Category Archives: NEWT RET 2022

WEEK-6: Nu Perspective Stable- IRMS

On last week I was busy with my poster, video, and lesson pitch. Also, I completed the work on Gas chromatography, so I shadowed my Mentor Mr. Tao Sun how to do isotope analysis using Nu Perspective instrument.

The most important part is we need to maintain our lab temperature between 5OC to 40OC while maintaining relative humidity from 80% to 50%. This instrument is having ability to achieve precise measurements from the smallest sample. The Perspective with its standard collector block sets a new benchmark in performance for routine stable isotope ratio applications for the measurement of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, Sulphur, and hydrogen. In addition, this instrument is having a capability to analyze clumped isotopes with exceptional sensitivity and linearity.

Control Panel

The key difference between gas chromatography and Nu perspective mass spectrometry is that gas chromatography is important in separating components in a mixture, whereas Nu perspective mass spectrometry is useful in calculating the exact molecular weight of the sample components.

Garnet Sample picture

My mentor is using garnet sample which is having silicon-oxygen tetrahedron. We used fluorine gas and then laser to heat up the sample so it will release oxygen for isotope calculation.

Good Bye Lunch on last day

how time flies

It is hard to believe that this will be our last week as an RET intern. I have learned so much these past few weeks and have been surrounded by the smartest people in the field of cutting edge nanotechnology. My research took me on a deep dive into the small world of graphene, how graphene made, how graphene is categorized, and how graphene can be used to clean water. With that said, as part of the Tour Lab I have sat in weekly lab meeting with researchers that are working on projects such as battery technology, nanomachines, and Nano molecules that can destroy cells! They are actually looking at destroying cancer cells with the nanomachines. I attended a seminar from a visiting professor that is working on a nano molecular tweezer. In the meantime, I continued to work on creating graphene from my home water filter. We had an exciting flash that you can watch in the video below.

I look forward to seeing everyone’s poster presentations on Friday!

July 11 – july 15

This past week, I took a tour throughout our facility and learned about what the other people are doing. Sometimes we work next to people and don’t realize what the others are working on. I saw this beautiful globe and a lot of astronomy displays on the first floor, so I decided that I was going to bring my own kids to visit. So, today my girls and wife came to visit. They got a personal tour from a nice lady, Margaret, and they loved it. They also got to see where daddy has been working all summer. Honestly, what kid doesn’t like to learn about the stars! As I’m wrapping up, I am wrapping up my data and making sure it all makes sense. Pic 03 is also a place where I have been analyzing samples of water.

Thats a wrap~!

With this being the last week we started testing a new version of the greywater reactor dubbed GEN 2!

The Gen 2 reactor runs water through its base while an aerator supplies bubbles forcing foam to form and flow up the cylinder. It eventually collects at the top where it condenses back into liquid and flows down the white tube into the base to be recycled and cleaned even more. The idea behind this model was to increase water recovery while still having high Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal.

Week 5 Update with Julie Cooper

Last week I worked a lot in R in order to create graphs for my research poster. After a lot of coding videos, google searches, and confusion I finally created my graphs that I will be using in my research poster and I can’t be prouder of myself! This week I finished my rough draft of my research poster, spent a couple of hours in the lab learning how to sterile filter the artificial seawater that I created weeks ago and helped organize some old samples. Coming up is our last week! I can’t believe the internship is coming to an end already.

Caribbean vs Pacific Symbiodiniaceae Cell Counts comparing live and dead cells counted using the hemocytometer
Symbiodiniaceae Cell Counts Comparing live and dead cells across Caribbean Facultative Corallivores, Pacific Facultative Corallivores, and Pacific Obligate Corallivores.

Last week!

I can’t believe this will be the last week of the program. I have learned so much from my mentor Jesus and have gained a newfound respect for scientists and science in general. Coming from more of a math background, I have seen that there is lot of research and work that goes into getting materials ready for commercial use, and I have seen it firsthand in this program. I have deep respect for all the team members I have spent time with in the lab.

I am still awaiting results from my most recent experiment with BNNTs and the different concentrations of magnetic precursor on last week. We have been exploring different methods, so hopefully we have found one that works (fingers crossed!)

Again, I have truly enjoyed my time here at Rice. I am so fortunate to have developed new relationships with some great people. I look forward to using this experience to assist me or possibly even assist my work colleagues develop great activities for students this coming school year.


Not Ready to Say Goodbye

Last Day with Beniam and his brother Mattie

Yesterday was the last day working with Beniam and Mattie. I am so impressed with these two! Beniam is a rising sophomore at UT and Mattie is a rising sophomore in high school. Very thankful to work with both of them this summer.

Still Working!

Thank you to Sara in Dr. Alvarez lab for providing us some data on concentrations of extracted pyrene in soil samples! We are almost finished comparing the data between extracting pyrene with their Accelerated Solvent Extractor (ASE) verses by filtration only. So far, the SERS data suggests that we can take soil samples and run Raman in situ (in the field) without needing this awesome piece of equipment below. Instead of taking a soil sample back the the lab, doing the extraction with the ASE machine and doing LPHC/MS, we can get contaminated soil sample out in the field, pour acetone on top, shake and drain through a mechanical filter to extract PAH’s and analyze with portable Surface-enhanced Raman!

Accelerated Solvent Extractor in Dr. Alvarez lab that uses acetone, heat and pressure to extract pyrene from soil.
Seeing the beauty of nanoparticles

I am really enjoying learning about all the research that’s going on at NEWT! Can’t believe it’s almost over 🙁 I will miss working with these amazing people. I will enjoy telling my students about the innovative work that I got to be apart of. Now…time to finish the poster!

WEEK 5: Delta V Plus

We used Gas Chromatography and now we also used another instrument to verify our results. The Delta V plus mass spectrometer primarily designated to measure the isotope ratio of H/D, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S, 37Cl/35Cl and most important one 12C/13C and other elements that can be transformed into gaseous substance. The gases used with this type of IRMS are CO2, H2, N2, NO, O2 etc.

We are working on Amino Acid samples to measure Nitrogen Isotopes. For our lab we are having secondary inlet system for up to 20 samples. We can use samples in very small amount and the results are done at IRMS.

Making samples for measurement

We are using Isobat 2.5 software suite for system control, data acquisition and data evaluation that is an integral part of the system architecture.

week of 07-11-22


Measuring temperature and humidity.

Measuring temperature and % humidity in the outside air.

Graduated Cylinder
Fresh water from the desert air!

Sometimes I help out in making measurements on other research projects.

Here I am making more calculations and more solution dilutions and running it through the spectrophotometer. As you can see, it changes color, indicating a change in the polymeric structure.

Polymer Color Change – 5 minutes uv light

Week 5! ITS ALIVE!!!

We have begun to try new things with our current reactor since it has to be destroyed in order to make a new one. Since the foam backing up seems to be the problem we are going to use a vacuum to suck out the foam preventing back up. Success!!!! The vacuum did its job, it also broke my ears! The foam never backed up, in fact we were able to see the central cylinder throughout the entire test.

Here you can see the foam slowly moving towards the vacuum outlet
Here you will see the foam slow down as I turn off the vacuum to its normal flowrate

At the end of the tests we only had 680 mL of foam water which was a huge success.

Just as everything seemed to be going write I tested our samples and everything went out the window again. pH and COD went up on each test instead of down like they’re suppose to. Back to the drawing board again…….