The innovation engine for new materials

David Kirkhart


Olive Grove Charter School

Grade Level: 

High School

Teaching Position: 

Physical Science, Biology and Math


Andrew Jayich




Mingyu Fan

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Contributions Toward Building a New Ion Trap

Research Project Description: 

An ion trap is a device used in the Andrew Jayich Research Group at UCSB to hold ions still enough to take a picture of them.  In an ion trap, lasers of different specific wavelengths are used to cool ions down enough to stop their motion and send the light emitted to a camera. This summer I contributed to help building part of a new ion trap for the Jayich lab.  The first part of the project was a new “objective” that more efficiently captures light given off of radium atoms.  The second goal was to investigate which lens combination might lead to a better lens setup for a next stage ion trap.  The last portion of my contribution to the lab was attempting to build new miniature ovens that would produce neutral atoms from ion compounds, making it much easier to load the new ion trap.  The end results of these projects should make the studying of radium ions and perhaps someday neutron stars easier for the lab to accomplish in the future.

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

The Color of Flame

Curriculum Project Description: 

This project looks to improve students understanding of the light spectrum along with a few of its connections to the real world.  The four main sections include an introduction to the properties of light, an initial exploration of the light spectrum by building their own cereal box spectrometers, investigating various flames through the use of a lego spectrometer, and analyzing the effects of filters and samples in absorption spectroscopy with a lego spectrometer.  The use of these lego spectrometers allow an analytical approach that normally is not suitable until college.  Though these activities are initially designed for high school physics or physical science level, they can easily be adapted to explore Biology and Chemistry.  Middle School Science is another area that these labs could be used for with only slight modifications.  The projects connect learning to standards in physical science, physics, biology, and earth science.

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