29 May 2013

Prepping for Korea Part 2: Science!

Cue lightning and evil laugh...

For basically the whole month of May I have been working like crazy. I've pretty much either been in the lab or asleep. Though I might as well sleep in the lab since I think I've been dreaming about lab work. Sleeping in the lab also would have prevented me from getting locked out when they re-keyed my entire building in one day without warning anyone. But that's a different story.

So what have I been up to at all hours of the day and night? Why, making nanoparticles of course! This should not have been a big deal since I make particles all the time (at least 70% of my research is on nanoparticle fabrication directly and everything else I do depends on the NPs). It shouldn't have been a problem, except of course that for the last 2 years I have been focusing all my energy on making smaller and smaller particles and now, all of a sudden, our collaborator wants bigger particles. Like, way bigger than anything I have ever made before (she wants micron but will settle for 500 nm and my most recent breakthrough resulted in 40-80 nm particles). And so, mad scrambling ensued.

So far I have had mild to moderate success with the big ones: there are particles, but there is also a lot of junk

As a back-up, I wanted to make more of the same size particles that I had sent to Korea in December. My go-to size, if you will. I generally consider making these a non-issue, all it takes is a little time. Naturally, my synthesis chose this moment to go haywire. The particles are not the same size as they were previously (usually 150-200 nm with some smaller and now ~100 nm, WTF?) and they were clumping together like nobody's business. Let's just say I was not a happy camper.

Not perfect, but usable
Complete Crapola

I have more or less given up on the back-up plan and am only doing Plan A: big particles or bust from here on out. I only have like 4.5 days left anyway so I might as well focus on just one thing at this point. Hopefully everything will start working again soon and I won't show up in Korea empty-handed.

*** No research time was wasted in the making of this post ***

No comments:

Post a Comment