Reading and Glass Slide Preparation Control Experiment

When I first found out that I would be doing physical chemistry research over the summer, I had no idea how much actual reading was involved. Out of the three weeks that I’ve been here, I would say that about 75% of the time I was scanning through stacks on stacks of articles and googling words that stumped me. This is not necessarily a negative thing because I have learned so much background information on my project that has given me a better appreciation of the nuances involved in photovoltaic research. However, if I have to read the words localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), quantum yield, radiative decay rate, or extinction spectra again anytime soon I might go crazy. The fact that we digest so much literature in the Wustholz lab is not because we have nothing important to do but because we currently only have 1 laser and confocal microscope to split between five students. Unlike regular organic and synthesis labs where multiple people can be doing separate tasks beneath their individual hoods, our lab’s main work involves using the laser for extended periods of time. Thus, if we aren’t on the “scope” then we are either working up data from scans or wading through the vast sea of research papers.

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And It Was All Yellow

Hello again!

Over the past few weeks I have spent most of my time familiarizing myself with different types of yellow dyes and pigments, learning about historic methods of paint making and sifting through the chemistry behind organic yellows.  I can safely say I will never look at the color yellow the same way again.  Despite the hours spent separating minute samples of these colorants, I find the engagement with color to be a fascinating and enriching process.  After a background survey to determine the yellows most likely to appear in 18th century colonial oil paintings, I set out to establish a sort of database of comparative SERS spectra from known reference yellows.

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