Summertime at Insplorion V: Thesis

18 jul 2019

This post is part of a series on Insplorion’s team during the summer of 2019!

My journey at Insplorion started last summer. A friend of mine hinted about this “cool nanotech company” that needed someone working in the lab over the summer. My lab experience had so far come from the endless labs in school (during the bachelor program in Chemical Engineering at Chalmers) and a couple of summers in an industry lab. A nano lab sounded much cleaner and… very very tiny? Maybe far off from my previous work? We can just sum up with this: I was wrong. Working in a nano lab of course means you are looking at chemical behaviour which means small scale, but the actual work includes real-sized tools, beakers and tubes. So not as small as I imagined.

My first project was to develop a demo kit. Basically, a robust, repeatable and easy experiment that our customers can use when they are learning the instruments (XNano and Acoulyte). This required several hours in the lab and data analysis – a great summer job! So great that I stayed for some part-time work that I combined with my master studies in Sustainable Energy Systems. During the fall and spring these projects mostly consisted of my colleague Joao saying “I’ve got some fun stuff for you!”. These fun stuffs have included anti-bodies, temperature dependency tests, DNA probes, and instrument troubleshooting. My master program does not cover DNA theory (who knew!?), so I have appreciated Joao’s crash course in this field. Knowing the theory behind the experiments makes it easier to decide whether an experiment is successful or not. And honestly, it is more fun when you know what you are doing and what you want to achieve.

During this summer I am focusing on my master thesis about the second life of batteries. I want to map the different options, hurdles, potentials and drawbacks of reusing lithium ion batteries in new applications, or whether it is more likely that we will recycle them to reuse the valuable elements. To answer these questions, I am doing a literature review combined with interviews with relevant companies. Joao is no longer my go-to-guy at Insplorion. Instead I am bothering David and Christian with a billion battery questions. They have been very supportive and inspiring during the thesis work and have helped me get a good start and will hopefully help me with the finalizing as well.

Working at Insplorion has not only been work. Apparently, I am not alone with an interest in top rope climbing and bouldering. Which means I have gotten a bunch of new climbing buddies as well! Another big interest of mine is of course the Swedish fika. Luckily, all my Insplorion colleagues share this sugar interest with me, and every Thursday we have a mandatory fika break. All business-trips outside Sweden include an unspoken (mandatory) duty of bringing home sweets from the visited country. Which means extra fika!! Climibing and fika is not everything though, I am counting the days until Premier League begins. Maybe this is the season Liverpool will be lifting the trophy!?

We will see what the future brings for me. For now, I will enjoy my thesis work at a really exciting and inspiring company. To avoid lab-withdrawl, I am actually spending some hours in the lab during the summer as well… Joao’s fun stuff never seems to end!

/Sara