Undergraduate Research Experiences

Archive for July, 2013

Week 6 of SROP

My project is still going good so far. I have been able to work the Transmission Electron Microscope(TEM) without much difficulty and collected diffraction patterns from a gold sample. I am currently analyzing the diffraction patterns from the LSMO and gold samples. I am compiling possible explanations for some of the pattern characteristics, such as halos and extra spots, in the LSMO. Comparing the LSMO patterns to the gold patterns, which seems to be amorphous, can give clues about some of the LSMO pattern characteristics. So far, some of the explanations that are related to what I have observed are superlattice reflections, reflections from defects, and crystalline-amorphous transition. I will continue to look for possible explanations and index the LSMO pattern.

The Field Museum trip was fantastic! It was a nice break from research. However, there was still a lot of relevant information in the museum. The Bio-Luminescence exhibit showed a lot of diagrams on diffraction and reflection of light, which are important concepts in my project. All of the other exhibits where very interesting as well. I made sure to take lots of pictures to remember this great excursion! S30A0059S30A0056


Week 5

I am now beginning week 5 of SROP and so far things are going well. On Tuesday of last week I went to Argonne National Laboratory with my mentor to help with/observe the sample fabrication process. The process was different from what I observed in my last project dealing with superconductors. Even the appearance of the machines were different even though they were categorized under the same group. The fabrication took the entire day but it is progressing. I am already observing/analyzing some diffraction patterns and will be, hopefully, taking more patterns to verify what we have now. So far, still on track!

My relationship with my current mentor is a bit different from my last mentor relationship. It is still comfortable to handle but there are differences. My last mentor relationship was more friend-like, with respect. In fact, I recently joined my previous mentor for lunch to catch up. My current mentor, although I feel awkward to say it, seems more father-like.

It is good that I am still on track. The Lorado Taft retreat was a somewhat interesting break from my work. However, I still tried to work while on the retreat. It was not very successful with no internet and few power outlets, which everyone was in line for. The thing I disliked most about the retreat was the bugs! I still have bites that I am treating as my repellent was not effective enough. The good thing, however, was being able to interact more with the individuals in the other research groups. I got to learn more about what they were doing and how it was different from my work. Strangely, even though their work was different, it could still be connected to my own work in some way. I will keep this in mind for future collaborations.

SROP Week 3

Week 3 is now at an end. It has certainly been exciting! On Wednesday, I and my fellow SROP members took a field trip to Fermilab! We learned a lot about Fermilab’s history, culture, and work. Some of the structures within Fermilab, such as the entrance arc, are a result of an artist’s inspiration with an emphasis on saving money! Fermilab is open to the public by allowing tours of the facility, fishing, biking, ect. The main work done at Fermilab deals with particle accelerators and colliding particles at a velocity near the speed of light. As interesting as the field trip was, it was not the only thing I did this past week.

I learned a bit about writing logs in the laboratory journal. My mentor showed me how to read important instruments such as the vacuum pump and what data to record such as pressure in units of pascals. I have also been doing more literature work and exercises. I have been reading textbooks on materials and mathematics to learn important concepts related to perovskite structure crystals and Fourier series and transforms for optics. It has been a bit challenging since the mentioned material is advanced for my current background. However, I thoroughly enjoy a challenge and am confident that I will be successful!

I cannot wait to see what the new week has in store for me. I am sure it will be fun!

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