Hey you! Yeah. You! Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to tell the Scientista community about my research internship studying gold nanoparticles in
Germany this summer.
Before I tell you about my research, I want to introduce myself. My name is Pin-Wen, and I’m a rising junior at Harvard College studying electrical engineering and computer science (EECS). I’ve always imagined engineering as a special operations task force, charged with the mission of strategizing solutions to any problem.
As I grew older, solving problems, from math equations to a broken window- became even more interesting, but the role of an engineer became more and more complex.
This summer, I packed my belongings and headed for Duisburg, Germany to conduct research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Duisburg isn’t as well known as Berlin or Munich – I had no idea where Duisburg was until I googled it – but it has had a rich history and is definitely a city you should add to your mental geography map. I’ve only been here for several weeks, but the environment of Duisburg is fascinating. As the world’s largest inland harbor, Duisburg’s cityscape is lined with quiet cargo shipyards and industrial factories. Landschaftpark, a disused ironworks facility turned park, is the perfect example of Duisburg culture. This industrial beauty is where I will call home for the next two months.
At the University of Duisburg-Essen, I am working in the physics department, in the Lorke Research Group, characterizing the photoluminescence of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles refer to
particles of materials with dimensions less than 100 nanometers (1 x 10^-7 meters). On this scale, normal macroscale properties of materials no longer hold, and materials begin to exhibit interesting new properties. As a result nanoscience has become the center of research, and there is still a lot to learn about the nanoworld. This summer, I will be studying the properties of gold nanoparticles and how they react to light. Although, it’s safe to say that a block of gold won’t glow when put under light, small nanoparticles of gold actually do – albeit, not brightly – but they definitely glow. I hope to learn techniques in the lab, to find out more about the different fields of research with nanoparticles, and to travel throughout Europe on weekends. Tune in to my blog every week to join me in Germany this summer!