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2006 SPS National Interns
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Bill Zinicola
Bill Zinicola
University of North Carolina - Wilmington, NC

Internship: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Online Journal
Week of December 11, 2006: AGU Fall Meeting
Week of August 4, 2006 Week of July 14, 2006 Week of June 23, 2006
Week of July 28, 2006 Week of July 7, 2006 Week of June 16, 2006
Week of July 21, 2006 Week of June 30, 2006 Week of June 9, 2006
 
Where are they now? July 23, 2010

After my internship in 2006, I went on to a receive a master's in physics from NC State University. Upon graduating I earned my commission through the Navy's NUPOC program and I am currently stationed in Charleston, SC as a Nuclear Power School Instructor.

Here we train the future of our nuclear navy on the inner workings of nuclear propulsion. Training them to perform there duties out in the fleet. I will be at this command for the next four years after which I will have the option of returning to civilian life or transferring to another community within the Navy.

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Week of December 11, 2006: AGU Fall Meeting

Thirty seven thousand feet up and moving around five miles a minute is an interesting way to start a day, especially if it started on a sandy shore of the Atlantic and ends on the rocky coastline of the northern pacific. I had purchased a window seat, which just so happened to be bolted to the floorboard in the 12th row of a jet airliner headed for San Francisco. I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to attend the 2006 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. I was not just a spectator, but was also presenting a poster on my summer research experiences as an SPS Intern with the detection of low energy neutral atoms. I knew we must be getting close as I looked out the window at the snowy caps of the Rocky Mountains. My camera clicked franticly to capture the bird s eye view and a taunt seat belt strap was the only thing keeping me in my seat.

I arrived in San Francisco around lunch time and had the whole day to get my bearings and do a little sightseeing. After checking in and grabbing a late lunch, I headed down, then up, then back down, then up again, and then finally back down to the bay area to take some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, relax in the park, and go over some information for my poster presentation tomorrow afternoon. If I only learn one thing from this trip, it is that San Francisco gives you one heck of a great leg workout. Eight o clock came fast and I was shot especially since it was really eleven to me, which was great because I had a big day tomorrow starting at five o clock in the morning.

The front desk rang, and I jumped out of bed, got dressed and was at the Moscone West building to register at 6:45. Everyone, regardless of question and answer time, had to have their poster up by 8 o clock for maximum viewing opportunity. NOW, I was nervous. As I am setting up my poster I am realizing that most of the presenters are not freshly graduated undergrads, but established researchers and graduate students from either research facilities or universities. Either way I was just excited that the Society of Physics Students and the American Institute of Physics offered to fund my trip and grant me the opportunity to partake in a convention of such magnitude. There were about 14 thousand people registered to attend this conference and the real buzz on the poster floor was that former Vice-President Al Gore was to give a talk Thursday on Climate Change: the role of science and the media in policy making . When I heard that Al Gore was attending, the gravity of this conference truly hit me.

I spent the morning hours examining the posters, conversing with the researchers, and of course drinking coffee. It seems to me that the norm amongst scientists is not just to drink coffee, but to consume mass amounts of this precious liquid. You might as well call it the fuel in which the scientific world runs on. The conference spans five days, Monday to Friday and is broadly broken in different fields of research each taken place on a different day. I was on Monday along with all the other Space physics research. This was great because Space physics is an interest of mine and a possible graduate research direction. So as I walked up and down the isles of posters I got to see an immense amount of research that is being performed in this field of study, talk to the researchers, and make note of the research facility and or university in which they were being performed at. In a sense I was, very loosely speaking, graduate school and graduate thesis shopping, if you will. It was amazing to see some of the research ideas that were being carried out such as the magnetic detection of roadside pollutants and remote controlled mini submersibles to explore underneath polar ice caps.

The time quickly came for me to stand by my research and entertain any questions that one may have. My poster had the same flow as my final presentation and was practically the same thing with just two slides added. One was of the history and specifics of the LENA detector and the other slide was just a quick overview of how the XPS works with a few graphs of our data collected from it. The main point of my presentation here at the conference is as follows. This is NOT MY research and I must be very careful in emphasizing that. There were many scientists here who are actually deeply involved in this exact project and many more who are well aware of this research so I must clearly state that I was a SPS summer intern working on a small part of this research and that this poster is what my summer job entailed. This was imperative for not to offend anyone and step on any toes. I gave my little speech to anyone that was interested and there were many who were interested. The most common questions were, why are we doing this? what were some of the problems I ran into? and where do they stand now since I have left? The first two were easy to answer and the last one I could give a rough estimate to since Dr. Coplan and I have been exchanging emails keeping me up to date. It felt amazing to present research that I have worked on and have people of their status interested and engaging in conversation with me and even exchanging ideas on further directions of research. This experience just reassured me that I actually am pursuing my life s ambitions. By the time the day was over it was passed 7 o clock and I was spent. It was a long, yet an unbelievable experience.

Day two, AKA Tuesday, was a day of relaxation. I was done with my active participation in the conference and was now just a spectator. I woke up early and snagged a bagel and, believe it or not, a cup of coffee from this little bagel shop atop one of the many hills of San Francisco that over looked the bay and skimmed through the AGU directory for interesting poster presentations. I hopped the shuttle from the hotel to Moscone and grabbed a cup of free coffee that they had out before I went inside. On the top floor many universities had booths set up and I had the opportunity to talk to the head of graduate admissions at The University of Virginia, The University of New Hampshire, and The University of Wisconsin about the possibility of pursuing graduate studies and possible research directions in geophysics. This is something that I would have never been able to do in an hour an a half anywhere else. After which, I spent the day roaming the floors and the seeming endless amount of poster presentations, though Tuesday s topics were different then yesterday and not really related to space physics it was still extremely interesting none the less. I left early afternoon to get ready for my red eye flight to Denver early Wednesday morning which will connect to Wilmington.

I was upset that I was not going to be there for Al Gore s talk but the chance of me actually getting tickets amongst a crowd of 14 thousand people was, well, would actually be the number tickets available over the number of people trying to attend; assuming all fairness in ticket sales and what not. But I was out here spending other people s money so I did not want to be greedy and stay too long.

My flight home was not as exciting as the one out there, but I was looking forward to arriving in Wilmington and just relaxing for a day. I did a large amount of running around out there and travel really wears me out. I had two connections to get home which made the trip home much longer than the one out there but I finally got on a plane that was suppose to be landing in Wilmington. Well at least it was suppose to be landing in Wilmington but as we flew over, the airport was completely fogged out. It was so bad that the ground was looking no different than the ocean except for a faint hint of light in some spots but not enough to make out our position to land. So we were forced to reroute to Myrtle Beach.

The only thing left to say was, Well it s better then Raleigh, at least it s closer . So we landed there no problems and the airline was in the process of organizing transport to Wilmington but they were taking forever and having many problems getting buses on such sort notice. So this guy named Trey, and I split a rental car and drove the hour or so back home; a crazy end to an amazing trip and a wonderful learning experience. I walked in my door just past midnight, a long, long day of travel. If I would had boarded a boat I would have taken every means of transportation possible in one day to get across the country. I hailed a cab to the train station, then caught a train from San Francisco to Oakland airport, hopped a shuttle bus to the terminal, boarded three different planes, and then finally purchased a rental car to drive home. It was a scene right out of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

I would like to thank Liz Caron and SPS Director Gary White, and all of the AIP staff for presenting me with the opportunity to take this amazing trip to one of the largest scientific conferences in the world. I highly recommend that they keep trying to fund trips like this for as many summer interns as possible. It is an unbelievable learning experience. THANK YOU!

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Week of August 4, 2006

I packed up all my things, my books, disheveled papers, an all my clothes. Erased all the stray thoughts and started math problems I have scribbled on my desk in these last two months. Said goodbye to all my fellow friends,the interns, through big hugs and firm hand shakes. Hopped in my car and drove away. Leaving DC, for what will probably be a really long time. As I got out of the madness and bumper to bumper traffic of the city an on to the open interstate I pushed my seat back, hung my arm out the window, and sighed. A sigh of accomplishment, but also, a sigh of sadness. I have learned a lot this summer, not only about physics and research but about myself and just about life in general. I met and lived with people from places that I may never visit and have had conversations with people that I would not have thought I would have been able to talk to. This whole experience was unbelievable an unforgettable.

Working for NASA was a dream of mine since I could remember, and finally it came true. An accomplishment that I will hang on my wall for the rest of my life, but that is not what was running through my head as I drove away, one mile a minute further. Further from my friends, from my little DC life that I had formed and started to love. It is interesting to watch 11 complete strangers live together day after day for two months. To watch 11 individuals going off in their own directions, slowly coming together and merging lives to point in the same. That is what has happened to the 11 of us. I can remember day one, move in day, I couldn't get far enough away from everyone. Not in a mean way, but just as you are on the Metro with complete strangers. As the days gone by you would look forward to coming home after a long day of work and talking to everyone, eating dinner together or just hanging out relaxing. By the end we were all just a big family, relying on each other, being there for each other, and most of all having fun with each other.

When I finally arrived at my apartment in Wilmington North Carolina, strung out from the drive, I was excited to see my long lost roommates, but I wished deep down inside that as I walked toward the door the numbers would say 704 Munson hall and when I open it, Andy would be inside making dinner or playing the guitar. I was waiting for the big, "Hey Bill, so good to see you!" the greeting I would get everyday. I would toss my book bag onto my bed and head down the hall to see who else was home. Wow, I will really miss everyone of the interns and all the staff at the AIP that made this experience possible. It was truly an unforgettable experience that I would recommend, no, insist that any other SPS member partake in. It has laid the foundation for the rest of my physics career and something that I will always look back on with a smile. For all those that made it happen and for all those that have followed us through it all by means of the journals, I thank you.

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Week of July 28, 2006

Today is my last official day of work here in the Computer Space and Science building at the University of Maryland. It is a sad day for me because I have to let them finish all the work that I have been doing this Summer. I feel as though I have slacked off and am leaving them with so much to get done, but I know that is not true. My work here has be very beneficial to the program's progression forward. In brief, the results of all my work and data.

First, I have found a facility to make clean and reliable samples, The Nano-Science department here on campus. They are responsible for the fabrication of all the samples that I have been using throughout this internship.

Secondly, I have played around with the usefulness of the XPS machine. The XPS is quick and easy to give useful surface composition analysis, but to go get reliable work function values it really takes many low energy surface scans of the same sample, plus a really good knowledge of the apparatus and a keen sense of how to analyze the results. So in short it really takes an XPS professional to collect the work function values for us. That fact has slowed down the collection of work function data a lot.
Also, from analyzing my XPS data I have found that heating the samples between 100-130 degrees Celsius for about 5-10 mins really eliminates 100% of the surface contaminates. This is extremely beneficial to us because that means that we really do not have to keep these simple surfaces (Ag,Au,&Pt) in controlled environments. So we know that contamination is inevitable but the data shows that all we need to do is heat the sample prior to inserting it into the neutral atom beam an it will remove all of the contaminates. With this knowledge we have installed a heating coil to the back of the sample holder so while it is in the neutral atom detector we can have the ability to heat it under UHV.

Finally, I have obtained a few samples of intercalated graphite from Dr. Jack Fischer of the Univ. of Pa, and have met with him personally to discuss the feasibility of using this form of graphite as a possible conversion surface. This idea has really snowballed and we will still be investigating all the possibilities that may arise if one were to go in that direction.

Most importantly, I would like touch on the BIG picture for once, because that is really what matters. The question is, "Why do we want to detect neutral atoms to begin with?"

First off, neutral atoms are most likely born from the positive ions in a plasma. Since neutral atoms are "invisible" to the E&M fields that these plasmas are embedded in they travel outwards in straight lines. So at the instant that the positive ion is converted to a neutral that neutral travels off tangent to the helixal path that the positive ion was traveling in. Since these neutrals are "invisible" to these E&M fields, an are traveling outward in straight lines it allows us to step back and detect them from a greater distance. This remote detection allows us to get a macroscopic view of the plasma in which we are interested.

So one might ask, "How does detecting these neutrals far away from the plasma of interest, give any information about the plasma or the positive ions which make it up?" Well, the conversion of positives to neutrals preserve the characteristics of the parent positive ion. Therefore by detecting the neutral one can go back and relate the neutral's energy, direction, and mass directly to the positive ion from which it came. With this one can make assumptions about the general composition, energy range and mass range of this plasma.

For instance, If we were studying Earth's Magnetosphere by the means of neutral atom detection, which is exactly what the IMAGE satellite is attempting to do, we would be able to tell a lot more about it than with direct ion detection. This ability to step back and remotely detect neutrals allows us to see how large portions of the Magnetosphere vary and change in response to space weather interactions such as large CME's an other solar phenomena. This is different than the traditional way of detecting ions. Since ions are interactive with E&M fields they are easier to detect but one must now dive into the plasma to collect the data, therefore collecting from a smaller pool and there by only getting to see what is around itself and never the bigger picture. Direct detection of ions is analogous to being in an extremely large and extremely overcrowded room. If you were stuck somewhere in this room, you would only be able to see what is going on with in a few people radius of yourself and therefore never see what the group is doing as a whole. Here detecting neutrals is like being up in the balcony watching everything from a distance. It is a big difference.

Right now these low energy neutral atom (LENA) detectors have extremely low efficiencies, about 0.1%. This means that they must be made bigger, therefore heavier, therefore more expensive. And that is never good for space exploration. So in the end our goal and my task for the summer is to find a conversion surface that when the neutrals enter our detector will rub up against and pick up an electron therefore changing them into negative ions which can be easily detected and analyzed. So we are starting simple with silver, gold, and platinum just to get our feet wet and see if we can find a relationship between the work function of the surface and the conversion efficiency. If we can do that we would be able to have some insight into picking a better surface for our needs. These surfaces might be found in the realm of intercalated graphite since there surface properties can be altered by inserting different elements in between the graphite layers. But the problem is these samples are extremely sensitive to contamination and once contaminated they are destroyed so we must have ways of controlling the environment around them and have the ability of transporting them as well.

With this problem and all of my results from my data above, I leave my group to handle and accomplish on there own. A sad day for me but, hey you never know maybe I can come back next summer and help out again, or maybe even better I can go to graduate school here and continue my research...

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Week of July 21, 2006

This week started off with the NIST tour, which by the way, they don't let you sample the peanut butter. NIST was really interesting. I went up there early in the morning with Andy and followed him around before all the others got there for the tour so I sort of went on the tour already. All the research our interns are doing there is really crazy, but I followed most of the things they were talking about. I was amazed because my research was very similar to most of there stuff. We had the privilege to meet with a lot of the NIST researchers in the semi-conductor division and some of the stuff they are doing is unbelievable. They are making circuits so small and so complex that they have reached the physical limitations of the materials most commonly used. So the new wave of semi-conductor research is moving toward alternative materials to decrease size and still maintain stability.

As for my research this week, things are coming to a close. I met with Dr. Coplan to touch base on my last two weeks and we have come up with two ways that I can go to finish up my research here. One way to go was to test the contamination ability of the silver and gold samples just to see how "clean" they stay when kept in "normal" air. This is important for us right now because we keep the samples that I have made in "normal" conditions, and by that I mean they are kept in little plastic jars in my desk drawer. This requires extended use of the XPS which I just recently found out is not possible, due to time conflicts with the XPS operator, so the contamination study was crossed off. So Dr. Coplan and I have switched my gears towards calibrating the heating coil for which we will use to heat the sample while in the LENA detector,(low energy neutral atom detector). We will heat them up to about 100-130 degrees celsius for two reasons. One is because my research has shown that with the samples that I had made at the nano-science lab, it takes about 5 minutes of heating within the above temperature range to remove the common contaminates oxygen and carbon and restore the surface to 100% metal. The second reason is to give the electrons on the surface a little more energy therefore hopefully increasing the conversion efficiency.

So for the remainder of the week I wired up the coil to a extremely large DC power supply and was running tests to figure out the temperature verses current ratio. The specs of the coil were stated at max temperature being 1800 degrees C at 37 amps...which for anyone who doesn't know, that is a lot of amps, hence the big power supply. So now I am confronted with two ways of taking the temperature, one is the temperature of the surface of the coil and the other is the temperature of the air a small distance above the coil. I ran tests of both ways many of times and got very good results. The equation I have come up with for the temperature of the coil at a given amperage gave me
at temperature of about 1700 degrees at max amperage of 37 so that is pretty good, I think. Now that was just for the temperature on the surface. My other equation for the air temperature came out well too but predicts, I think about 900-1000 degrees at max amperage, much less. Now one must also realize that this coil will be operating in UHV so the temperature dissipation through the air will not be so prevalent. Therefore the temperature just above the coil in UHV will be much less than the temperature I have measured at 1 atmosphere of air. So in the end we might have to run this coil at about30-37 amps just to be certain. We have place an order for a small temperature gauge that is basically a wire that through all this electric measurements gives you the temperature without the use of a bulky thermometer, so I will be waiting for that to come in next week to test it in the LENA detector under UHV.

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Week of July 14, 2006
This week was full of computer trial and error. Dr. Varughese is on vacation until the end of the summer and I still have to use the XPS to analyze my samples. So I got in touch with someone else who is certified to "run" the XPS. Together, we successfully transferred my sample from the loading chamber to the main chamber where it is safe to run the survey on it. That was the easy part. Now we are confronted with the XPS computer program that controls the analyzing process. Once you grasp the program it is rather easy to understand and navigate through but at first the format can be quite confusing. It is not command driven at all, which is nice, it just requires filling in all the appropriate boxes with the desired information and hitting start run. So after a little while of beating the program over and over again we finally got it to run a survey of my sample. Nice! Now all my problems are solved, right? Not really.

My next challenge was to analyze my data using the XPS program's processing window. This involves subtracting out the background noise, finding the contamination peaks, calibrating the spectrum, and converting the graphs into usable data points that we can plug into our graphing programs to calculate work functions. This hurtle took me about 2 days but I finally figured out how to do it and I finally got all but the work functions calculated. That is for Monday morning.

Friday was spent, for the most part, at Goddard. I met with Jeff and we went over who we are going to run the group tour of the lab and other buildings. It was really cool to see that stuff that he is working on over there because it is very similar to what we are doing over at UMD so I can relate and we can easily talk about it without much miscommunication. He is in the process of perfecting the neutral atom beam so it will be completely understood when they insert one of my samples to test its conversion efficiency. Monday is the tour of NIST, and I am very excited. I have never been there before. I heard they have NIST peanut butter. If that is the national standard for peanut butter...I would like to try some.

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Week of July 7, 2006

This week is a short one because of the 4th of July falling on a Tuesday. Monday I was in the XPS all day running samples and calculating the work functions of my silver and gold samples. It is important for us to know how the work functions change with contamination so this process requires me to run the XPS machine many of times which can be quite time consuming.

Tuesday was nice not only because we had the day off but that it was 4th of July and we were in the nations's capital. I was excited for the fireworks because I figured that they would be the best ones I have ever seen, since this is the nation's capital and all. Jackie, Andy, and myself all went up to the roof of our dorm and watch them from there. It was nice because we did not have to fight the crowds all the way down there and then all the way back up. The fireworks were awesome. It was a double treat because there was a storm off in the distance and the big thunder clouds were producing large lightening bolts along side the fireworks. So it was a great show to watch.

The rest of the week I was running around analyzing the data and trying to calculate how long it will take for a mono-layer of oxygen to form on our samples. This is so we know how long to expose our intercalated graphite samples to the oxygen gas when we have it in the XPS. With the intercalated graphite samples we must be extremely careful what environment they are in. Right now they are in ultra high vacuum but when we are going to use them they we be transferred from a glove box to the XPS and then to our neutral atom beam so we must know how easily these samples will contaminate. This Friday I went home for the first time in a very long time. It was nice to see all my friends back in Jersey, some of which I haven't seen in about 4 years. It was also my mother's birthday, which prompted the whole drive home idea, so that was fun as well. She was very surprised.

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Week of June 30, 2006

This week is the ending of the first month here in DC and I am starting to get a little nervous. We only have one month left and I still have a lot to get done to meet my expectations when I first started.

This week at work, I was in the lab with Dr. Varughese running the XPS machine. I was analyzing my 3 samples that I have made the previous week. We were looking at their surface composition and their approximate work functions. That took about 2 1/2 days to fully run all of the test on all 3 of the samples, but after that Dr. Varughese emails me all the data and I must go through all the graphs and numbers and extract the surface compositions and how they changed with the heating and ion etching that we performed on them while they were in the XPS in an attempt to bring the surface contamination down to zero. These samples where made in the nano-science department in their clean room under a highly controlled environment so the surface compositions of these samples were about 90% the desired metal plus the other 10% was the expected carbon and oxygen. The carbon and oxygen was easily removed with a little heating so my samples in the end where 100% clean.

Thursday morning I got a phone call from John Keller, over at Goddard, saying that they needed me to make more of the samples that I had made for them last week. He asked me when I could have them made and he said ASAP would be the best for them since they are "borrowing" this kelvin probe from somewhere else and would like to run more of my samples through it. So I had to run over to the nano-science and hope that they weren't packed with other people so I could get these samples made. I bumped into Dr. Tom Loughran, the professor who runs the clean room, and he said it would be no problem for him to squeeze me in and we would have them done by Friday morning...so I lucked out really. So Friday morning a couple of Scientist from Goddard stopped by to see our lab over here on the UMD campus and to pick up the samples that I made for them. They really appreciated the speedy service and thanked me for my efforts, since it took me about a week or so to get the 3 samples I made the previous week done. The rest of the day was spend graphing the data and finding the work functions of the samples. Andy, my roommate, has two of his friends in town, plus his fiance so this weekend should be a lot of fun since we will be out and about running all over town doing a little sightseeing with them and perhaps a little "relaxing" as well.

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Week of June 23, 2006

This week was a relaxing week because I really didn't have much to do. I got my 3 samples done on Friday and the lab wasn't free until Monday, this coming Monday, 6/26. So I really didn't have much to do. I made a couple phone calls to make sure that everything was still on for Monday but that was about it. This coming week is going to be pretty hard because I am learning how to run the XPS by myself and this machine is a $450,000 machine so I am a little nervous and I can tell Dr. Varughese is a little nervous as well.

This weekend was awesome. A lot of us went on a 12 mile hike up in the mountains of Virginia. It was a really good time. We hiked for about 5 hours to the top and hung out there for about an hour and then as soon as we started to hike back down, the heaven opened up and it poured hard the whole way down. Everyone was completely soaked it was great. Alex almost dead. A tree some how started to fall and Alex just happened to be right in its path. Luckily he saw a big rock and hide behind it just as the tree hit the ground and part of it was held up by the rock saving Alex from being crushed by it lucky him...but it was awesome to see...I mean after we saw that Alex was okay. We were supposed to spend the night out there but it was raining too hard to really stay that night and actually have a good time, so we all left, which I think was a good idea because we were all soaked and everything we were carrying was soaked as well. When we got home I slept like a baby...it was a good time.

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Week of June 16, 2006

Monday, I had an appointment with Dr. Varughese in the XPS lab (x-ray photoelectron spectrometer lab). I had the silver sample that I made the first day of work so that is what we looked at. We used this machine to find out what was the exact composition of my sample. Well, not deep down into the sample but just on the surface. My sample at first was about 50% silver, 30% carbon, and 20% oxygen but after 15 minutes of ion etching we got the silver up to 70% and the carbon and oxygen down to 20% and 10% respectively. We are also using the XPS to give us a rough estimate of the work function of the silver sample by having the machine scan the ejected photoelectrons for the ones that are in the 1 to 10 eV range.

The XPS counts the number of photoelectrons emitted and plots intensity verses the number of photoelectrons with a given eV. We take the biggest peak and find the midpoint between the peak and the start of the peak and the X coordinate is the rough estimate of the work function. We will use this information as a comparison between the 3 samples that I will be making.

The rest of the week I spent making phone calls and setting up time where I could make the other 2 samples. I talked to Dr. Loughran, over in the nanoscience department, and he said it would be no problem for him and I to make the sample in his clean room because he has an E-beam to evaporate the platinum. So Friday I spent all day getting my 3 samples and next week I will be using the XPS again to analyze those as well.

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Week of June 9, 2006
First day:
My first day in DC was a little hectic. I drove 6 hours from Wilmington NC up to DC so I was a little spaced out from the road and then everyone is eager to meet each other so it was like first day freshman year all over again, but once I got all of my things settled in I was doing okay.

First day at work:
I couldn't have be placed into a better internship. My advisor, Dr. Coplan, a professor of chemical physics at the University of Maryland had everything ready for me when I showed up. My job this summer is pretty straight forward, with a beginning, a middle, an a end. So I lucked out usually interns walk into the middle of an experiment and leave before they see the effects of their work but I we be there for the whole thing. My job is pretty simple I must deposit 3 different metals Ag,Au, and Pt onto silicon substrates and then find the work function of each and then place them into Dr. Coplan's neutral atom detector and measure the conversion efficiency that the metal has to convert the neutral atoms into negative ions. Sounds straight forward and simple but I have already run into some snags with getting the 3 samples. I must run around campus making phone calls and sending emails to different facilities on UMD to see if they will train me so I can make the samples and then I have to set up a time in the XPS lab over in the chemistry building with Dr. Varughese so we can measure the work function of each. Some of the equipment so down so I couldn't get my samples done this week but once I get the ball rolling it will only take me a day to get all three...hopefully. So next week will be a big week for me...like I said...hopefully. So we will see what happens.

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