extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Fandom-wise, I am doing [community profile] space_swap  (which I also mod) and [community profile] jukebox_fest . I'm mostly found on the TGE IRC chat (here) nowadays.

IRL, my second year at Uni is wrapping up, and I'll spend next summer working at the Surface Sciences Lab, too! VACUUM CHAMBERS, guys. VACUUM CHAMBERS. That WHIR. I liked all the LARGE EQUIPMENT WHOO last year, and I am So Excite. The Prof (actual Professor, not Secondary Part-time Assistant Sub-Professor; this ain't America) is happy that I like the LARGE EQUIPMENT, since apparently some people find them intimidating? (My parents would give me a book to read and plonk me at their workplace after school. They are both industry researchers who do stuff related to paper machinery. LARGE EQUIPMENT that WHIRS is downright homey!)

I've also revisited my childhood with a library card and a subsequend pile of Yoko Tsuno comics. It's a long-running series by Roger Leloup, drawn in ligne claire, about the titular Yoko Tsuno, who is a Japanese electrical engineer living in Europe. The series is about her adventures over at least 4 continents and outer space, where she'll encounter a problem and solve it with empathy and the Power of Friendship. Her adventures are technology-heavy, and she picks up (female) friends wherever she goes. (There are also some dudes following her around, but they're pretty much incidental.)

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
I am again one year older. Time is slipping through my hands like sand! I feel an urge to quote King Lear! Eep! I am in despair!
And, guys, I'm not even 20 yet. What is society, that has left me with nothing but an urge to be 16 again? Is this normal?

On the realm of fic-writing: my creative juices feel like they've dried out! AAAAA!
(I need to kick myself. I'm signing up for Yuletide.)
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Here.

You've probably read my sticky post (if you haven't, read it). I mostly write fanfic, but I live inside my head a lot, so I'll occasionally create other stuff as well (but not put it down anywhere since I'm lazy and writing is hard). I have recently accidentally acquired a Real Life (TM) and am trying to figure out what to do with it.
I am also hosting the 2015 Bujold Fest. Please participate.

General Life Tips:
  • eat enough and diversely enough
  • sleep enough
  • exercise and remember to stretch your muscles afterwards
  • do stuff that makes you happy
Feel free to send me fic prompts (that may or may not get written) or questions about my original universes.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Over the summer, I was a research assistant at the local university's Surface Sciences lab. Now, the group's small (<10 people), and I have sold my soul to the professor (but at least I have guaranteed summer jobs and a potential PhD spot, so yay?), and I had lots of fun!

The basics:
We measure stuff that happens in the very surface layers of a material. We also grow nanometer-scale thin films (with ALD) and create functional coatings for materials (for instance by silanization). Our main means of measurement is XPS, though one colleague of mine was using the ellipsometer for measuring ALD layer thickness, and we've recently acquired a portable adhesion tester.

Terms:
XPS = X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy
There is a thing called the photovoltaic effect: when one shines a light on a material, it emits electrons. The energy of the light, hf, transfers completely to an electron it hits. Part of this energy is spent getting the electron out of the atomic nucleus' orbit (=the energy with which the nucleus held on to the electron, aka the binding energy B), and the rest of the energy is then the electron's kinetic energy K. With a complicated system of lenses (= electric fields) we can capture the electrons emitted from the sample and record their kinetic energies (they go through a hemisphere with a magnetic field, and qṿ×Ḅ means that electrons with different energies have different radii with their paths).
Then, the magic: hf=K+B, thus B=hf-K, which means that we can find out the binding energy! Now, different elements have different binding energies for each electron orbital (Oxygen and Carbon 1s electrons have vastly different energies, and we can detect the splitting between Copper 2p3/2 and 2p1/2), so we can figure out the chemical composition, and the binding energy changes depending on what compound the element is in! Silicon 2p (in metallic Si) and Silicon 2p (in SiOx) have a difference of a few electron volts!

ALD = Atomic Layer Deposition
Basically, precursors (volatile compounds) are in bottles, from which the vapor is pumped into the reaction chamber, where the substance attaches itself onto any surface it comes in contact with, and then from (say) trimethylaluminum and water comes a thin film of aluminum oxide.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
I have a full-time summer job! It's at my University's surface science lab, and so far I really, really like it. The work group is small (~6 people in the lab, including me) and the measurement devices are cool. I'm helping with placing samples into the ultra-high vacuum chamber (or rather, the first subchamber; can't have the bad vacuum contaminating the better vacuum in the analysis chamber) and with testing the electrochemical properties of samples (things like "does silanization help make zinc-plated iron more corrosion resistant?"). If you're interested, confused, or want to inform me of your existence, do comment.

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