In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 13 meet Klaas Bijlsma, PhD student in the Ion Interactions group of Prof. Ronnie Hoekstra.
I am working as a PhD student in the Ion Interactions group of Ronnie Hoekstra.
For me a typical day of doing experiments starts already immediately after my alarm wakes me up in the morning. The first thing I do is namely to connect to the lab computer via the internet and turn on a small oven inside a vacuum chamber. This oven is filled with a small sample of my favorite element, which is tin (Sn). Once I arrive at the lab, the chamber is then nicely filled with a vapor of Sn atoms. I then turn on various other equipment that enables me to ionize the atoms and extract a beam of energetic Sn ions out of the source chamber. Next, I filter this beam for one particular energy and charge state and transport it to our experimental setup using electromagnets. This can be a challenging job because there are seven magnets that need to be tuned, but it’s very rewarding to see the signal appear and increase on the screen. At the setup, the ions fly through a cloud of hydrogen (H2) gas where they can exchange charges with the H2 molecules. Using electric fields, I can evaluate which charge states are present in my beam. From this data I can determine the likelihood of different charge exchange reactions.
Next to being of scientific interest, the research that we do is of industrial relevance, namely for the nanolithography machine manufacturer ASML. In their most advanced machines, the light used for printing chips is produced by a plasma of Sn while H2 gas is used to slow down the Sn ions. Our group is also part of the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) in Amsterdam. Sometimes I go there for meetings or to do experiments.
I really like the idea that I do experimental research where on one day I can find myself presenting it at a scientific conference and on another day I present it to researchers from ASML.
Contact: Klaas Bijlsma
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