ASML is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML employs more than 21,000 people.
I'd heard about ASML while I was studying applied physics on HBO (bachelor) level. They had sent a couple of speakers to talk at my school, and I was fascinated by the company. Its high-tech nature and the challenges of the work it does, how chips are made - I find it all so interesting. Silicon chips are fundamental to the modern world, and I wanted to work on something important.
ASML had a number of positions available. After looking at the options, I had an interview for the position of test engineer. I got the job via an external agency and have been here about 8 months now.
ASML's systems are some of the most complicated in the world. Hence they have to go through a very thorough testing and qualification process to ensure they work as specified before we ship them to customers. The systems use a beam of light to transfer a pattern onto a silicon chip. The shorter the wavelength, the smaller the features they can print and the more advanced the chips they can make. ASML's latest systems use 13.5 nm extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light. And it's my job to test the subsystems that generate this light.
The sources work by firing a laser onto a drop of liquid tin. So, for example, we have to make sure the laser hits the droplet in just the right way and with the right timing to maximize the EUV output. We're expected to troubleshoot any problems we find, which could mean adjusting a setting or replacing a component. I enjoy that challenge: the sources are complicated and you really have to figure out where the problem is. But we can always call on support if the problem is too difficult.
I'm what they call a "5 shift worker". That means I work for six days and then have four days off. That pattern can be a bit strange at first, but now I'm very happy with it. It's nice to have that longer spell off, and sometimes you're off during the week so you can do things that would be harder to do at the weekend like going to the bank or dental appointments.
As a flex employee, I work through an agency. I think that's a good option if you want to work at ASML. If one agency can't arrange an interview, then go to another one. Once you're here, there is the potential to be taken on as a permanent employee. And there are lots of possibilities to grow. I'm not sure yet what my career goals are for the coming years. But as a test engineer, you see how the machines work with your own eyes. I know people from my position have moved on to become team leads, 1st-line support and install engineers travelling the world.
Page updated on 2015-7-20 12:35 CEST