New students and postdocs should attend the laboratory safety training before starting their work in the lab. Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS) department performs the so-called new employee laboratory safety training sessions monthly. Please visit the following link for different types of safety trainings and schedule: https://ipo.rutgers.edu/rehs/training. In our lab, you need the basic lab safety and the chemical safety trainings. You are encouraged to consult with our administrative assistants (Nancy Pamula or Erica DiPaola), so that they can schedule the appropriate safety training for you.
Refresher training must be taken annually. It can either be taken as a classroom session or online (only for individuals who have previously completed the in-person initial training session). The online refresher version of this training is available by logging in at http://myrehs.rutgers.edu
New employees (students and postdocs) should also talk to their Professor, so that he gives them the basic safety tour of the particular lab(s) and describes safety matters specific to this research group. This should be done irrespective of the formal REHS safety training obtained by new employees, and it should take place before the person starts working in the lab.
Your attitude toward your Professor (the same basically applies to your interaction with other group members).
Understand that your Professor is ALWAYS busy with various administrative, teaching and science-related tasks and responsibilities. Therefore, please do the following:
Your attitude toward research.
You should be excited about research you are doing. If you are not excited, interested or curious about your projects, you'll lack the necessary self-motivation and creativity, and you may ultimately fail as a scientist. Lack of interest is usually associated with one of these reasons:
If this is the case, according to our experience, most likely it is not going to work, and you will end up wasting a lot of time (probably years) and energy. The bottom line: if you are not genuinely interested in science and research, and you do not see this line of work as your future long-term career, you should not do science or scientific research.
If you feel uncomfortable, frustrated or terrified by the unknown, unexpected or unconventional, you should probably steer clear of scientific research.
To successfully do science and research, you should be diligent by nature.
To be successful in experimental research, you cannot be sloppy.
You should read at least 3 papers a week. Sounds like not a big deal? See for how long you'll last.
Train your memory. You should be able to remember the basic, most important facts, results and conclusions that came out of your everyday activities, even if you are working on several projects at a time and dealing with hundreds of samples a week. I suggest the following regular exercise: every evening after work, sit down in a quiet room and spend 10-15 minutes thinking about what happened during the day and what you learned. Sort through the experiments, data and events of the day in your memory, mentally emphasizing the most important things. This will help you to single out essential results and solidify these in your memory.
Learn to multitask. If you cannot multitask, you will not be successful in the modern World. Normal graduate students and postdocs should be able to lead 2-3 research projects at a time, plus maintain 2-3 collaborations. In addition, you are expected to carry out regular lab chores, contribute to education and outreach by working on our technical notes, and teach/supervise a junior group member (if any assigned to you). Therefore, when your Professor tells you to run a chore or take on an extra project, it should cause an expression of joy and delight on your face, instead of the grin of Jack Nicholson.
Maintain a personal lab book. Use a page-numbered lab book. Pages are never to be ripped out of your lab book. Each new experiment or measurement must start with a date and a brief title giving a clear purpose or idea of the experiment. Next goes the sample description, technical details, such as sample's number, device fabrication conditions, measurements conditions, LabView programs used, etc. After that, include your data, analysis (estimates, calculations, etc) and finally bulleted list of conclusions. Samples of lab book pages are provided here: 1, 2, 3, crystal growth, 5, thermal evaporation/parylene deposition, 7. Here is an example of how the crystal growth batches must be labeled: box with crystals. Your handwriting should be very neat and clear, so that everyone can easily read and understand it.
Plan every experiment very carefully. Good planning saves a lot of time and trouble. First, you should clearly understand the goal of each experiment, what you want to show, prove, or check. Once the goal is understood and formulated, you should design your experiment, paying special attention to control tests that would rule out possible artifacts. Second, perform a virtual experiment in your mind, using your imagination: close your eyes and just picture yourself doing the experiment step by step, according to your design. During this process, you'll figure out what extra steps need to be taken and what problems you might expect during the experiment. Next, write down a detailed plan of the experiment and discuss it with your Professor.
Doing research should be like playing ping-pong with your Professor. He pitches you an idea, you come back with results quick, and this continues back-and-forth, until you have a story or decide to move on to another project. The Professor should not be looking for you to get your feedback and repeatedly ask questions like ''Did you do that?'', ''Did it work?'', ''What did you see?'' You should work expeditiously and take the initiative to report important results and observations quickly.
In academic research, you work for yourself, not for your Professor. Although not required, it is recommended that students and postdocs work on weekends, unless they have kids or other serious family issues or responsibilities. This especially concerns individuals whose personal progress in research is insufficient. The number and quality of publications of a student or a postdoc are typically directly proportional to the amount of focused research effort they invest in their work. Additionally, bear in mind that when students and postdocs apply for their next job, very frequently the potential employer would ask the previous adviser to comment on the willingness and availability of the student/postdoc to perform extra work on weekends and holidays.
You must be meticulously clean while working in the lab. Mess and sloppiness will not be tolerated. Besides observing chemical and electric safety rules in the lab, one also needs to perform regular cleaning of the lab space.
In order to stimulate creativity, we will have the following exercise once a week during our regular group meeting. Every group member will be asked to propose a new idea. Try to come up with something creative, new and interesting that you think is worth pursuing. It does not necessarily have to be something grand or complicated. You have a freedom to think up something as small as a technical improvement of your experiment, or as big as a new revolutionary concept. It is expected that these proposals will be followed by brainstorming. Keep in mind a few things. First, for most people it is hard to generate new ideas or propose clever experiments, unless you are a very talented individual. Second, your ideas should be the result of your focused thinking during your daily work and reading. Third, avoid spitting out your ideas immediately after they jumped into your mind. Digest your idea first by spending some time thinking about it, deciding how good it is and formulating it in proper English. At the same time, do not be afraid proposing something crazy or stupid - sometimes things like that lead to breakthroughs. Do not be afraid or ashamed, if you initially have a hard time coming up with ideas - it is hard to do this, and you are learning, so let's exercise regularly.
Hard copies of these (especially POs) must be attached to the special folder named ''Orders'' that we have in the lab.
Shipping samples to collaborators.
First, prepare your samples. Characterize them (whatever needs to be characterized). For example, if you are shipping FETs, measure their standard transfer and output characteristics, extract the mobility, threshold voltage, etc. Always take photographs of all your samples. Samples must be labeled with a number and a date clearly written either on the substrate or on the containers. For fragile samples (such as organic crystals or OFET devices) use the small round tin boxes; these boxes are very robust and convenient, but they have to be thoroughly cleaned with a tissue soaked in acetone before using to remove machine oil residue off their interior. Create a docx or power point file briefly describing the set of samples you are shipping, listing the fabrication conditions, characterization data, extracted parameters and photographs. A sample file is available here. Pack the samples, making sure they will not break during the shipping. We ship samples by FedEx or UPS (UPS is preferable for domestic shipping). Ask your collaborator for the correct shipping address and the actual phone number of the recipient (required by FedEx and UPS), where the actual person can be reached in case the delivery has a problem finding the destination. Also ask your Professor what account should be used to cover the shipping fee. Go to my.physics.rutgers.edu -> login with your NetID -> Shipping Form. Complete the form. In the ''administrative assistant/shipping coordinator'' you can choose Erica DiPaola (administrative assistant, Serin 2nd floor, E269, edipaola AT physics.rutgers.edu) or Jerrell Spotwood (stock room administrator, 1st floor, W134, stock room, js1399 AT physics.rutgers.edu). After you submitted the form online, the shipping coordinator you have chosen will send you a printable version of the shipping label. Print the label and the supporting documentation describing your samples that you've created. Talk to the shipping coordinator, who will give you an appropriate shipping envelope. Put your samples (wrapped in a bubble wrap or placed in a padded inner envelope) and the supporting documentation in the envelope, attach the shipping label and seal the envelope. You are responsible for making sure that all the information (address, tel. number, etc) on the shipping label is correct; always write down the package's tracking number before shipping it out (important). Then bring the package downstairs by the stock room in Serin Physics building. FedEx or UPS people pick up packages from the Serin Physics each weekday before 3 pm, so if you want the package to go out today, make sure you finish everything before 3 pm and put the ready-to-go package on the small metal table right outside the stock room. If you are sending a UPS package, ask Jerrell to call them (unlike FedEx, they are not checking in every day). Make sure the pink sheet of paper (an indicator to the FedEx or UPS truck driver) is put up on the nearby glass entrance door of the building near the stock room. Send an e-mail to your collaborator (always CC your Professor, as well as their group leader, manager, etc.), advising them about your shipment. In your e-mail, include the tracking number of your package and the file with the supporting documentation for your samples.
Receiving products or samples.
Our shipping/delivery addresses (you have to also provide you actual phone number, where you can be reached by the delivery guy):
Prof. V. Podzorov
136 Frelinghuysen Rd.,
Piscataway, NJ 08854
You are responsible for making sure that there is antivirus and antimalware software installed on all the computer(s) assigned to you (typically, these are the PCs that you use in your work). You are responsible for keeping these programs updated. You are supposed to set up these programs (both antivirus and anti-spyware) to run at least once a week (recommended: every night). Rutgers accessible antivirus software can be downloaded here: https://software.rutgers.edu/ (requires a login with RU net-ID and password). The suggested free anti-spyware and anti-malware can be downloaded here: Adaware (http://www.lavasoft.com/) and Spybot Search&Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html). You are responsible for backing up your data, LabView programs, power point presentations, and everything else related to your work on a flash drive, an external HDD, or a cloud at least once a week. Use of a cloud is OK, but strictly for the cloud that requires your official Rutgers NetID and password for access. Data loss can be a really frustrating experience - be very careful.
Chatting/texting on a phone or computer on topics unrelated to your research is seriously discouraged when you are working in the lab. Such activity apparently represents a serious distraction from one's work, especially when one has to be extremely focused while working on delicate samples or carrying out complex measurements. In our past experience, it led to a huge number samples broken in the middle of the fabrication process, a number of experimental blunders, and lots of wasted time for some of our students addicted to texting.
No listening to music in earphones is the lab. This is a safety violation, as it is a serious distracting factor. In addition, it is known to accelerate hearing loss, especially later in life.
No wearing flip-flops or sandals in the lab. It's a safety violation. In the lab, one should wear shoes with a fully covered top.
No eating in the lab. It's a safety violation. For a snack or coffee break, please use the common area reading room outside of our lab.
Wash hands thoroughly before and after working with any samples, even when you use gloves.
Chemical waste containers for used solvents must be maintained under each fume hood (in the satellite accumulation area). The container must be labeled "Used solvents (include a list of solvents dumped there)". The container can be either a used amber glass bottle of appropriate size or REHS-issued special container (the white plastic bottles for acids and other harsh chemicals). The container MUST NOT be tightly closed. A dedicated funnel must be sitting in the mouth of the container or nearby. The funnel must also be labeled "For dirty solvents only", it must not be used for other purposes.
Used tissues, paper towels, gloves, etc used for cleaning parts with solvents have to be collected from the grey bin under the hood and placed in designated plastic bags on a regular basis (at least once a week). The bags have to be placed away in a trash bin or other designated bin. No chemicals, other that materials exposed to simple non-hazardous solvents (acetone, propanol, ethanol, etc) can be placed in these trash bins.
If you need to work with more dangerous chemicals (acids, etc), first discuss it with the Professor, even if you had prior experience working with such chemicals; second, make sure to dispose such used chemicals only in compatible containers (such as REHS issued white plastic bottles) with appropriate label (sitting under the hood in 286); third, watch for the amount of the waste in the bottle and arrange REHS pickup timely. Waste pick up can be ordered online by filling this form: https://halflife.rutgers.edu/forms/hazwaste.php
The last person leaving for the day is responsible for (a) checking around the labs for basic safety, and (b) locking all the lab doors. Checking for safety includes EGW (electricity, gas, water). "Electricity" includes power devices like furnaces or hotplates that have to be turned off, unless an overnight experiment is performed, ceiling lights, desk lamps, microscope lights, etc. "Gas" includes compressed gas cylinders (make sure the valves are closed, unless it needs to be open for an overnight experiment). "Water" includes any cooling water for equipment such as an electromagnet, a closed-cycle cryostat, etc. All these should be shut off, unless an overnight experiment is performed. If unsure, ask a more senior lab member. It is advised that you know cell phone numbers of your team mates and your Professor in case there is nobody in the building to ask or consult with.
When you need to order gas cylinder(s) or liquid cryogens (liquid N2 or He), please first discuss it with your Professor, unless you already know what you are doing. Use the Instructions for ordering gases.
If you need our machine shop to make a special part or equipment that is not commercially available, please use these instructions for using our machine shop service.
Chemistry stock room. Basic solvents and some usual reagents of moderate purity can be purchased from the Chemistry stockroom (Dept. of Chemistry). To get liquid supplies from there use a special orange plastic carry bucket (usually located in Serin 286). High purity solvents have to be ordered from an outside supplier.
Gloves. We only use powder-free gloves in our lab. Gloves can be purchased from Physics stockroom. Note: Nitrile gloves are expensive, so careful and thoughtful usage is necessary. Wear gloves while performing any work with chemicals (SAM or crystal growth related work), all cleaning work (FTS cleaning, crystal growth cleaning, oil change in vacuum pumps, general lab cleaning), work with vacuum parts (chambers, gauges, flanges etc) and especially any work related to the crystal growth (involving handling of quartz tubes, spatulas, silicone stoppers, ets). While wearing gloves, do not touch anything unrelated to the parts you are working with, such as door knobs, your face and hair, clothes, pens, keyboards, etc. Do not exchange gloves between different tasks. For example, if you just cleaned up the FTS chamber, do not use the same gloves to touch any other unrelated parts. If you were changing pump oil, do not use the same gloves for handling the quartz tubes, etc. Also, change gloves when you go from one level of purity to the next one during the process of preparing your setup. For instance, while cleaning the crystal growth set-up, first thoroughly clean the bench and the surrounding area (this will likely make your gloves very dirty), then change to fresh gloves and do a thorough cleaning of the quartz tubes and tools you will be using (spatulas, stoppers, etc). This might dirty your gloves less and with different contaminants. Still change to a new pair of gloves before the final cleanup of the inner quartz tube and loading of high-purity material into the furnace. The same applies to the parylene growth: do a thorough cleaning of the setup first, then change the gloves before loading parylene and samples into the system. In many cases gloves can and should be re-used. This is OK when you are performing not-so-dirty work, such as handling relatively clean vacuum parts, final cleaning of the quartz tubes, handling substrates and clean lab tools, etc. After such tasks, used gloves should be saved and later re-used for tasks that do not require extreme purity, such as the basic lab cleaning, an initial ''dirty'' equipment cleanup, a pump oil change, etc. Please, make effort to save gloves, yet without jeopardizing the safety and quality of your experiment. Use common sense in this matter.
Manuals for instruments/devices/machines or components should never be discarded. For each piece of equipment that comes with a manual or description of some sort, we make a folder and store the manual and other related documents in that folder labeled with the name of the equipment. These folders should be in a steel cabinet in the lab. Before using the equipment, each student/postdoc must be directed to read the manual at least briefly, and only after that work with a person assigned to this machine/equipment. If there is no person assigned to the equipment, the user should familiarize himself/herself very carefully with the manual, including safety and maintenance protocols. For some of the techniques and procedures, we maintain technical notes on our group's page that might be helpful.
Dry turbo pump stations are NOT to be used in a combination with any parts (chamber, valve or a hose) that have been used with an oil pump. These dry pumps are especially designed to operate without oil to eliminate any oil back-streaming typically occurring in oil-based pumps. Such dry pumps should be used in the experiments, where a potential contamination of the surface of the sample with oil is of concern. Currently, we have three dry pumping stations - red Pfeiffer turbo stations with ISO63 turbo and a diaphragm backing pump - one in Serin 286 and two in the HIM space (NPL).
The preferred time for our regular group meetings is Monday afternoon. Each group member should make an effort to come to the group meetings prepared. Bring your notebook, data and other relevant materials to the group meeting. Your attitude towards the meeting should reflect the fact that this is your chance to show your data and results, as well as discuss possible concerns/questions with your Professor and other team members. Try to "digest" your information, before presenting it at the group meeting.
Data keeping format.
When you put together your data in a file, please follow the following simple rules for data storage/presentation. The Origin file must contain: a very brief title giving the main idea of the measurement, description of your sample including the date of the growth batch, type of device, type of contacts, thickness of the dielectric, etc, correct axes labeling with right units, brief description of the measurement conditions, a file path to these data on your hard drive, a brief list of conclusions you made from this experiment, some extracted numbers (such as, e. g., mobility, photoconductivity, threshold voltage, etc), in some cases, it is useful to include photos of the samples, or SEM/AFM images next to the curves. Please see an example of the data keeping format here. In addition to storing your data on a hard drive and a memory stick, please print them out and attach to a special personal folder, where all your data should be kept. It is also recommended to print out small (reduced size) copies of the main plots and results and attach them with comments to your lab book describing the corresponding experiments.
Weekly research updates.
1. It is recommended that a research update is sent to your Professor via e-mail or a cloud-drive link every Sunday evening. Your update sent on time will give your Professor a chance to look through your data and think about them before the group meeting on Monday, so that he can provide a better input for you on your work. Keeping regular updates helps you to maintain a periodic record of what you've been doing and maintaining a catalogue of your results/thoughts/conclusions in a systematic manner. It is thus very useful for your own successful career, not only for your Professor's personal satisfaction.
2. Your update should be in the form of a power point (or docx) file, in which you should incorporate Origin plots with your measurements, modeling and other details, as described in the "Data keeping format" section. Materials making, sample growth, device fabrication and assembling experimental setups can also be included. The graphs in your pptx file must be ''clickable'' (this can be achieved by copy-pasting the graph directly from Origin by pressing CTRL-J in Origin and then CRTL-V in the Office App). This is necessary, so that your Professor can open the corresponding Origin files with your original data, graphs and other information by double-clicking on the figures in your update.
3. Do not send graphs with unlabeled axes or missing units - this is unprofessional! Always include a concise statement of the purpose before each piece of data/measurement/experiment: this statement should tell the idea or the goal of this task. Always add a short statement of conclusion after each piece of data/measurement/experiment. Always include important experimental details, such as, for instance, the main sample fabrication conditions, film thicknesses, capacitances, type of substrates, date of the crystal growth, measurement conditions (temperature, air/vacuum, light sources and intensities, electrical parameters of your measurements, etc). Include electrical measurement circuitry, if you used something new or unconventional. Always include photographs of your devices and samples (and a sketch or photo of your setup whenever necessary). See "Data keeping format" for more details and examples.
4. Ideally, your update should only contain the last week's results (the most recent data). Do not include the material that has been already reported in the prior updates, unless the old data are needed to show a new finding/idea/modeling or other new insights based on the old data. Do not include materials belonging to another group member, unless your work is based on using such materials. For instance, if you work with samples made by someone else, it is ok (and even necessary) to briefly mention what those samples are, how they were made and their parameters, indicating who made/provided the samples.
5. Always number pages (or slides) of your update. Include the title of the project, your name and the names of your collaborators, as well as the date on the 1st page.
6. Filename of your update should contain your last name, brief name of the project, and the date of the update (for instance, podzorov_WSe2 FETs_070103.pptx).