Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I learned during the last six weeks...

I learned what the following things are:
  • MUA (11-mercaptoundecanoic acid)
  • MBA (not a business degree)
  • EDC and NHS
  • functionalization
  • IgG
  • Surface plasmon resonance
  • nanohole arrays
  • purging
  • FTIR
  • ellipsometry
  • extraordinary optical transmission
  • self-assembled monolayer
  • thiol
  • parafilm
  • atomic force microscope
I learned how to:
  • make self-assembled MUA layers
  • do a purging
  • use a micro pipette
  • prepare piranha solution
  • clean chips with piranha solution
  • dry chips with a stream of nitrogen
  • work with an FTIR spectrometer
  • work with an ellipsometer
  • gown for the clean room

I am pretty sure I did not list everything, but still - it is a very impressive list!
RET rocks!

Monday, August 8, 2011

What we did last week: a lot of work!

2006 Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework So, it is almost over…I start feeling sad. I will miss you, RET…

Last week was very productive for our group. We prepared four sets of samples using different concentrations of thiol and different incubation times. Each set was analyzed using FTIR and ellipsometry. We finally felt ourselves comfortable with conducting FTIR measurements and analyzing obtained spectra. The obtained spectra confirmed the successful formation of SAMs on our gold substrates. I also spent about six hours on measuring thicknesses of the SAM layers with the ellipsometer and was fairly confident in the validity of my measurements. The thicknesses were still lower than those found in articles, but they were similar in magnitude to the measurements done by another member of the lab before us.

We also spent a good portion of time on working on our poster and PowerPoint presentation that had to combine all our results for the final presentation and poster sessions during the final week.

What are our plans for the final week? We will probably spend some time on polishing our final assignments and preparing our oral presentation. I wish we could do more measurements, but we do not have time enough to complete a new piece of research and add the new results to our presentations.

All in all, this program was tremendously effective for me in terms of learning about surface chemistry, photonics, and some important sides of scientific research. I would highly recommend participation in this program to anyone interested in how science is made.