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.