July 11, 2011

The Devil in the Details

Carlos sure does have a lot of faith in us.  I've been out of school for six years, and Jared for about twice as long, but tonight both of us will be scouring the internet for information on how to make microscopic gold beads sticky.  That doesn't sound like such a difficult task, but it is.  This is a basic procedure, we think, and so the answer likely resides in the heads of scientists around the world; however, because it's so basic, none of them have bothered to publish a nice complete and super-basic article anywhere on the internet explaining how to do it.  So it's up to both of us to read dozens of journal articles tonight to see if we can find clues and references as to how to make gold sticky.

But this isn't easy either.  Consider the following sentence, which is a pretty typical example of what I'm speed-reading:

"The MUA-attached, gold nanoparticle-deposited substrate was immersed in an aqueous solution containing 0.1 M 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (WSC, Dojindo) and 0.1 M N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS, Tokyo Kasei Kogyo) for 2 h."

Or how about this one?

"Antibody-binding events were examined by measuring the transmission spectra of the gold nanoparticle-deposited substrate functionalized by BSA and HSA before and after incubation in anti-BSA (from pig) and anti-HSA (from goat, vector) solutions, respectively."

It's hard to get back into the rhythm of being able to read these once and understand them.  I know I could do it in college because I had to do it frequently then, but that was a long time ago.  Now I'm having to stop every few words to look up a term.  I'm also not really finding the solution to the problem I'm working on, at least not a specific one.

Hopefully I can dig something workable out of the internet by tomorrow.  Stay tuned to see if I did.

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