This summer, I am doing a 10-week research project on magnetism at Colorado State University. Colorado is a great place to be for the summer. I spent my weekdays learning about research techniques, making magnetic samples, doing simulations and reading papers, and my weekends outdoors in the nearby Rocky mountains, or simply relaxing near campus.
The big goal of this project is to study Dzyaloshiiski-Moriya interaction and skyrmions in nano magnetic structures, which are important to future spintronics devices. What I am doing specifically, is to make a waveguide on top of the nano discs, so that we can apply a magnetic field when sending a current through. This is done through several steps: spin coating the sample with photoresist which, as its name implies, is sensitive to UV light; developing the sample with AZ developer; pattern the sample using a laser writer; and metal deposition through sputtering; and finally, developing the sample that is now coated with metal so that excessive metals are peeled off. We have tried some different approaches to try to optimize the results. Besides, I am also trying to do micro magnetic simulations to better foresee the outcomes, and hopefully successfully getting some experimental data.
This is my first time doing research, and so far (about half way through), and I am really glad that I had this opportunity as I am enjoying it even more than I thought I would. As a rising junior majoring in physics at Bryn Mawr, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation. This research experience has given me a good introduction to life as a graduate student, and I am now more optimistic than ever about applying/going to a graduate program in physics following Bryn Mawr. Many courses I’ve taken are very theoretical, and I’ve been seeing many familiar concepts when doing research. I think the courses I’ve taken at Bryn Mawr have prepared me well for related research.
On weekends, I love to venture out with friends to nearby national parks and mountains. As I mentioned, Colorado is a great place to be for the summer with nice weather, interesting landscapes and good views. And Fort Collins (the city where CSU is in) specially offers a nice combination of city vibes and nature. While situated pretty close to Denver, there are the Rocky Mountains and many peaceful trails to hike on within a reasonable distance as well. I am looking forward to the rest of my summer here!