Employee Spotlight: Dr Naoko Sano

As a small company, Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. So each month we will be putting the spotlight on one of our talented colleagues to introduce you to some of the people behind Ionoptika.

The first to be in the spotlight is one of most recent hires, Dr Naoko Sano, our new Applications Scientist. We asked Naoko about her career and what she enjoys about working at Ionoptika.

Employee spotlight - quote

Where were you before you started at Ionoptika?

I joined Ionoptika from Nara Women’s University in Japan where I was Associate Professor in textile science.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Most days I spend my time working on new applications and processing SIMS data. At lunch time I sometimes like to go for a walk with friends from the office, which really helps me refresh. The rest of the time I can be found running samples on the J105 ToF SIMS instrument for existing and potential customers. I’m also involved in testing new software and providing feedback back to the software team.

What do you love most about your job?

One of the most exciting parts of my job is the great variety of applications that I’m involved in, from investigating neurotransmitters in brain tissue, to analysing the frictional properties of lubricants. This makes the job of Application Scientist immensely challenging but hugely rewarding!

Why did you decide to study science when you were at school or university?

A working experience with the Surface Analysis group at NPL in 2006-7 gave a great impact to me in a good way and I really enjoyed UK/London life whilst I was there. Fortunately, around the end of the working experience, Prof. John F. Watts offered a PhD studentship, so I decided to study surface science in University of Surrey, which was my big turning point in my life.

What’s it like working at Ionoptika?

All colleagues here in Ionoptika are friendly, so I enjoy chatting with them at the office. So I miss it very much because of the current WFH situation…

What has been your best memory or achievement in your career?

It would be my first poster award in SIMS-XVII. On the day for the award ceremony, I was late to get to the venue, because I didn’t care for the ceremony at all (a naughty student!). When I got into the venue and tried to find a space to sit, the chairman (coincidentally it was John, my supervisor) on the stage, said ‘Naoko, you are there!’. Everybody turned back and looked at me. I was so proud of my work on the stage, but I felt so embarrassed as well…

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Aromatherapy and reading books.

Have you been doing anything interesting/different/new to cope with the lockdown?

I’ve started online yoga lessons. I still prefer to do it in an actual studio with people, but online yoga class works at least. 

What are you looking forward to most once the lockdown is over?

Travel to see my family and friends all over the world. Miss you all very much!

You can catch up with Naoko and the rest of the Ionoptika team at various conferences throughout the year. Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.