Conclusion of the Summer and Looking towards the School Year

Sorry this is so late! Some personal things came up in the last week of research. But better late than never! 🙂

So my research is over for the summer! I’m equal parts disappointed and excited – disappointed because this has been a really fun summer and I’ve learned a lot and excited because… well… I don’t have to get up at 8 for the next couple of weeks. Sleep is nice!

As you know if you’ve read my previous blog posts, I entered this summer with a list of things I wanted to accomplish:

  • Good colloids
  • Good reference spectra of organic reds
  • Identification of Peale samples

Well… some of this list was accomplished and a lot of my unofficial list was completed too!

We came full circle on our colloid synthesis when it comes to cleaning our glassware and we’ve made minor adjustments to our procedure to where we were getting decent colloids the last week of research. We will just have to see if these good results are reproducible. I was able to get good reference spectra of many organic reds when the colloids were good, so that’s done. Hooray!

I finally understand all the parts that goes into our scope set up. What all the different pieces do, why they are important, how they all work together, questions like these. I look forward to teaching our new members all I know. I also understand SERS and Raman Scattering better than I did at the beginning of the summer.

I’ve become more confident with art samples on the scope and while I haven’t been able to identify my Peale samples yet I have been able to identify the pigments used in a Thomas Jefferson Wright painting and applied our technique to a thread sample to identify the dye.

Looking to the school year, I’m going to continue to look at Peale paintings, look to the literature for information on mordents for the thread samples, and apply to grad schools. Wish me luck!