Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Busy as Hell

Sometimes you're waiting around for the chemistry to happen, but I haven't been. It goes like this, I run the mass spec everyday which includes first, turning it on. Sometimes the plasma flickers, arcs, and starts melting the torch. This pisses me off, and it pisses my boss off because they are over $300 bucks. I still use them if they didn't melt all the way through.

Then, I move on to "optimizing" the "signal." This consists of aspirating a "tuning" solution and looking at a real time graph of "intensity" vs. time. And basically, you just move some voltages around to create high intensity of what you want, while creating low intensity for things you don't want.

Getting mid-way throught the morning now, I need to find some time to review the run from last night and prepare all the data in a type of lab report. The best time to start this is right after I start the calibration. I usually see some drift during the first calibration, so I restart it right about lunch time, so the lab keeps working while I'm off the clock.

Getting back from lunch, I have to quickly check the calibration and find some samples to run because there is no point in even thinking of running any samples until I know the instrument is going to work right. So I type in a sample sequence, make sure the QC is kosher, and then start making dilutions for pretty much everything but freshwater samples.

Now it's about 4pm and I have to finish reviewing yesterdays data, make any solutions that need to be made, and deal with email. Then I just schedule the MS to shutdown when it's done, which is usually between midnight and 3 in the morning.

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