her instruments and looks forward to working with them on different projects.

Karakulak Uz, who earned her B.S. and M.S. in Physics at Anadolu University in Turkey, comes to Case Western Reserve University from Iowa State University, where she worked as a lab administrator and is currently preparing to give her PhD defense. As a lab administrator, she worked with a JEOL 6060LV SEM, Scintag XRD and various sample preparation equipment. She provided electron microscopy support to various research groups and completed analyses for industry partners.

She is happy to find a microscopy lab at CWRU where she could continue her passions for electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction. So far, she is particularly intrigued by in-situ experiments using heating stages in scanning electron microscopes, which provide high-resolution observation and understanding the evolution of materials property-structure relationships, such as phase transformation, grain growth and recrystallization.

Karakulak Uz was first introduced to the field of microscopy while completing her M.S. dissertation, which was related to transmission electron microscopy. “Epitaxially grown III-V nanostructures were designed as infrared photodetectors and GaAs/AlGaAs quantum wells were analyzed by high resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy techniques,” she said. When working with microscopes, she is particularly interested in the structural and functional characterization of the samples. She also enjoys working with metals and semiconductors.

"I am looking forward to working with Tugce because she brings a fresh perspective on operational procedures from several years of experience enhancing researcher success with working in the microscopy center at Iowa State University,” said SCSAM executive director Jeffrey Pigott. “It has been a pleasure working with her the last few weeks and she is fitting right into the SCSAM team with her enthusiasm. Most importantly, she has a fantastic way of working with and training the student users of SCSAM."

"I am so happy to have Tugce join SCSAM and I look forward to working with her,” said SCSAM senior research engineer John Kim. “Tugce is someone who not only has extensive experience in the microscopy field but also brings more smiles and positive energy to the group.”