Dr. Oliver Lischtschenko, Account Manager, Research & Science
In our series profiling the people of Ocean, we introduce Dr. Oliver Lischtschenko, an account manager for our Sales team in the European region. Lischtschenko is based in Germany and focuses on supporting customers in Germany and Austria. He describes his objective for customers as “helping to find the optimum instrumentation for the particular problem.” Also, Dr. Oli is active in promoting STEM education and mentoring young students in research as part of Jugend Forscht, Germany’s best-known talent competition for young people interested mathematics, computer science, science and technology.
Q: Tell us about your background and your history at Ocean Optics.
OL: I joined Ocean in 2011 after giving up my research professorship at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. My background is in optical plasma emission spectroscopy of fusion reactors and since 2003 spectrometers have always been at my side. At Ocean, I am the primary contact person for all researchers in Germany and Austria. In addition, I support our distribution partner GMP (General Microtechnology & Photonics) who is taking care of our customers in Switzerland. My responsibilities encompass applications development and technical consultation as well as project management for all the projects at German and Austrian research institutions. On average this means working on more than a thousand research projects per year.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
OL: The thing I like most is the diversity of our customers and the bandwidth of challenges they are calling us about. With the team at Ocean, I have worked on so many different applications across many science disciplines -- it is just mind-blowing.
Q: Which of these customer challenges stands out?
OL: That is a tough question. I have worked on many very demanding and fun projects. There is such a diversity, it’s hard to narrow them down to one or two. Our company vision is to make the world a safer, cleaner and healthier place, but there are a couple of environmental sensing applications that have created some of my most memorable moments: First is the “DeNiRo” (short for De Niederrhein Rover) project with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld, Germany. We created an open platform for student projects for which we supplied the name-giving robotics platform, including a robotic arm and whole lot of instrumentation for measuring the collected samples and providing general environmental data like irradiance data, reflection data from soil and plants, and an optical gas monitor. It has been a lot of fun assembling and testing that one – let alone what has been added in functionality to the platform by several student projects.
The "DeNiRo" project is one of Dr. L's favorites.
The other project I found truly memorable was working with Heidelberg University researchers on their differential optical absorption measurements for sampling the tropopause layer (at 14-18 km altitude) for bromides. Bromides are a lot more reactive than chlorines in destroying the ozone layer. The idea was to use a cooled unit for highest quality data. With the first internal order of the then-just released QE Pro spectrometer, I had to convince our engineering team to rip out of the units basically everything they worked so hard on. The stripped QE Pro units have then been sealed and dropped into ice water containers for the units to be able to be mounted under a balloon. The unit outperformed expectations and delivered measurements of unforeseen quality – along with some beautiful images.
Q: We don’t want to give away too much just yet, but we’re announcing at LASER World of PHOTONICS (June 24-27, 2019) a brand change for the company. What should customers expect from our new direction?
OL: First and foremost, customers can expect Ocean to deliver on the same high product quality and excellence in product logistics. In addition to the traditional Ocean that people have grown attached to, our rebranded company will help customers take their applications and solutions to the market even faster, profiting from our applied spectral knowledge in combination with advanced data analysis capabilities. Combined, this new structure will allow an accelerated time to market approach for customers looking for solutions.
Q: You’ve been part of the Ocean team for several years now. How has the company changed since your started?
OL: Ocean has been constantly evolving since I joined. While valuing our roots as innovators, the company has matured a lot, having grown into a trusted resource for research as well as OEM spectroscopy solutions needs and applications know-how.
Q: We have a few lighter questions to wrap things up. First, what’s your favorite science-themed movie?
OL: It would have to be The Martian. It shows what can be achieved if we dare to dream just a little and honestly, who would not like to take that trip?
Q: You are both a scientist and a sports enthusiast. What would you rather have, a Noble Prize or a World Cup title?
OL: Definitely a World Cup. World Cups are first and foremost team efforts. It takes a set of excellent team members, but also an infrastructure and that vision to hold back personally at times to have the team excel.