Finally, after a year of zooming through online lectures, where university felt more like an expensive streaming subscription, we could finally come to the campus again. A perfect opportunity for 20 soon to be High-Tech-Engineers to proof their problem-solving skills to Prodrive Technologies, who challenged us with an interesting case study. Teun van de Sande introduced a problem, which he and his team faced recently: How to mount and cool an image sensor inside a microscope. The image sensor has approximately the size of a Post-It’s, is highly fragile and must not be compressed, while its support structure must provide a thermal interface. Additionally, the sensor is bonded to printed circuit board (PCB), which also must be supported. High thermal conductivity and vacuum environment are additional constraints.

Split in groups of four, we had to come up with a feasible solution. As we are proper HTE-engineers, we applied various concepts of our trade, compliant mechanisms, thermal centres, and matched material pairings. Between sketching different mounting concepts, consulting material tables and calculating thermal expansions, we found the time to socialise with fellow colleagues over coffee and snacks provided by our beloved Taylor board.

In the end, we got the opportunity to pitch our concepts and Teun provided valuable feedback. Every group came up with a different, innovative idea. It was very interesting to work on a real high tech engineering problem, which gave us the opportunity to test and sharpen our engineering skills. It was also very nice to finally meet some fellow colleagues in person, which one only knew from anonymous video lectures.

Therefore, I want to thank Teun from Prodrive Technologies and the Taylor board for providing this great case study.

-T. Michalica (HTE student ‘20/21)

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