I have been learning Chinese for 6 months now, and I have really enjoyed improving my Chinese since I’ve been in Tempe. I have met a couple really nice Chinese students who have been very helpful and willing to help me. Initially, I foresaw myself spending all my spare time practicing Chinese, but another language began to vie for position. The language of Iran, Persian/Farsi. Two of my lab partner speak the language and it sounded nice to my ear. After that, I asked them to teach me a few words. They were so excited by how well I caught on, I could not get enough of it.
Learning languages, both Chinese and Persian; being able to talk to my Chinese and Persian friends in their native language has been one of the elements of my time in Tempe that has made it so enjoyable. I have been told by my Chinese friend, that I have a Chinese spirit over Indian food, and my Iranian friend told me I have Persian spirit as well. I look forward to discovering my other latent spirits.
A major part of the fun I have had is due to fellow REU students. Me and 3 other REU students went up to Sedona for July 4th week. We had a great time hiking, swimming, eating, and just hanging out. Being in Sedona was like being in another world. The energy there was so different. Everyone there had a common goal; explore and have a good time. I only met energetic and friendly people while I was there. That and the beautiful scenery made the trip amazing. The highlight had to be the sunset hike. I don’t have the pictures of it bc my battery was completely gone, but it was beautiful.
For July 4th, me and REU students also went to see fireworks. It was fun walking to Tempe Town lake, and seeing everyone fired up. July 4th in Tempe is like none other. Considering how many people typically leave Tempe in the summer, the streets were still full, and so was the sky.
The first batch of graphene oxide(GO) is complete, the lyophilization was a success. The first batch that has been completed used the Hoffman synthesis method. Close behind is the Staudenmaier method. Based on appearance the Hoffman samples look fine. However, we will not have a concrete analysis of the material until further characterization is done. First, is SEM. This will give us a size distribution of the GO sheets.
Apart from producing and characterizing GO, I have also done analysis on silver coated cellulose membrane. Measuring the surface charge and contact angles for varying silver concentration. I obtained data for 1mM and 6mM Ag coated cellulose membranes. Unfortunately, I accidentally damaged the 3 mM Ag coated cellulose membranes which rendered erratic results.
Next is running SEM for Hoffman GO, then lyophilizing the Staudenmaier GO.
Midway through last week featured the beginning of the next stage of cleaning the GO. The dialysis. Dialysis has begun for a few of the Hoffman samples, and by the middle of this week, the rest of the Hoffman samples will go through the process. Near the end of the week, dialysis for the Staudenmaier will begin. There is a lot of material for Staudenmaier, so I expect it to take a little more than a week, unless I obtain additional clamps to do more than one dialysis at a time. Also, after dialysis will come lyophilization (freeze drying).
Last week, I was instructed on how to measure contact angles, so once we coat our membranes with GO we can measure how hydrophilic or hydrophobic the membrane is.
During the course of a lot of working and reading, I found time to have a little fun. I played piano in the cafeteria. When I play piano I don’t mind people being around, it is only when they walk up to me and stand over my shoulder that I start to get nervous. I also went to the pool and hung out with some fellow REU students. In addition, I was fortunate to hang out with my mentors and fellow REU students again for a brown bag lunch. Finally, I played basketball. My knees and ankles feel like they went through more than a game of 21 though.
Thank you for reading, more updates coming so 🙂
I like this concept, of a “deciding factor”. It possesses similarities to “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Some may see it as a cop out or the inability to weigh all components objectively, thus relying on one component to make a decision. My view on it differs slightly. The brain or one’s judgement is much like any physical object. It is capable of having momentum. I am fairly certain everyone is familiar with “train of thought”. I think the phrase is fitting, seeing how each does not want to be derailed. Most people will strongly resist hindering their thoughts or the acquisition of knowledge, much like a train “resists” stopping easily. When accumulating information, your brain or judgement gains momentum. It might be important not to hinder this momentum and let it peak… that is the deciding factor.
Everyone on NEWT internships, allow yourselves to fully take in these experiences and the knowledge you’re gaining. Take advantage of every moment, and use it to delve a little deeper. I have a strange feeling if we all do this, that we will be even more effective at our positions, and gain even more insight into how to utilize the benefits of this great opportunity. When our brains are going at a full head of steam, who knows what breakthroughs will occur.
I want to say choo choo so bad, but even I know when to stop… no I don’t. All aboard? 😉
The first three days of this week really saw things pick up. Not in terms of quantity, but quality. So much so, it was difficult getting to this blog. As the laboratory tasks become more imperative, focus and patience becomes more important. The Graphene Oxide samples underwent the first stages of cleaning. I had to dispose of the supernatant and wash with HCl multiple times. This required a steady hand and a lot of waiting. However, your mind can never truly rest. I found these down times are perfect for recollection and planning your next actions efficiently. It was actually quite exciting for me to have time to sit and wait. The waiting periods gave me time to contemplate certain concepts and ideas to improve my proficiency.
Update: There are two types of Graphene Oxide(GO). Each used a different synthesis method. 4 days were required to allow the chlorine gas to evolve from the GO. The synthesis of GO included sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and potassium chlorate; therefore, in order to get the best GO, those substances needed to be removed. That is where the washing with HCl comes in. The HCl washing is complete. Now, I will continue cleaning with nanopure water until the supernatant has a pH matching with the nanopure water, indicating that the only substances present are nanopure water and GO.
I made it to Arizona! If you all were aware of the flying obstacles I had to endure, you would fully understand my enthusiasm. However, the consequent exhaustion was thwarted by the portraits of familiar faces, warm smiles, and a beautiful lab.
This past Monday was amazing. I had the opportunity to meet with my mentors/friends from last year, and received a tour of the lab I would be working in. It was a lot to take in, but the gentlemen I am working with are very helpful. They have also been very sociable. Doing their best to make me feel comfortable. I really appreciated that.
Yesterday, I began prepping the equipment that will be in use today for the phase of preparing graphene oxide. The lab has produced graphene oxide before, but we’re going to produce a much larger quantity this time, so I am really excited.
My main objective is to produce graphene oxide and treat it. However, I am interested in a multidisciplinary role. I’ve already begun to barrage the biologist in our group with questions. I really want to understand the full scope of the project.
So things have gotten off to a moderate pace, but towards the end of the week our lab will have graphene oxide samples ready! Then the treatment will begin, and then the testing. After that, we’ll analyze the results to see if our hypothesis is correct.
Also, for all the readers out there, don’t worry, Arizona life blogs are coming too. 🙂
To be continued,
Despite spending a summer in Arizona before for a research opportunity related to mathematical biology, I find myself just as excited. I am excited for new experiences, learning, and the soothing heat. I will be working in a lab with two seasoned mentors in the field of water treatment and desalination. Materials are a fascinating subject and I was a little surprised at the amount of attention materials get in this field. My days leading up to departing for Arizona consist of reading research papers relevant to the work I will be doing. Also, watching the French Open and enjoying friends and family. This being my second time in Arizona though, I am starting to feel as if it is a second home. I look forward to exciting work, getting to know people I’ve met previously better, and meeting new people as well. It is my goal to make the most of my experience. Please follow me as I continue to update the public on the research that is being conducted. In addition to the research, I will also give a glimpse into Arizona life as I acclimate myself further with the wonderful region and Arizona State University.