When I started my PhD work at the Institute for Biophysics and X-ray Structure Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in the year 1991, it was quite a huge leap for me.
Coming from electronic engineering, with a focus on biomedical engineering, I knew really nothing about Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS). The title of my work was 'Development of Optical Systems for new Detection Methods in Diffuse X-ray Diffraction'. Starting this work I found the detection system rather inaccurate and unstable. However, it turned out that not the position-sensitive detector (of type MBraun) was to blame, but the read-out electronics. Consequently a better read-out system had to be developed. This was also the start for my commercial career.
Working as a student of Prof. Peter Laggner, who was student of Prof. Otto Kratky, I had the unique opportunity to become acquainted with all the famous SAXS experts, geniuses and also nobel price winners around the world. Maybe you need to consider, that trying a search on 'SAXS' at that time, resulted in a handfull hits and all SAXS researchers worldwide were more a family than a community.
Together with my friend and business partner Werner Leingartner we established HECUS company, which was specialized on electronics. As the word 'HECUS' had been created randomly we had to search for an explanation for our customers, but only told the meaning on request: 'High-End Computer Utility Systems'. This made partially sense as we have developed the first data-acquisition system for position sensitive detector on a single PC-interface card. The so called 'ASA'-board was controlled by a software running under Microsoft Windows 3.x, which was rather unique at that time. As our company had grown we merged and became 'HECUS M.BRAUN-GRAZ X-RAY SYSTEMS GmbH'. This was also the time for me to leave and look for new challenges.
In the year 2003 my friend Werner Leingartner died of cancer at the age of 42. This emotional shock and subsequent 'storms' resulted in a reincarnation named Photron-X.