Week 3: From MATLAB to Modeling; from Home to DC

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Friday, June 21, 2013


Alexandra Day

The big highlight of my third week as an SPS intern was moving into one of the dorms at GW with all of the other interns. It’s so neat to be in DC! The Lincoln Memorial is right down the street, and we’re close to the metro. I’ve really enjoyed adapting to the pace of city life, and I’m thrilled that I can experience DC with the other interns.

This week at NIST I worked some more with the MATLAB program I’d been using and gained some valuable tips about basic programming from one of the scientists in my group. Everyone has been so nice and supportive, and it’s helpful to have somewhere to turn when I need advice. I’m going to be looking for evidence of quantum effects in the data, and although it’s too early to say whether or not I’ve seen any for sure, there are some interesting artifacts.

In the middle of the week I moved on from MATLAB to mathematical models to get a better intuitive understanding of the experiment and its results. I had a basic understanding of how MOSFETs work from my background reading during the past few weeks, but I needed more clarity on some of the details. I tried two different models for wave interference to see if they would fit our experimental setup, but they weren’t sophisticated enough. Although it was frustrating to realize that I hadn’t found the correct model, the other members of my group were very supportive and they steered me in the right direction. My next step is to construct a new model from scratch, which is going to be a challenge but should provide me with a great learning opportunity. I’m inspired to see where this next phase of the project takes me!

Alexandra Day