Week 5: Half-life

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Sunday, July 2, 2023


Colin Myers

Little bit of physics in my title for all you nerds out there. Anywho, here we are halfway through the internship, and it certainly is going by quick. Although that isn't an awful thing. The past five weeks have been some of the busiest of my entire life, and I'm sure the next five weeks will be equally if not more hectic. Tomorrow is the Nationals' baseball game, and then Thursday is an ACP workshop event, so this week is already packed not including the fireworks that'll be happening July 4th!

I spent the first few weeks really trying to grasp the theory of my work at NIST, and now for these intermediate weeks I'll be mainly focusing on collecting as much data as possible. This week alone, my mentor and I wrapped up two experiments. The first experiment showed partial success with a conducting diamond sample but not to the magnitude we had hoped. In response, my mentor and I setup a much larger experiment, running several samples at once. Once that finished up on thursday, we tested all four samples with our two probe and new four probe setup. In summary, all of our samples were conductive with mixed success! We spent the day running electrical characterization on all of them. After we had documented results we started debating what our next steps should be. We could change our experiment and try to enhance results, or perform lithography on the conductive samples, or investigate the polishing factor of each sample. I'll be sure to let you know the direction we decided to pursue next week.

I also became aquainted with two new machines this week! The first was a ion beam "gun" of sorts. This machine lets us almost "shave" the surface of small materials with micrometer position to smoothen them. The other machine I got some experience with was an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy or XPS machine. I really found this one interesting because it can basically tell you the exact elemental makeup of any material! It might just be me but I think that's so cool.

Also, huge thanks to the capitol hill intern Ruthie for setting up a tour of their workplace and the capitol in general. I had never been to the capitol before so this was a really cool experience. I don't know why, but I was surprised at how interesting the architecture was. I guess I assumed the capitol would look like one expensive office building, but it was filled with all sorts of statues and artwork. We even got to see some of the tunnels that run underneath the capitol. It was a little spooky!

Colin Myers