An entirely new type of technology for consumer electronics is being developed in Turku, in the labs of Comptek Solutions. This work requires a wide variety of expertise – and that’s exactly where University of Turku doctoral researcher Adefunke Koyejo brings her unique skills to the table.
After starting off from Lagos, Nigeria, and staying for a while in Joensuu, Finland, Adefunke Koyejo finally ended up doing her doctoral research in Turku. She has now spent three summer months at Comptek Solutions for a UNICOM industry placement period. Adefunke cycled to our meeting from Comptek’s offices in the Itäharju industrial district.
“I ride my bike everywhere in Turku. When I need a break from work, or from anything else, I cycle as far as I can. At some point I realise that I should probably turn back,” Adefunke says with a laugh.
Recruited to Comptek through the UNICOM project, Adefunke’s academic background is in industrial chemistry. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Osun state university in 2012, after which she became interested in further studies abroad. Her options were either the UK or Canada, where many of Adefunke’s relatives already lived.
However, studying in these countries is expensive. Inspired by a friend’s positive experiences, Adefunke began to consider Finland.
“My parents, who are very liberal in general, could not believe you could get a decent education in some place called Finland – and for free. In Nigeria, everything has a price tag, so a free education seemed suspicious to them, even a scam,” Adefunke laughs.
Adefunke applied for and was accepted into a master’s programme at the University of Eastern Finland’s Department of Chemistry. That was followed by postgraduate studies and a doctorate at the University of Turku. Compared to Joensuu, Turku felt like a lively city, though still tiny in comparison to the bustling Lagos with its population of around 15 million.
Within a few short years, the academic and business worlds of Turku have left a real impression on Adefunke. She enjoys the city so much that she bought her own apartment in the Lauste neighbourhood. The working culture at both the university and Comptek has been easy to get into.
“There is an international atmosphere. Here at Comptek we have people from India, China, Pakistan, Greece and Spain in our team, in addition to me and the Finns, of course.”
Founded in 2017, Comptek Solutions develops semiconductor material technology for the use of the electronics industry.
Developing processes in this field is time-consuming. Compound semiconductor materials, such as gallium arsenide and gallium nitride, are sensitive to oxidation. As a remedy, Comptek has developed a proprietary semiconductor processing technique that enables the manufacturing of unprecedentedly energy-efficient semiconductor components. Applications that largely benefit from Comptek’s technology include microLED displays, lasers, and transistors, among others.
This is where Adefunke steps in as a specialist in Raman spectroscopy, one of the methods for measuring and analysing semiconductor materials. This technique helps researchers to better understand and analyse the behaviour of semiconductors.
“Although we have a lot of expertise in technology and life sciences in Turku, there is a shortage of semiconductor experts. We are fortunate to have found Adefunke, whose knowledge and expertise has brought added value to our product development division,” says Jouko Lång, CTO and co-founder of Comptek Solutions.
No need to be too humble
Comptek Solutions has few competitors in Finland, and its sights are set squarely on the international electronics industry. Lång won’t reveal the company’s customers, but they include big players in the industry in Asia, the United States, and Europe.
Although Comptek is ambitiously reaching for the international markets, Adefunke has been surprised by the certain kind of humility among local companies. It is difficult for international doctoral researchers to find information about potential jobs when companies do not market themselves.
“There is a lot of work to be done here, between academia and the business world. Finland’s great advantages are precisely high-quality education and technology we have been talking about. The kinds of business fairs and recruitment events that are common all around the world should also be adopted here in Finland.
Jouko Lång agrees, but it’s worth noting that Comptek Solutions, for instance, was founded by physics researchers themselves.
However, graduating PhDs often do not have any business experience.
“That’s why we wanted Adefunke to join our team. She had the experience and understanding of both business and science, and their respective operating environments. Both are necessary.”
For now, Adefunke’s everyday life revolves around her work and leisure time in Turku. She aims to finish her doctoral dissertation by next spring. After that, all options are open.
In her spare time, Adefunke likes to cook food and meet up with friends. Especially before the pandemic, she used to go dancing and play the drums in a Latin band. She has become accustomed to Finnish foods, although she never leaves home without some chili flakes to spice up restaurant dishes. At home, she prepares Nigerian delicacies such as jollof rice.
Adefunke’s approach to chemistry is in line with her approach to cooking. It’s about mixing different ingredients, playing with them and experimenting. That’s also what life is all about.
“The only difference between chemistry research and cooking is that you can’t taste chemistry,” Adefunke laughs, and jumps back on her bike.
Text: Heidi Horila
Translation: Turku Business Region
Video production and photos: Mama Creative