Employee Spotlight: Dr Gianfranco Aresta – Project Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. We’re therefore continuing our posts to shine the spotlight on some of the people who make Ionoptika.

Today we’d like to introduce our Project Engineer Dr Gianfranco Aresta. Gianfranco is originally from Italy and he has been part of our team since 2020. In this interview we asked him about his work at Ionoptika.

How long have you worked at Ionoptika?

It’s been almost 3 years since I started working for Ionoptika. Before joining, I was working as a Senior Scientist at Ilika, a solid-state batteries company in Southampton, where I worked on process development for thin films Li ions solid state micro-batteries.

What career path brought you to us?

I got into the world of science in high school, which was a Scientific Lyceum in Italy. After that, it only seemed natural to continue my studies in the scientific field and I studied Chemistry (Structure and properties of matter) at the University of Bari.

I received my Master of Science degree in 2007 and my PhD in Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in 2012. During my years in university, I worked on vacuum based thin film (polymeric and ceramic) growth study, characterization, and monomer-surface interaction.

I then worked in several industrial positions in the Netherlands and UK, specialising in PVD industrial deposition systems, arc evaporation and sputtering and led the development of new arc evaporation sources for metals and alloys.

And that’s, very briefly, the path that brought me here.

What is your role here?

My role at Ionoptika is Project Engineer with special emphasis on the Q-One single-ion implantation instrument, which is our focused ion beam platform for advanced device fabrication and nanoscale materials engineering, used in the applications of quantum research and engineering.

I have also recently been responsible for the management of an Innovate funded project in collaboration with the University of Surrey, which revolves around the development of a number of exotic alloy and ion sources for the Q-One instrument.

Can you describe a typical day working at Ionoptika and what you enjoy the most about it?

Working in R&D means that I generally plan my own work and there are experiments/tests/and analyses (data-analysis) that take up most of my daily routine, but also, since I manage a development project run with a university, I interact frequently with postdocs and researchers outside Ionoptika.

On top of this, I also provide support to our customer service team.

There are several things I enjoy about working at Ionoptika. First of all, the atmosphere is nice: colleagues are friendly, and I am quite happy to work with them.

The thing that I like the most about my job is the continuous learning process related to the R&D environment.

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life?

There are several. For instance, in my previous role, it’s when I succeeded in obtaining an optimal crystalline quality cathode for Li ions batteries, by using the deposition process which I developed.

One of my best achievements at Ionoptika is probably when I started seeing the first results on my LMIG source design.

We’re moving towards the end of the Innovate project now and we have exceeded all the goals set for us, which is very rewarding. Thanks to this project I created a very close collaboration with the University of Surrey as well.

Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Playing music instruments: I’m a bass and double bass player, but I do spend more time on guitar nowadays and on drums with my son. Yes, I really do like playing music.

Other than that, I like watching and going to football matches (unfortunate local Saints supporter) and recently I started motorbiking.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.