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"I have acquired almost all my expertise on the job."

Ludo Rossou is a lab technician in the Electron Microscopy for Materials (EMAT) research unit.

“EMAT specialises in research on inorganic materials such as semi-conductors, chips and nano particles. In our field we are among the best in the world. We collaborate a lot with industry and with foreign research centres. All kinds of materials are studied in our lab. My task is to turn them into very thin, transparent samples, which researchers can study with an electron microscope. This is very painstaking work, because a sample is just 20 to 30 nanometers thick."

“Each material has its own specific preparation technique. Over the years the techniques have changed significantly and become more sophisticated. Continuous retraining is therefore essential. I have travelled abroad on several occasions for training, which I always find really rewarding. I have acquired almost all my expertise on the job, as it were. My colleagues also appreciate my knowledge. Researchers always let me know when they are happy with the samples I prepared and show me the images they've made from them. And if a sample does not produce the desired result, we search for a solution together.”

“The most important thing you need in my job is patience, you have to work in a calm and collected manner. Sometimes you only have a little bit of material to work with. You really need to keep your nerves under control on these occasions because if you make a mistake you won't have any material left for a second attempt. But that's the thrill of this job. There is absolutely no lack of challenges here.”

Ludo Rossou