Week 5: Celebrating the Fourth of July in DC

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Friday, July 5, 2013


Alexandra Day

Happy Fourth of July!  It was so special to be in DC this week with all of the holiday festivities! The atmosphere in Foggy Bottom changed dramatically with the sudden influx of tourists, and it was fun to be able to give directions to people looking for the metro and the national mall. I’m starting to learn my way around the city, and I feel that I’ve made the leap from clueless to competent.

This week at NIST, I worked some more on my MOSFET model and planned a tour of our facilities for the other SPS interns. I’m really excited to host them and show them the NIST museum and lab facilities. In terms of my model, I figured out how an electron wave can be expected to reflect from a linear potential barrier. Originally, I read that the amplitude of the wave function increases rather than decreases – but that is incongruous with the expectation from the general model.  It turns out that the increased amplitude is actually related to the fact that the speed of the particle decreases as it passes through the region of higher potential. As the speed decreases, the particle is more likely to be in a given location, and so the amplitude of the wave function increases. Cool!

I’ve also been talking to some of the scientists on my hall about my model, and they’ve all been very encouraging. It’s interesting to be around so many electrical engineers in addition to physicists, and I’m glad that the atmosphere is so supportive.

This was an especially memorable week for me. Being able to see the fireworks and experience the city on Independence Day was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it was fun to spend it with the other interns. I’m looking forward to going to Goddard with the other interns next week!

Alexandra Day