Breanna – Summer Week 3

This whole week was wild, but especially today.  Before I get to that though – I didn’t have time to do any mapping and I didn’t have any more luck with the purple illumination.  There was just way too much fluorescence.  Spending more time on that problem made me realize that I could go down quite the rabbit hole if I continue to focus on the purple, and so instead I’ve decided that it will be more productive if I re-focus on the blue pigments and leave the purple for later.

So, that being said, next week will be all about the blues and about me doing all that I can to convince myself that I’m really looking at azurite.  This means systematically taking spectra of each blue area that I can (with the limits of the stage), ruling out alternative pigments, and hopefully getting to look at Caren’s X-Ray data.  I feel much better and this is great and all, but let’s get to the macro adaptor.

Ok.  Now one of my goals for this week was to fuss with the adaptor some more, with the hopes that it might work and that we could theoretically use it to take spectra of the manuscript vertically instead of horizontally.  This would overcome the issue of only being able to take spectra of certain pages.  So, fuss I did.

Earlier in the week I used the 100X objective and successfully got spectra that showed a peak at ~510 for the Si chip.  This was after many hours spent moving it closer millimeter by millimeter in attempt to find the focal point.  However, silicon is the standard for Raman calibration and should have a peak of 520 nm – my 510 nm wasn’t a great sign that the adaptor would be effective for use on the manuscript.  To attempt to figure out what was up, I switched to the 10X objective (allowing for an easier time when finding the focal point) and manually calibrated the Raman using the macro adaptor.  This basically means that I adjusted the parameters under the maintenance tab until the Rayleigh peak was at 0.  After doing this, I got a gorgeous peak at ~517.  So close!

On a hunch and in order to see how much this was off from using the regular old objectives, I did a full calibration and then took a spectrum of the Si using the 10X objective (but remember – not using the macro adaptor).  I would have expected to see a peak at 520 because the Raman was just successfully calibrated using Si, but instead saw a peak at 514.  What?!!

So.  A) I repeat, what. I have no idea why taking a regular spectra of Si would get me a value different from that just received during calibration. B) Maybe this means that the adaptor is actually working and that the difference between 520 and 517 isn’t actually that terrible! Overall, now I’ve got some decent evidence that the adaptor might be up to speed, that I might know how to work it, and that I might be able to use it on the manuscript thereby solving all of our logistical problems/saving the world/etc.  Next week I plan to take spectra of other knowns using the macro adaptor and hopefully convince myself of success.  I don’t want to get too excited yet, but it’s hard.

Goals achieved:  I did get to take more spectra of the purple (despite not actually finding anything useable or informative).  Played with the adaptor and hopefully figured some things out.

Goals not achieved:  Didn’t have time to practice mapping.

Next week:  Shoot some lasers at those blues, try mapping, and continue to play with the macro adaptor.

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