Co-op at Angstrom Engineering

September 20, 2018

This post was written by Bogdan, a Nanotechnology Engineering student from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He recently completed a 7-month co-op placement here at Angstrom.

What is it like being a co-op student at Angstrom Engineering? I had a unique, engaging and an overall fulfilling experience. I spent 7 months at Angstrom, where I had the opportunity to learn a great deal in my field, and develop many essential skills that will help me in my future career.

I first heard of Angstrom from a colleague at a previous work term placement. The fact that it is one of the rare companies that specializes in my chosen field of study definitely intrigued me, as none of my previous co-ops had been nanotechnology engineering companies. This was an opportunity to finally get some work experience in my field. After spending some time on Angstrom’s website, it looked like it could be a good fit. Not only did the work sound very interesting, but it was clear from the way the customers spoke about the company that Angstrom strives to create the best possible user experience.

I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a co-op student there. My first few weeks at Angstrom were a whirlwind. I was assigned to four different departments, including the coating services, test/process, sales, and marketing teams. This variety helped me gain an overall understanding of the Angstrom business model and offered me a better perspective into the thin film deposition industry.

It was also during my first weeks that it became apparent to me just how much pride Angstrom has in their work and with how much respect they not only give their customers, but also their employees. For me, the knowledge and skills I gained were invaluable but equally important was the respect and care that I felt throughout those 7 months. Angstrom does a fantastic job of fostering a family environment by organizing frequent work events and encouraging the thoughts and ideas of their employees. Most importantly, they put a great deal of trust in their employees and the work that they do, and this is something that I experienced myself. As a result of this, I had the opportunity to be part of many interesting projects.

One department I spent a lot of time in was coating services. Angstrom has a dedicated thin film deposition tool for this, which was used to complete inventory and custom coatings jobs. This covered a wide variety of coating materials (metals, organics, etc.) and substrates (silicon wafers, glass slides, etc.). I quickly became a proficient operator of this system and performed a lot of coatings jobs. This work gave me a tremendous amount of insight not only into the various industries that rely on thin film deposition but also into the deposition technologies themselves. It also happened to be the area of the company where I feel like I had the biggest impact.

Beyond this, I had the opportunity to work on the testing of one of the Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) systems that Angstrom developed for the University of Waterloo. For a nanotechnology engineering student from the same university, this was a unique and fitting experience.

Chemical vapor deposition systems are very important in the nanotechnology field and are commonly used in developing nano-structured materials and devices. I was given the responsibility of completing many tasks required to test this LPCVD. This system was special for me since I had the chance to apply many of the skills I had been learning. For example, part of the tool needed to be electrically wired and I completed this. I also suggested and carried out multiple minor changes to the system for optimal performance. I performed many challenging tasks and tests, working closely with the design and system controls teams on how to best complete my work on this tool. Testing this LPCVD felt like the culmination of my time at Angstrom and it was a deeply satisfying project.

In summary, my co-op experience at Angstrom Engineering was phenomenal and I was given the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the company and learn a great deal in my field. I would highly recommend Angstrom to any potential customers, employees, and co-op students.

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