Monday, July 30, 2012

Final Intern Update

We're wrapping up our summer jobs at CCLDAS. We would like to thank Andrew,  Mihaly, Anthony, Paige, Anna, Evan, Addie, Tobin, Mark, Keith, Chris, and Spenser. This experience was truly invaluable and we all learned a lot.

Our last week at the lab was busy, as always. We began by helping install the UHV chamber in the beamline. First, we disconnected LEIL from the beamline and moved it aside. Next, we moved the UHV chamber into place, only to realize that the wheels  put the chamber too high. We eventually removed the wheels from the UHV assembly  in order to lower it to the correct height. The chamber is now properly in place and is currently in use for Andrew's neutral gas generation experiment.  In the process of installing the new chamber, we learned tons about high vacuum systems. Andrew taught us about flange installation techniques, cryogenic pumping, chamber alignment, and more.  Look below to see  pictures of the installed UHV assembly!

The newly installed UHV chamber

To our chagrin, the dust particles never hit the target, suggesting a misalignment. However, after disassembling the beamline, we were able to determine that the alignment was actually correct. This has brought about many concerns for Andrew's experiment. 

After the UHV was installed, we wrote a Matlab program for Paige. This program can be used to find peaks in the charge values recorded by the LeCroy oscilloscope for the Dust Coordinate Sensor, ultimately allowing us to determine a dust particle's position as it travels down the beamline. 

We then made a program for Spenser's Database project, which provides an organizational platform for data taken for various accelerator experiments. Our program puts LeCroy waveforms into a LabView friendly format  and posts them to the CCLDAS database. 

As a bittersweet ending to the week, we had to say goodbye to our fellow high schoolers from the lunar rover LEGO®  Mindstorms camp. They brought youthful energy to our workspace, and we will miss them as they continue on their journeys in high school.  Check out their awesome Lunar rovers in action below!

Rovers navigate the obstacle course

We all enjoyed our time at the lab. Thanks again to everyone at CCLDAS!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High School Intern Update

 It’s been an interesting week for the high school intern team. We began by creating a successful NXT robot to navigate the course created for the resident summer camp, a 3-week Lego Mindstorms lunar rover challenge. You can see our robot tackle the course in the video below!

As you can see, we have kept ourselves busy with various coding projects: 
Jordan modifying NXT code
Nick creating a Fourier series program
Sean solving a statistics coding challenge

Several weeks ago, the pyrex tube on the plasma machine shattered. Now that we received a replacement part, we have redirected our attention toward this project.  Jordan and Nick designed a Plexiglas shield for safety, and Sean helped to install it.After that, we reassembled and evacuated the tube. Unfortunately, the O-Rings that we were using failed to create a viable seal, so we made new ones from sheet rubber. With the new ring in place, we got the tube down to 15 mTorr, but unfortunately the required breakdown voltage was too high for us to safely generate a plasma. The next day, we went at it again, but this time using Argon gas, since it has a lower breakdown voltage. However, this lead to a new problem. The leak valve on the Argon gas cylinder prevented us from lowering the tube pressure below 150 mTorr, so we are currently awaiting a new leak valve.  We hope to begin experiments, using the LabView code  that Emily has written, in the near future. 

Working on the plasma tube
We have also been assisting students from Professor Scott Robertson’s lab with the stepper motors project. These motors will be used for both the LEIL table in the beamline, and Professor Robertson’s lunar wheel experiment. You can see our current setup in the picture below. Until next week… 

The stepper motor setup