This week saw a lot of progress for the lab.
We were able to finish the table set up. It is pictured below. To the left you can see the blue laser. This laser is sent through a pin hole to a mirror that reflects the beam to the right at a beam splitter. The beam splitter sends part of the beam towards the slide holder, and another part to the black shield at the right.
On the right is the Helium Neon laser (red laser). The red laser is aligned to also go through the beam splitter and to the slide holder.
This set up allows us to easily switch between the lasers without having to adjust the set up. A slide will be placed on the slide holder, and as the beam passes through the object on the slide, a diffraction pattern will then be read by a photo diode detector.
This week I also learned how to grow and maintain the C. elegans population we will be using for analysis. This process involves using a microscope to transfer a few mature C. elegans to a new tray with food from a pre-existing non-mutated population. These mature worms will then reproduce and give rise to a new population. The C. elegans are on a four day maturation cycle meaning that it takes four days for then to mature to adult stage. Therefore we have to repeat this process four days prior to when we want to use the worms in the lab in order to ensure they are at the correct cycle for analysis.
If all goes well, next week we may be able to start collecting actual data!