First week summary:
Day 1: Learned how to operate atomic force microscopy, how to insert nano tips for scanning which was pain in the neck since I was dealing with a very fragile 0.1 mm silica material.
Then my mentor showed me more lab equipment. We created our first polymer – PDMS which is formed by mixing two materials.
Since the materials are stirred, there are billions of bubbles!
We placed the polymer in a vacuum where it is applied under low pressure to surface bubbles, and then shocked with nitrogen gas to break bubbles, repeated the procedure about 7-10 times to have super smooth surface that will be used under AFM.
Placed in an incubator to speed up curing process whihc will take about 36 hours.
Day 2: Got a silica glass film, and placed gold pieces at the bottom, super vacuum and high voltage applied to evaporate gold on silica film. Super shiny, nice looking gold mirror created!
Double sided tape can be seen where the clear part was behind the glass and other parts were also coated with gold and titanium.
Took the gold coated glass to atomic dicing machine to create 5 mm by 5 mm pieces that polymers will be placed on this to be analyzed under AFM.
Cleaned these pieces with sulfuric acid to remove all residues, any tiny dust particle will cause fluctuations.
Day 3: Researched about polymers, best mixing ratio, and how & where to buy.
Created two more polymers with the ratio of 9.1./1 and 10.1/1 to see the best result. I did this part on my own!
Everything is super sensitive! 0.1 grams will mess up all!
Vacuumed to pop millions of bubbles and placed in incubator.
Next step is to place our first sample under AFAM and start taking data to be analyzed.