Third year Research Engineer, Dominic Hunter has spent 3 months in Dallas on an internship placement with his sponsor company, Texas Instruments. Dominic shares his experience and the positive impact this has had on his research project.
Undertaking an internship at Texas Instruments has enabled me to test the knowledge and experience I have gained during the CDT programme by developing a benchtop atomic magnetometer that will be utilized in the characterization of existing TI prototypes.
Leading the experimental design has aided in improving my research methodology, leadership and networking skills. Also, the project management expertise that I have developed in previous courses proved useful in the careful planning and preparation necessary in building an experiment in a short 4-month timeframe.
Exposure to the industrial environment has enlightened me to the requirements involved in evolving fundamental research into a commercial product including some of the struggles that come with microfabrication. Constant networking with a multidisciplinary team has widened my knowledge and provided access to insights that were not previously available to me and provided a wealth of experience that contributed toward the overall success of the project. I have developed many useful contacts, including with experts in the field of atomic magnetometry, signal processing and microfabrication.
My expertise in atomic magnetometry has been utilized in many instances at TI, including testing of current TI prototypes and also presenting my research and experience, in a tutorial format, to colleagues in various disciplines including engineers who communicate with potential customers. I have also provided advice on future improvements that could be made to existing prototypes to aid in their performance based on previous experience and observations made on the benchtop system. I believe my time in the US has been beneficial for both Texas Instruments and the University of Strathclyde, and has strengthened the relationship between the two institutions whilst also advancing my EngD studies. New IP has been discussed internally with a joint patent between TI and the University of Strathclyde already pending, based on the research performed during my time as an EngD student and my predecessor Savino Piccolomo.
My internship has also been an extraordinary experience on a personal level as I have managed to explore many tourist attractions during my free time including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas to name a few. Overall, this has been an extremely rewarding experience which has improved the confidence I have in my own research, whilst also preparing me for a potential career in research leadership.