This page summarizes the structure and goals of the class labs, and presents the background notes for most experiments.

Lab Structure and Goals

The class of typically 50 students is divided into six lab groups. During each lab week, six separate 4-hour experiments run simultaneously, grouped into three topical themes. Each lab group conducts 1 of the 2 experiments grouped under each theme (α, β, γ). Hence, each lab group will perform 3 experiments per lab week, totaling to 12 experimental sessions of 4-hours each over the course of the semester.

Each lab experiment is designed to give students first-hand experience with the concepts developed in the lecture subject 3.012. In addition, students gain familiarity with common tools for materials characterization, including differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning probe microscopy (AFM/STM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), UV/Vis, Raman and FTIR spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS).

To prepare for specific labs, students are provided with background notes tailored to the experiment to be conducted. The notes, linked in the table below, provide background information and suggest supplementary readings, but do not generally detail the specific experiments to be conducted, or the procedures involved.

Students are responsible for recording procedure, data, data analysis in their laboratory notebooks, and build their formal laboratory reports based on these recordings.

Grading Approach for Lab Notebooks (PDF)

Lab Week 1
α Amorphous Polymers α1 Polymer Structures XRD and DSC Studies of Acrylates Polymers (PDF)   Dr. Meri Treska
α2 Polymer Conformation Dynamic Light Scattering Study of Polymer Chain Dimensions (PDF)   Prof. Francesco Stellacci
β Glass Materials β1 Structure of Borate Glasses (Part 1) Tg and Raman Spectra of Borate Glasses (notes unavailable) Photos: Melting and Drawing Fibers of Borate Glass Prof. Linn Hobbs & Mr. Dilan A. Seneviratne
β2 Structure of Borate Glasses (Part 2) XRD, RDF and Speed of Sound in Borate Glasses (notes unavailable)   Prof. Linn Hobbs & Mr. Benjamin Hardy Wunsch
γ Quantifying Thermodynamic Properties of Materials γ1 Thermal Energy Storage DSC Study of Lauric/Stereatic Acid Mixtures as Phase Change Materials (PDF) Video: (RM ‑ 220K) Dr. Geetha P. Berera
γ2 Magnetic Work Work Derived from Magnetic Hysteresis Curves (PDF)   Prof. Silvija Gradecak
Lab Week 2
α Quantifying Thermodynamic Properties α1 Liquid Crystal Switching Energy for a Liquid Crystal Display (PDF)   Prof. Silvija Gradecak
α2 Mechanical Work AFM/DSC Study of Protein Denaturation (PDF)   Mr. Benjamin Hardy Wunsch
β Crystalline Structures β1 Radius Ratios in Ionic Crystals XRD Study of Piezo- and Ferroelectric Oxide Structures (PDF)   Prof. Francesco Stellacci
β2 Crystal Polymorphs XRD Study of Cubictetragonal Transition in Perovskites (PDF)   Dr. Geetha P. Berera
γ Diffraction Principles γ1 Derivative Structures

XRD of Crystals with Covalent, Ionic and Metallic Bonds (PDF)

Background Notes on Diffraction of Materials (PDF)

  Dr. Meri Treska
γ2 Laser Diffraction

Diffraction of Crystalline and Amorphous Arrangements of Dots (PDF)

Background Notes on Diffraction of Materials (PDF)

Video: (RM ‑ 220K) Prof. Linn Hobbs
Lab Week 3
α Materials as "Particle in a Box" Models α1 F-centers X-Ray Generation and Optical Studies of Alkali Halide F-centers (PDF)   Mr. Benjamin Hardy Wunsch
α2 Quantum Dots Synthesis and Optical Study of CdSe Quantum Dots (PDF) Video: (RM ‑ 220K) Prof. Francesco Stellacci
β Visualizing Gibbs Free Energy β1 Batteries OCV of Pb-Acid Batteries (PDF)   Dr. Geetha P. Berera
β2 Corrosion Anodic Corrosion and EMF Series (PDF)   Prof. Linn Hobbs
γ Phase Transitions γ1 Phase Separation Cloud Point Study of Polystyrene/Methyl Cyclohexane (PDF)   Dr. Meri Treska
γ2 Ferromagnetic Transitions VSM study of Curie Temperatures (PDF)   Prof. Silvija Gradecak
Lab Week 4
α Bonds and Wavefunctions α1 Electron Wavefunctions Visualizing Electron Wavefunctions in Au, Graphite and SAMs (PDF)   Prof. Silvija Gradecak
α2 Delocalization Optical Characterization of Band Gap in Benzene, Anthracene, Pantacene, C60 (PDF)   Mr. Benjamin Hardy Wunsch
β Vibration in Materials β1 Phonon Curves FTIR from Oligomers to Polymers; Ball and String Model (PDF)   Prof. Francesco Stellacci
β2 Mechanical Strength and Vibrations Young Modulus and Speed of Sound in Borate Glasses (PDF) Video: (RM ‑ 220K) Prof. Linn Hobbs
γ Phase Diagrams γ1 Eutectics Eutectic Determination of an Organic Transistor Material (PDF)   Dr. Geetha P. Berera
γ2 Order Disorder Transitions X-ray Diffraction Study of Ordering in CoPt (PDF)   Dr. Meri Treska