Blog #2

So far, our research has progressed by gathering more data related to ellipsometry and goniometry utilizing the surfaces of silica and titania. With the ellipsometric aspect of the data, it is important to note that we only take this data for silica. The reason as to why titania cannot be used is because the surface has too high of a refractive index and will not produce an accurate thickness reading. We begin by measuring and recording the initial thickness. Then react the sample with HMS and record the thickness again. Lastly, we react it with an experimental compound and measure the thickness. The values starting from the initial should all increase respectively if each individual reaction ran correctly. Additionally, the values we are interested in knowing are averages and standard deviations. We have tried to quantify the amount of HMS drops added in order to correlate it to thickness however, the relationship appears to follow a curvature rather than a linear projection. 

With goniometry, each sample being analyzed has a set of twelve values. Since we typically react six samples of silica and six samples of titania, we have to take one hundred and fourteen contact angles in one day! This is the most time consuming part of research but also the most meaningful. The averages of the advancing and receding from both left and right sides gives a glimpse of the hysteresis taking place at the surface. Our recent findings seem to further support our previous results and establish new values on compounds being tested for the first time. 

When we tested one of the new compounds, it seemed like the compound did not react with the surface of our samples. More data is being collected and being looked at to understand this issue. Aside from this, our research has been very successful. 

I have learned a lot with regard to this project, both conceptual understanding of the reactions and tactile research experience inside the lab. The research I’ve done has enlightened my comprehension when looking at surfaces that have specific properties. Lastly, my time in research has made me more excited about our future upcoming paper. 

Image: Ellipsometer

Image: Goniometer

Blog #1

The title of our research is Modification of Inorganic Oxides with Poly(hydridomethylsiloxane)s as an Approach to Mixed Functional Surfaces. The purpose of doing this research is to provide insight in controlling the surface properties of inorganic oxides as it has profound impacts on anti-fouling, adhesion, and other applications. Our goal is to analyze and interpret the data collected from contact angles and ellipsometry. Some objectives for this research endeavor is to progress towards publishing a paper that builds on previous work done with hydridomethylsiloxanes (HMS). Along with this, we would be able to publicly speak about our findings with other scientists interested with similar research.

We expect to learn more about different surface properties via an interfacial hydrosilylation reaction and how it further affects contact angle hysteresis. The chemical molecule used factors in heavily when thinking about the expected outcomes. Some known factors can be based on overall structure and molecular polarity. Additionally, our research team is planning to visit Amherst University to receive more specific data on our samples like x-ray photoelectron spectra. The main methods that will be applied throughout this research is ellipsometry and goniometry. The purpose of ellipsometry is to verify if the reaction took place. This is seen as the thickness of these samples increase. Goniometry looks at the angles made by adding or removing water on the surface. The hysteresis is analyzed by subtracting the advancing contact angle from the receding contact angle. This tells us how homogeneous or uniform the surface of our samples are. A high hysteresis value is indicative of a surface that is not homogeneous and a low hysteresis value means that the surface is rather homogeneous.

Image: HMS unit