Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mod 3 I messed up our solar cell

Even though Mod 3 was short, I really enjoyed it once I realized what was going on. Using bacteriophages to grow nanowires? That's like some real sci-fi stuff there. As I said, I was a little confused by everything first, as in which part did what but at some point during one of the lectures, I finally wrapped my head around it.

So all was going well at first, I even survived without Cortni one day and did the M3D2 experiments and calculations myself (#calculationstruggles). When it got to assembling the solar cell, we even doctor bladed pretty well as far as we could tell. Everything seemed like it was going smoothly. And then the final assembly took place and I ruined it. When putting the cover over the paste, I happened to rub off a decent chunk of the dye that was there. Whoops. Oh well. So now we had a semi-functional solar cell with a whopping 0.5% efficiency...

As they say, better luck next time. After reducing our area calculations though, efficiency went up to 1%, suggesting that maybe if I hadn't messed it up, our solar cell would've been fine and dandy. But as my dad says, not everyone can be a winner.

After this disappointment, the long-awaited TEM day arrived when we would get to see our beautiful nanowires. So the green team and platinum team cram into the TEM room waiting patiently to see the image on the screen and then the smart Asian guy pulls up the image. It looks like a gray blob. Prof. Belcher started to explain the different parts of the gray blob. This slightly dark blob was a crystal composite, this black blob was gold. I almost felt like we were looking at a baby in an ultrasound video. When my aunt was pregnant, my dad was somehow able to point out all the portions of my future cousin while all I saw was some blackish-blue background and white-lined curves. In the end though, this was our little baby. Though I couldn't really tell what everything was, I was proud that we had made this functional thing.

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