Thursday, June 17, 2004

Excitement

Why is it that the most dangerous things that we don't want to happen in lab are the most exciting things, and generally the only things we feel compelled to tell others about. Like today. Leah and I managed successfully build a complete counting system so we can swipe test our lab and our NMR samples. That is real progress, and we've one working on it for quite some time. But, the story we keep telling everybody about is the one about the counter. We installed a timer/counter nuclear instrumentation module in our NIM-BIN, and nothing appeared on the display. I was pushing the 'Display Test' button repeatedly, and nothing was happening, when I saw something out of the top of my peripheral vision. I glanced up, and saw a tiny puff of smoke emerge from the bin. Shit! I thought. I alerted Leah, and as we were frantically trying to get the screws undone that were holding the module in place, giant plumes of black smoke came out of the instrument. We managed to get the instument out, and save the rest of our setup. It was a bit of a setback, as we had to locate another counter/timer to use, but exciting, nonetheless.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Needed: Gas-Flow Proportional Counter

Leah and I have been working on getting a gas-flow proportional counter working in the radiochem lab this week. The idea is that once we have a working detector, we'll be able to take swipes in the lab ourselves. Unfortuantely, the mylar windows seem to be broken on all the available detector heads. This is not surprising, as the detectors are relatively old. What is surprising is that in setting up the detector, we were following the procedure outlined in another student's lab report! It seems that this student collected quite a bit of data from brokn detectors. Heh heh. We're looking for replacement mylar windows, but they're proving to be quite expensive.

I have made quite a bit of progress in calculating HOMO-LUMO gaps, and now need to relate this to the electrochemical potentials of uranium ions. More reading to do.

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