Week six gave us lots of background to move progress along. In the first couple weeks of the internship I read a lot about thermal desorption techniques and at first it was confusing. It feels great when you research something about some sort of technique and then you go to carry it out and IT WORKS! Thermal desorption is the general process of heating up something to increase its volatility to spontaneously escape a matrix. For me, I’m trying to heat up nitrogen compounds off my sampler. Anyway, I found out what is on my samplers before it samples the air I want to sample. This is good because now I can subtract this baseline background from my actual data to be able to clearly see what nitrogen compounds are adsorbing to my sampler. Next week, the next step is to purposefully put a nitrogen compound on the sampler and test what we can see after running a thermal desorption and pushing the air through the chemical ionizing mass spectrometer (CIMS). As mentioned previously, the CIMS will allow us to indirectly identify the known/unknown compounds.
Progress is apparent, which is good, however its about time to get started on this poster presentation thing.