My research experience in the Carpick lab was focused on building a macro Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) for education outreach purposes. AFM is a basic tool for nanotechnology studies and AFM has a lot of applications in our daily lives. The most direct and general example of an application is that AFM can help control the quality of computer parts like chips or disks.
The information I have learned from this summer experience will help to inform my curriculum and lesson plan designs for the coming school year. It is important to use the nanotechnology concept to motivate students to continue studying science, technology, and mathematics. Attached is a presentation about my research experience. Also attached are pictures from before and after the macro AFM modification. With the capability of the X-Y plane movement, the macro AFM will behave closely to the real AFM. The macro AFM was built from Lego Mindstrom, and the automation feature facilitated the X-Y plane movement.
With the Lego AFM, two sets of rack and pinion gear systems were used to automate the X-Y plane movement. Compared with the old set, the new set is easy to take apart, reassemble and reconfigure. One other advantages include the lightweight and portability of the existing set-up compard to the original model.
Besides using Quesand AFM to run silicon samples, I used Asylum AFM ( tapping mode) to study lotus leaves. The soft lotus leaf makes it difficult to collect topographic information. Eventually, we collected some nice pictures to illustrate the hydrophobic nature of the leave and explain the Lotus effect.