Day 2: Classes and Lab tours

Aug 9, 2010   //   by Anna Zaniewski   //   Compass News, Summer Program 2010  //  1 Comment

Classes began today!  I didn’t get a chance to witness the magic, but I can say that the tour of the Zettl lab was epic.  We saw nanotubes and lithography samples in the scanning electron microscope, got a rockin’ demonstration of nanotube synthesis, and saw the transmission electron microscope, scanning tunneling microscope, and atomic force microscope.  Five students attended this tour, and the other students were split into a tour of the Sadoulet labs and Stamper-Kurn labs.   I don’t know what happened on those tours- but I’m sure they were great as well.

1 Comment

  • I wrote this for my journal, but I figured I could put it up here too. ^^
    I also went to the Zettl tour and and the nanotech stuff. We went primarily to the microscopes which were pretty cool. The first one we went to was the SEM (scanning electron microscope). It works basically like a scanner and sends a beam of electrons row by row and looks at them as they bounce back. They let us look at these nanotubes which were on top of a type of semiconductor. But nanotubes are pretty awesome. And then we looked at a silicon chip for a solar panel and they put these little microscopic pieces (few hundred nanometer) of silver on them in little dots in order to try and make them more efficient. Basically in a solar panel, not all of the light is absorbed by the silicon and it just bounces off of the mirror they have on the bottom and bounce back. But, what they can do (or are trying to do!) is make it so that the light bounces off these tiny silver pieces, which are little squares of dimensions slightly less than the wavelength of light and is scattered. When it’s scattered and bounces in a shallower angle, it will go through more of the silicon! I guess that they had just made the thing when we looked at it and so they don’t know if it’d work yet.
    Then we went to the condensed matter lab (I think). That was where they make nanotubes, which are pretty much just tubes where the walls are single molecules of carbon. But this one guy showed us a ghetto version of how they make it. Basically, they have these giant things of graphite hooked to either end of a gigantic power sources. So when the graphite pieces are put together, electricity runs through. But, when they separate the graphite pieces a LITTLE bit, then there’s electricity that sparks between the graphite pieces, like a lightning bolt from the clouds to the ground, but on a very small scale, but with LOTS of electricity (around 70V and a 35 amps, which is a lot considering that it’s essentially a short circuit). And so the electricity is running through these things and on a microscopic level, it’s enough to burn out the inside of a carbon STICK (around 5 nm thick) and make these nanotube things. Then somehow they isolate the nanotubes. I’m not real sure what they’re used for, but it’s pretty cool all the same.
    Then we went to the AWESOME microscope, a TEM which can photograph some crazy stuff with quantum tunneling. I’m still kinda fuzzy on the whole thing, but I’m fuzzy on QM in general. And then we saw the 3-D microscope which acts by measuring microscopic kindsa attraction forces.

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