Undergraduate Research Experiences

Archive for the ‘Research Rookies Round 2!’ Category

November, November, November!

(Poetic inspiration can occur at unexpected times. You have been warned!)

November, November, November is here!

What have we done so far this year?


On what, with what, and why you say?

A LSMO crystal, with a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), and too many reasons to just say.


Applications, applications, applications to tech.

Include LSMO as a coating for superconducting wires!


Revolutionize, revolutionize, revolutionize our world.

With improved energy delivery and storage, faster computers, and more.


This is off, this is off, this is off in future times as much work is needed to be done.

This is where I come in with my project, hopefully!


It feels, it feels, it feels too slow!

So much reported on LSMO by Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) but not by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE)!


Surface defects, surface defects, surface defects in the form of holes develop on the surface of LSMO!

Hole density depends on deposition temperature, and translates into superconducting YBCO by crystallographic strain.


None and some, none and some, none and some I say.

Fewer sources on LSMO studies focused on YBCO, and fabricated by MBE, makes contributions from my project more original!


I am, I am, I am trying hard to understand the theory, use the TEM, and analyse Dark Field images for good and impactful results.

Now, onto the peer leader part of my work.


Lunch, lunch, lunch at the Junction restaurant!

It was a big success, and I got updates about my mentee’s projects as well as concerns.


I forgot, I forgot, I forgot to take pictures!

Oh well, it is learned for next time.


Study, study, study session and pizza night.

The day shall be Nov. 22nd, time 6:00 PM, and pizza type is still to be determined!


I am being, I am being, I am being a good role model by trying to organize my time creepishly well.

I fabricated a schedule, for every minute of my day, allotted time for every activity needed and wanted, and am following through while providing schedule templates for my mentees.


Yes, yes, yes, there is much work to be done.

I will speak again soon about my progress made and more!


Second month. Keep moving!

Hello everyone, I am in the second month of my second Research Rookies!
Personally, I feel like I am moving a bit slow. I have been trying to reviewing articles about LSMO and YBCO Dark Field imaging, and the concepts related to superconductivity and electron microscopy. Several articles have been interesting but none quite what I wanted. For example, one article discussed an experiment on LSMO fabrication through Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) and temperature variation. Depending on the temperature of fabrication, the surface of the LSMO samples may form clusters. As the fabrication temperature increases, the clusters connect in such a way that uniform holes form throughout the surface. These surface structures may cause strain in YBCO layers, inducing potential pinning sites for vortices. Although this article discussed the surface structure of LSMO and potential effects on the YBCO layers, the method used for examining the specimens was atomic force microscopy and only briefly mentioned Dark Field images. I am focusing on Dark field imaging and samples fabricated by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE). I did filter my searches to focus only on my given topic but articles that mention and do not focus on my topic still end up in my search results. Time was not wasted, however. Although the articles are not precisely what I was looking for, they do contribute pieces of information to help me guess what I might find in our LSMO sample. I have started looking into some of the Dark Field images taken from our LSMO sample over the summer. I would like to take more images for analysis but the electron microscope needs some preparation first. I have been going down to the lab to get more experience with aligning the microscope and getting things ready, but I feel I am not spending enough time. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am comparing the time I spent on research over the summer, during the splendidly intensive and amusing Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), to now. What can I do? Keep moving forward and work hard!

As for the peer leader portion of my second Research Rookies experience, I tried several times this past month to set up an activity for my small group. I tried a movie night and free music concert at NIU and a study session. Unfortunately, turn out was low. Fortunately, however, at least one different person from my group was able to attend each activity. So, I did something with everyone just not at the same time. For the next activity, I will try to be a little more organized. I will send the time poll several weeks ahead and send out reminders every week till the activity day is done. I am thinking on either a lunch get together or a game night for the next activity. Hopefully things go according to plan.

This picture is from when I arranged the music concert activity. It, with only one member of my small group able to come, was not a total fail as we did get to hear some amazing performances.

Beginning round 2

It is great to be back in Research Rookies!
I get to continue to grow and get hands on in physics! This time, I will be combining my knowledge of superconductors and LSMO for my project. The focus is to continue to analyse the LSMO structure, this time using Dark Field imaging, with applications to YBCO superconductors. It is going to be a lot of work, but I cannot think of anything more fun or interesting! I have already gotten to work on my project. So far, I have read several articles on YBCO and LSMO as well as started reading some books on Dark Field imaging. Besides research, I have a new responsibility in Research Rookies.

I am a peer leader this time. I want to do my best to ensure the comfort and success of my fellow peers. Since this is my first time as an official peer mentor, I worry that I might not fulfill my duties adequately enough. This worry is mostly due me being a bit of a perfectionist. Regardless, I will due the best that I can!

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