FeAtHEr-Cm in action – 1

We are several weeks into the semester, and my Instrumental Approach to Chemical Analysis students are knee deep in learning about instrument design and preparing their own potentiostats. None of my students had soldered before, and Jarrod gave me permission to share his performance with the world (so long as I mentioned that he’s wearing his Department of ENVIRONMENTAL science shirt to show off his true colors).

And here’s his completed bob173-gamma potentiostat.

Cold cat

So it’s been about 90 degrees in Brockport, and we have had to resort to closing up the house and turning on the AC. I don’t like setting the thermostat too low, and keep it between 74 and 76; however this is apparently too cold for Gimli:

I think he is just being dramatic.

It’s bath time at the grotto

It looks like the robin and grackle young have fledged. Today there is a marked uptick in bathing activity at the grotto. This youngster (a starling) has been dancing around the waterfall trying to find a spot where it can mimic the older birds. Robins and mature grackles dominate the two ideal bathing spots. The shaky, poor color video is due to me filming this with my SLR through the window.

The start of FeAtHEr-Cm

Today I did some electrochemistry.

A cyclic voltammogram

OK, that’s not too surprising from a person who earned is PhD doing electrochemistry; however this is different, and it has nothing to do with me avoiding cyclic voltammetry for the last decade of my career. It’s because I built this:

A potentiostat prototype, with electrochemical cell for scale.

That’s a bare-bones potentiostat built on top of the Adafruit Feather M4 Express and programmed using Circuitpython. There remains a lot of work to be done, but the fact that I could build a functioning scientific instrument for under $30 makes me think that this approach could make it possible one day to have a 1:1 student-to-instrument ratio when teaching voltammetry in analytical chemistry courses.

I’m thinking that it may be possible to build an entire suite of chemistry instrumentation based on the Feather platform, so I’m coining the phrase FeAtHEr-Cm for this project.