After going through a large amount of safety and laboratory training my first week at First Solar I’m finally allowed to do some laboratory tests on my own. These include basic pH or reflectance tests – but nonetheless it’s a step in the right direction. I’m also completing reactions and extractions of metals that are to be analyzed on an ICP-OES with supervision. This is a machine I have only learned about in my Physical Methods of Analysis class at U of M – but have never actually used in person. An ICP-OES can be used to detect various levels of elements in a substance, but it can be a finicky machine to work. The reactions and laboratory work themselves are easy to learn – but the machines have a lot more steps to them. Because I’m in an analytical lab, volumetric pipetting is very important in everyday use because it allows us to achieve very precise measurements. However if you haven’t extensively used a pipette before, like myself, it can be a bit of a learning curve. I’m trying my best to set time aside each workday to practice my skills. Once I believe I am proficient in the skill my laboratory manager wants to test me in my technique.
Another exciting thing to note is that I won’t be the only intern in my lab starting this week on Tuesday. Another student from U of M will be joining me in lab, and although I have never met her, I’m thrilled for a fellow wolverine to come join me. I’m looking forward to what the next week has in store for me.