Taking Down Obstacles and Finding Inspiration… Through Chalk

PROGRESS! After months of trying to fix our probing station, it is finally working! Now I can test and characterize devices and work on getting results! Reproducible results! Thanks to Jose (my mentor), our probing station is no longer an issue (take that probing station–except I love you). I was pretty stoked when this happened; it had been awhile since I had truly tested some of our devices. This of course does not mean the next steps will be easy but at least we have conquered that monster of an obstacle.

Working hard in the cleanroom with Jose.

The next step will be looking at the photoeffects on the nanowires covered with gold nanoparticles. This will show us the plasmonic effects on the gold nanoparticles, which we can monitor under different electrical conditions of our device. Though I have already done some testing with this, I would like to do more with our devices before drawing conclusions. There is still a lot of testing to be done in the future. We have also been having some issues with our nanowire growth (why nanowires, why now?). Therefore, we may be changing the design of our devices to have a thin film instead of a nanowire covered with gold nanoparticles. It is all very exciting and I aspire to seeing this work through.

On a completely different note, this quarter I have been able to better appreciate where I am. Last quarter, though very exciting and eventful, was a bit overwhelming at times and I did not have the chance to fully embrace the science around me. This quarter I am trying much harder to take in and relish the amazement. How often do we really get to focus on that warm fuzzy feeling that science and research gives us?

The plot thickens…

My favorite has been chalkboards. I remember when I was younger looking at chalkboards and papers, even in old textbooks, at massively complex equations with symbols and mathematical notation that was another language (but really, since much of these are Greek symbols). Now I can look at much of this same notation and understand it fully. Lately this has been a small but treasured pleasure of mine. It is like a mystery that slowly unfolds as I learn more. This is pretty inspiring to me; it is a sort of reality check: I have made progress, even compared to when I first came to UCSB. 

My point is, sometimes it is nice to savor the science. Sometimes I get wrapped up with the homework and grades, tests and finals, research and organizations, oh my! Though when I really step back and look at it all, would I really choose a different place?