After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Technology, Sven Krabbenborg went on to take a Master's programme in Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. This led to four years of PhD research at Twente and a job at SURFIX BV in Wageningen where he has worked since 2014.
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND MY MASTER’S DEGREE
I've always been interested in most areas of science and didn’t want to have to choose between chemistry, physics and electrical engineering. Advanced Technology gave me the opportunity to keep my options wide open while learning about the business side of things as well. The programme is not only broad based but also offers a multidisciplinary perspective and approach to practical problems. All this appealed to me greatly.
After Advanced Technology I opted for a Master’s programme in Nanotechnology. Many of the same reasons applied. In nanotechnology the multidisciplinary aspects are even more pronounced. The topics within this Master’s programme cannot be slotted into a single category; they operate at the interface between different fields.
MY DAILY ACTIVITIES AT SURFIX BV
SURFIX BV develops and produces chemical surface modification through innovative nano-coatings, usually in the form of monolayers, for the micro- and nanotechnology market. This modification enables surface properties to be changed in line with the customer’s wishes. This might be a standard nano-coating which, for example, makes a product dirt-repellent or relatively waterproof, but it might also be a custom-made nano-coating designed to achieve protein immobilization on a sensor chip.
SURFIX employs me as an R&D scientist. I am responsible for the patterns and nano-coatings on microfluidic chips. In practice, this means I'm involved in developing and delivering nano-coatings, maintaining customer relations and planning development processes. My development activities mainly focus on innovative coatings with interesting properties in relation to microfluidics and electrodes. I also focus on the development of practical and economically feasible methods to pattern existing SURFIX nano-coatings.
HOW ARE YOU USING WHAT YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR STUDIES?
I don’t use much knowledge that I learned specifically during my Bachelor’s studies. What I gained from Advanced Technology is more to do with experience: a way of thinking and working. That mode of critical and academic thinking certainly helps me do my job effectively. AT also prepares you to cope with new and complex challenges. And its multidisciplinary approach has definitely primed me for working life in the business world. The problems and developments I encounter are very often not only associated with chemistry, but related to a range of disciplines.
MY ADVICE TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
After successful completion of Advanced Technology you will be so much more professional in how you think and work, and ready to face the challenges of the future. Nowadays not even the smartest professional can tell you exactly what your working life will be like in 2030. All you can do is make sure that you are ready to cope with new developments and challenges.