Building a new future, an interview with Andrea Gouvêa

February 11, 2022

Andrea Gouvêa is a research engineer in the Micro and Nanofabrication facility at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory providing technical and hands-on expertise on advanced systems and techniques.

She has an MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Coimbra where she worked in the development of an electronic system for Time-of-Light (TOF) Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) using Resistive Plate Chamber (RPC) detectors. She obtained her Ph.D. in Physics Engineering from the University of Coimbra where an X-ray detection system for the determination of the Lamb Shift was developed and implemented. 

Can you tell us what you are working on at present?

Presently I’m working on several industry projects and supporting a few internal projects as a process integrator in the Micro and Nanofabrication Facility. Those projects are covering areas from medical, technology to energy devices’ development, few of them to be scaled up to mass production. 

Why did you decide to work in the Microfabrication area?

I was in the right place at the right time. I confess that if you told me 15 years ago that I would be working in this area, I would probably have said that I would not have that chance. However the future had other plans for me and in 2016 I joined a big packaging company – Amkor, and that was when I jumped into this world. I got very excited to be part of this micro and nanofabrication “world” always challenging Moore’s Law and decided to stay on board and learn more. Every day is a challenge and the final fabrication results can be applied in very different areas, spanning from automotive to medical applications, covering telecommunications… in the end, we are everywhere!

How do you see the development of Microfabrication and Exploratory Nanotechnology?

This area is in continuous growth every day, having as final general objective to burst the quality of life of society! (It is so that the growth of this area I can simply say it is almost impossible to be aware of all the innovation groups are developing here). But if you think that 20 years ago you had telephones at home to phone ‘Granny’ and you just listen to her voice and nowadays, I phone her using my mobile phone and at the same time I can see her, it is really comforting! The same technology brought the quality of life and wellness in areas such as medicine.

Nowadays we have labs on chips when one or two decades ago, we needed big laboratories, reagents, among others. For instance, diabetes, before you needed to prick yourself twice or even more per day to see your glucose levels and nowadays we have a sensor you can implant in your skin and it’s monitoring your levels for a few days in a continuous mode and the data can be seen in your mobile phone, you can also receive alerts and inform your relatives of your health condition. So, technology is improving a lot every day and one key factor is the fabrication of micro and nanodevices!

What inspires you and excites you about science?

What excites me more is knowing that science is one of the most amazing ways to obtain freedom! It is one of the humanity pillars. It is the way to understand human life and the universe and to improve our standard parameters on the quality of life.

My daily inspiration is to know that each day I learn something new, and that information somehow will serve to help Humanity and younger people that will continue to develop these new technologies, take them further and have new ones! Building the future one day at a time.