By working in a research lab, students gain a much deeper experience with all aspects of lab work. They use equipment and instrumentations over and over again, and they become good at using all kinds of software for data analysis.
What three words would you use to describe Lewis & Clark?
Rogers Summer Science Research, July 2023
Tell us about your summer research.
Students in my lab are making tiny crystals of gold in different shapes. Each shape presents a different type of crystal facet. If we can control the crystal facets that grow, we can use the different facets to study important chemical reactions, like the reduction of carbon dioxide.
How did you become interested in your research topic? What sort of real-world implications does your research have?
I first became interested in solid state chemistry as a sophomore in college, when I took an inorganic chemistry course and used models to help visualize how atoms can be organized in different crystals. I later realized just how colorful transition metal chemistry is, and as a graduate student, I was able to use electron microscopes to acquire images of the materials I was making. Gold and other metals have a number of uses, from removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to biomedical sensors.
How are students involved?
The students working in the lab make all of our samples, make measurements to figure out what they’ve made, and analyze the data to think about how to proceed next. They also keep the place tidy, manage any lab waste, and prepare lots of beautiful graphs and images that describe their progress.
What would prospective students find most interesting about this research?
The shapes we are making have some intriguing mathematics. I think my students might say that their favorite part of the summer has been trips to the electron microscope at Portland State University, where we hold our breath while we wait to see exactly what we’ve made in the past week.
What do you enjoy most about collaborating with Lewis & Clark students?
Lewis & Clark students are curious, hard working, and are always interesting people to get to know.
How does Lewis & Clark/this summer research experience prepare your students for a career and/or advanced studies after graduation?
By working in a research lab, students gain a much deeper experience with all aspects of lab work. They use equipment and instrumentations over and over again, and they become good at using all kinds of software for data analysis. They also gain experience in explaining their work to others, both through the Rogers lunchtime presentations and the poster session at the end of the summer.