The Beginning

My project has finally kick-started itself today amidst a day of intense worrying (on my part) and bargaining with my supervisor. Truth be told, it had not been an easy victory though, now it will perhaps just take a little more time before we could produce some worthy results to compete in the SSEF. Although initially I was disappointed with the arrangement made by my supervisor, which is to only allow us to do tilting experiments on the nanospheres rather than spin-coating, which in my opinion, is easier controlled and more accurate (probably this is nothing more but another testament on his inconfidence in attaches’ handling of machines) ; I later found out that tilting has its perks and can rather be ‘easily’ done after enough practice sessions and a fair share of failures, of course.

The experiment was conducted in the IMRE Clean Room; the name implying that the lab is most likely less contaminated, or more sterile than the rest. Even the dress code inside was strict; we actually had to enter in a full lab coat with a hood, facial mask, vinyl gloves and safety shoes. The attire is stored in an antechamber before entry into the lab itself, which is basically a cul-de-sac passageway with many small laboratories on either side with their own unique vacuum antechambers. Needless to say, it was hard to find a gown that fit my size, and I had to be satisfied with a slightly smaller one that forces me to bend down a bit.

Even though I do appreciate the ‘cool’ness of working in a sterile lab with advanced equipment, the novelty soon ran off when you get tired of the restricted breathing due to the facial mask, the regulations set forth by the EHS Manual and yellow lighting to avoid photosensitive substrates reacting. Oh, and did I forget to mention the heavy fines that come from operating wrong equipments and failures to comply to safety regulations? *nod* Working in a laboratory nowadays is definitely not easy.


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