My day’s focus was to have a long talk with the mass spectrometer and get it to behave properly. As I noted last week, I had taken it apart and had some problems getting it back together. Now it’s running again, but not performing very well. Today was the day to tune it.
So I did.
Tuning the mass spectrometer means having to turn a knob every 40 seconds. For some systems, this process is automated, but for ours, I am the automation.
But you’d be really surprized what you can do in 40 second intervals.
One of the other problems in the lab right now is that we have about 80 very, very tiny samples of tooth enamel that need to be ground down to a much finer powder than they are currently ground.
Here’s the workspace I set up for myself, about 5 strides from the knob that I have to turn every 40 seconds.
To grind the powder, I first put the coarsely powdered enamel into the mortar.
Then I grind it up.
Then I make a scraper by folding up a piece of weighing paper and pile up the fine powder.
Then I pour this powder onto a creased piece of weighing paper.
From there, I pour it back into the original vial.
It kind of looks like there’s more material now, but it’s just less dense. Once they’re all ground up, we can then weigh and analyze them. That’s good, because these customers have been waiting a while.