Dirk Walecki: Early Stage Researcher (secondee)

I am currently working as a postgraduate at the University of Duisburg-Essen where I am studying high-moment materials prepared by means of molecular beam epitaxy.

During my secondment to the Seagate fabrication facility in Northern Ireland in 2015, I worked on the preparation and characterisation of Fe/Cr/Gd trilayer systems prepared by sputter deposition typically used for the production of hard disk drive components.

During my secondment I learned how to operate the software designed to run the sputter deposition tool and to handle the B-H looper as well as the vibrating sample magnetometer for the subsequent magnetic analysis. Using these techniques we studied the influence of the Cr spacer layer on the magnetic properties of the Fe/Cr/Gd trilayers.

During the course of the four months I spent in Seagate’s Research and Development Department, I also learned about the workflow in a company with a high level of labour division. The regular interaction with employees with very different scientific backgrounds helped me to improve my communication skills as well as my ability to organise the experiments I was commissioned to conduct. In the regular meetings with other researchers and my supervisor, I was also given the chance to practise my presentation skills.

My secondment to SEA was a rewarding experience, not least because I spent a great time with pleasant people from a myriad of  countries.