Monday, November 11, 2013

URSP Student Marcus Daum Researches Power Fluctuation in Liquid Crystals

            I was first got into this project over this past summer. I was part of another Mason internship program called ASSIP which set me up with my current mentor, Rob Cressman and his PhD student Zrinka. When I read the description about the project I would be a part of, I was ecstatic. I would be working in a physics lab to study, create circuits, and learn about this very expensive amplifier to filter out unwanted noise. I don’t think there could have been a better ft.
            This project is just my first research experience, but one that I wish to continue for a while yet. I plan on going to graduate school for physics to get my PhD, so this is my first step at résumé building to prove research experience to have me stand out amongst other students applying to the same graduate schools as I will be.
            This week, like the past six weeks or so, has been a lot of data analysis in Matlab. After taking a 2-D FFT of a subset of the liquid crystal sample, I created a mean optical value of the subset of the crystal sample during one of the runs of the latest experiment, which was run in mid-September. We have been trying to correlate the electrical measurements that we have taken with the optical FFT’s and mean values, but without major success. This past week we started comparing the mean values of the optical data with the FFT’s of the optical data, which we thought might have been redundant, but turned out to be very helpful. This comparison has lead us to some interesting finds and some interesting physical phenomenon which I will document and prepare for my talk in Pittsburgh in late November.