It is hard to believe that tomorrow will mark the midpoint of the summer RET experience. Time flies when you are having fun!
I spent the morning at home today, combining video clips I had made about the experience into a single movie. I hope it gives a little feel to the research we are doing and what it is like to be an engineer. Sadly, my direction and editing doesn't do it justice: research is exciting.
Today was also special because my family came in to visit the Photonics center. Here is a picture of me with my son in our lab. It's never too early to start training the next generation!
In terms of our experiments, we have been gathering a lot of data, but it has been... inconclusive. Our monolayer thicknesses are low, but close to what is expected. Our FTIR analysis shows the peaks we are looking for, but not with the magnitudes we expect.
So what do we do?
Solving problems like this is where an engineer earns her or his salary.
We have decided to take a dual pronged approach. We are going to move forward with some of the chips that we have made and add the final layer. We can then test with the ellipsometer and FTIR to get an idea of how the bonding went. It MAY be that we have sufficient covering of the chip (despite our mediocre results). While doing this, we will also be testing different thiol solution concentrations. The thought being that if we soak the chips in a high molarity solution, we might get better bonding on the gold surface (and thus a better gold monolayer). We should have some preliminary results as soon as tomorrow and from there, we will analyze the data and make decisions about future experiments.