Just as comfortable in a lab, filing patents or sitting down to write a scientific blog, Martijn Boerkamp has his feet in two different worlds. Not only is he the CTO and co-founder of a tech startup, but he is also a science and tech journalist.
His startup, inPhocal, has developed a unique laser beam technology he hopes will transform the laser processing industry.
“We have an optical technology that is faster, more efficient and cheaper than the current standard. We can improve basically everything. You can use it for the whole laser processing market, but it's going to take time to convince people and get the technology ready.”
Boerkamp and his team started with an optical concept from CERN and made innovations upon the technology to make it work for high-power lasers. Fairly quickly, Martijn’s team submitted four patents – which are pending – that built on the original technology.
inPhocal’s technology makes things possible that were not possible before and was even nicknamed “magical” by optical experts before the team had the results to show it. What it essentially does is “stretches” the focus of a laser beam, making it possible to mark super-fast on any shape or cut through thick materials with only a fraction of the normal power. inPhocal also intends to dice wafers more efficiently for the semiconductor industry to help with the global chip shortage.
“The first market we are aiming for is marking. It is the quicker market fit and we can gain confidence with investors. Laser cutting and semicon are much bigger, but it will take a lot longer to get there. We’ve always had them in our view and can run this [laser marking] in parallel.”
While some of us picked up new hobbies during the pandemic, Boerkamp chose to develop a second focus to his career. He funneled his talent for science and physics into writing for scientific media.
He is now a frequent contributor to Physics World and other publications. From interviewing a Nobel Prize winner to writing an article about his own startup in Bits&Chips, Boerkamp has written for eight publications and is close to 100 published articles.