Work in my current research lab has been a whirlwind. Time has gone by so quickly already. My current project incorporates many synthesis and analysis techniques. I have found that the methods learned in the last year of research have been integral as I spend my days synthesizing bubbling yellow flasks of new organic ligands, the faint odor of sulfur drifting around the fume hood.
On an average day, you may find me rapidly inverting separatory funnels, giggling over the large blue crystals that I’ve finally managed to form, and bullying the UV-Vis Spectrophotometer (an instrument used to measure the absorbance of solutions) into actually working. I’ve spent time refreshing on radiation safety training so that I can using X-ray diffraction to analyze my newly-formed crystals, which are intricate, porous frameworks, formed from the bonding of metal centers to organic ligands.
Overall, this summer has been a great experience to date. I didn’t realize how enjoyable it could be working full-time in a lab where you actually are beginning to know what is going on. In situations where this was not the case, I’ve found myself very overwhelmed. While I feel that I have accomplished a good deal and prepared myself well to do further work this summer, it is also clear how much is left. I have had a good preparatory period, sifting through literature and performing many reactions to find more efficient and effective ways to produce the structures that I wish to analyze. Now I face reforming my materials under controlled conditions so that I may be prepared to analyze them further. It has definitely been a whirlwind, but one that I gain more control over every day.