The first week: three things accomplished, waiting on mass spec, and I got to push the button.
Dr. Perreault was very patient this week, showing me around his lab space, describing the research I will be working on, and answering my totally naive-sounding questions. As a side, I mentioned that I had produced nano particles with high school students at SMHS. I said how difficult it is to produce evidence that they produced nano particles when limited to high school lab equipment. A few minutes later, I had a test for the presence of nano-particles using a laser pointer (which Dr. Perreault even demonstrated in his office) that I can do in my classroom. He also described a dynamic light scattering test and a UV-VIS test for nano particle size that I might try out here and use in my classroom as well.
Doug Rice, my mentor, and Diane (REU) walked me through the steps to create nano-silver laden membranes. I created my first one, and I got the the membrane to turn yellow. YAY! I t means I did the steps right and my stoichiometry was good too. So now I can make infinite numbers of membranes. Or at least a few dozen.
I also determined efficient ways to cut coupons out of the membrane. Best use of material and such. They let me use a hammer. In a lab.
Also, I set up samples for ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spec). The initial data will let us know if our procedures produces results similar to a previous study.
Next week I will be reacting the silver with sulfur. The idea is that silver nano particles leach too fast from the membrane, so an incomplete reaction with sulfur will bridge together all of the silver nano particles keeping them in place longer while retaining most of their antibiotic capabilities.
But the highlight this week was when Doug showed me how to use an autoclave. He let me push the button.