SCSAM Fellow Spotlight: Sylvie Crowell


When Sylvie Crowell began working on her senior project, which focuses on fabrication protocols for a flexible implantable wireless neurostimulation device, her research advisor, Janet Gbur, suggested she apply to become a SCSAM Fellow. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to use atomic force microscopy, which can offer critical insight into the substrates we are working with in my research project,” said Crowell.

Crowell, a BS/MS student in Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has used SCSAM’s Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to study surface roughness and modulus data on silicon carbide thin film substrates before and after sintering. Her goal has been to determine if sintering the materials causes changes in the properties affecting the outcome of the prints. “We are attempting to use the AFM in a way not conventionally done at SCSAM to obtain force-displacement curves for different materials of known young's modulus values,” said Crowell. Once the curves are obtained, Crowell will analyze them and obtain calibration parameters for measurements of future samples. Most recently, she obtained a force-displacement curve for a sample of silicon wafer.

Working with SCSAM engineer Nichole Hoven, one of Crowell’s main focuses has been developing a protocol for modulus values. “Working with Sylvie has been very enjoyable,” said Hoven. “She is eager to learn the Bruker Dimension 3100 AFM, and I look forward to seeing how SCSAM can help to further her scientific research.”

In the past, Crowell has worked with the Keyence optical microscope and scanning electron microscopes in SCSAM, but her fellowship has been the first time she has used AFM and the first time she has been leading the test matrix and experimental design. She expects this project to tie into her graduate thesis, as it relates to her studies of aerosol printing of microscopic silver circuitry on SiC substrates to create implantable electronics.

A recipient of the Steel Intern Scholarship from the Association for Iron & Steel Technology Foundation, Crowell will spend Summer 2022 as an intern in the consumables department at Lincoln Electric, where she will work on welding research and development. Recently, she also received a Donaldson-Kiefer scholarship from the Cleveland chapter of American Society for Metals.