Department of Engineering Sciences

Peter Sturesson: the officer who became a PhD


During five years Peter Sturesson has worked on his thesis “Sense Actuate and Survive – Ceramic Microsystems for High -Temperature Aerospace Applications” and the era as a PhD-student is soon over. On Friday the 21th of September he defended his thesis.

Peter Sturesson

Peter Sturesson has been studying engineering physics with materials science together with courses in for example business administration and engineering methodology in Uppsala.

Before that he studied to become an air force officer at the Military Academy in Östersund and a captain at the Military Academy in Halmstad. Before he returned to the Ångström laboratory he worked some years as an aeronautical engineer.

Can you very briefly tell us about your research?
– My research is about ceramic microsystems, mainly sensors but also actuators, which has to survive and operate in temperatures sometimes reaching over 1000 degrees Celsius. To succeed with that, you need to consider design, choice of material, physical principles and manufacturing methodology.

What does your research lead to?
– My research studies has three different application areas. The first one is about integrating wireless pressure sensors in a jet engine environment. The second one is about multifunctional instruments for carbon isotope analysis, aiming for identifying extraterrestrial lifeforms in organic material samples from Mars for example. The third area is a microthruster for satellites control, where we compared the effect of different types of gas heating in order to improve the fuel efficiency.

How was life as a PhD-student?
– It’s been exciting and sometimes difficult but also very informative and developing for me as a person. I gained knowledge, scientific skills and the understanding of how important it is to work in good teams.

Any advice for those who recently started their PhD-programme?
–Try to have a clear idea already from the beginning of what you want to do. Your everyday life is also important and you should have a life outside the University as well. Try to collaborate with other PhD-students. I appreciated doing that and it will be both for yourself and your colleagues you will fight those extra nights.

What are your plans now?
– I will study leadership, strategy and operational art at the Swedish Defence University. After that I will start working as a Scientific Advisor at the Air Force Development Department.

Do you want to add something?
– Before I started my PhD studies I asked an older man, who for a long time had a powerful position in the government administration, what he thought about my research project. And he said “In the end the subject per se is not so important, just make sure you pick a difficult one. That’s how you develop. Furthermore, other people will also recognize a difficult project when they see it”. So fare I don’t know if he was right, all I know is that my project was difficult and evolving and right now I’m happy to be able to contribute with new knowledge in the field.

Peter Sturesson defended his thesis on Friday the 21th of September at Ångström.

Anna Ciabuschi Eriksson