My name is Luc and I like playing around with science as you may have already noticed! I graduated in 2011 from Université Libre de Bruxelles as a chemical engineer. later that year, I started a PhD in optics with a focus on biotech. With my fresh PhD, I joined an optical design company in 2015 as a system engineer. I’ve been working there since then as both system engineer and optical designer.
In parallel to my “day life” I was also working on my own projects since I was a teenager. At 17 years old I was already performing chemistry experiments in my parent basement which owed me some kind of mad scientist reputation at University later, not always for the best but I always Aced all the lab sessions. In 2009 I launched my website ThePulsar to share the experiments I was working on. As of today, there are already more than 80 articles shared on the website so be sure to have a look!
The big breakthrough came in 2014 when my friend Geoffrey came with an idea of building a DIY Raman spectrometer. I had absolutely no idea what Raman spectroscopy was at that time but I immediately liked the idea to be able to characterize chemical components with a DIY spectrometer. To understand this, you have to imagine that amateur chemists do not have access to a lot of expensive apparatus and that we often struggle in trying to check if we synthesized the correct product or not. Looking from this side of the mirror, Raman spectroscopy was a bit like the Holy Grail for amateur chemists like us!
The start was difficult but later that year I was able to record the Raman spectrum of a PMMA fiber. This gave me faith in the project but I was far from realizing all the challenges that were still in front of me. To be honest, measuring the spectrum of a PMMA fiber is a relatively easy task. I had to wait November 2017 to successfully measure the Raman spectra of several solvents. I remember that the very first liquids I measured was ethyl acetate. The resolution was poor but all the peaks were there! I finally succeeded in doing Raman spectroscopy with nothing more than readily available components. That moment changed everything.
Years passed and I continued improving the system. I purchased tons of books on optics, studied hard and spend a lot of money to improve every bits of the system. Then in February 2019 I officially posted my first article on DIY Raman spectroscopy. All the important things were there: effect of the laser, design of the spectrometer, alignment and so on. In October 2019 I then officially launched the OpenRAMAN website to help people reproduce the results.
Since then I continued improving the spectrometer and performed experiments with it. After all these years I am still in love with chemistry and the idea of being able to actually see the constituent of molecules through a DIY spectrometer. I hope that more success will come in the following years!
If you would like to contact me, please use the dedicated page. I will be glad to answer you. I am currently looking for academic partners to help me spread the usage of the spectrometer, so if you are interested don’t hesitate to contact me.