After studying at the Leidse Instrumentmakers School (LIS, school for fine mechanics) in the Netherlands I worked for NIKHEF in Amsterdam, where I built a gluing machine for the ALTAS experiment at CERN. During this period I learned more about CERN and shortly after I decided to apply for a position as a technician for the test beam of ALICE and for the HMPID detector.
Since then I have worked on many different projects, for example, assisting various ALICE groups to develop and install their detectors in the experiment. Of course for some of them there were a few last minute adaptations to be made, making the job interesting and full of surprises.
Currently, I’m mostly working for the ITS upgrade which includes designing and building a series of stress benches to test the carbon staves that will carry the chips in the experiment. A few examples of these tests are a liquid erosion test, various pressure tests, thermal expansion tests and vibration tests. What makes the ITS particularly interesting for me is the importance of keeping the overall weight of the ITS down. Therefore, we need to use high-tech light-weight materials and techniques, such as carbon composites and 3D printing, to get a strong and precise structure which weighs as little as possible. Eventually, in fine mechanical engineering the techniques and materials used evolve rapidly and CERN is a great place if you want to be part of these developments.