Vin Smentkowski

Materials Scientist
Engineered Materials, Chemistry & Physics

“I know my limitations. I wouldn’t be good at writing software. So I identify the best in class at writing algorithms, for example, and I find a way to work with them.”

–Vin Smentkowski

“Pushing new frontiers and doing what others can’t makes me excited to come in to work and take on new challenges,” Vincent says.

That passion for his work and energy to make an impact have driven Vincent to leadership positions in a number of professional associations and recognition with a number of awards at GE. As a surface scientist/analyst, Vincent devises new ways to provide high-quality analysis, results and solutions to inform development of the company’s best products.

Past, Present and Future

From the interaction of gas phase molecules with atomically cleaned single crystal surfaces to real-time, in-situ analysis of thin films during deposition at mTorr pressures, to x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and finally, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). That’s been Vincent’s path.

The road from fundamental studies to applied studies continues into the future. “I will be interested in seeing improved detection limits and focus, and the ability to enhance molecular information in our current workhorse instruments,” Vincent explains, “as well as the development of newer instruments. And I’ll be excited to see new products that result from analysis performed using those instruments.”

Applying Knowledge

Beyond the lab, Vincent has developed a very special skill. With daughters who are competitive figure skaters, he began sharpening figure skate blades.

“I was trained by a former NASA research scientist who coined the term ‘skateology’ to describe the study of how the figure skate blade interacts with the ice,” Vincent says, explaining that his graduate work related to tribology, the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion.

“I enjoy watching skaters perform on blades that I sharpened,” he concludes. “I educate the parents about proper skate maintenance and the meaning of terms such as ‘bite angle’ and ‘radius of hollow,’ and how changes in these dimensions affect skating performance.”