On-line Laboratory for Remote Polymer Crystallization Experiments Using Optical Microscopy

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2003 - 89 Seiten
This thesis discusses the architecture of an on-line optical microscopy laboratory, or iLab, in which students remotely conduct and analyze polymer crystallization experiments using a polarized light microscope under controlled temperature conditions. The Polymer Crystallization iLab involves melting a polymer sample and subsequently cooling it down to a temperature below its melting point in order to study isothermal crystallization phenomena. By analyzing the rates of nucleation and crystallite growth, students can characterize the kinetics of crystallization. As melting the polymer erases any prior history of the sample, the experiment can be repeated numerous times without requiring intervention in the laboratory. The architecture was designed with the goal of replicating the real laboratory experience to the maximum extent possible. Streaming temperature data and images from the microscope are sent to a Java applet, allowing the student to view and interact with the experimental apparatus in real time. The Java applet client runs on any conventional web browser and provides considerable latitude to students conducting the experiment, while ensuring proper safeguards. Students can record and save images and related data to a server to perform analysis at a later date. The analysis can either be conducted remotely on the server or the images can be downloaded to the user's computer for local analysis.

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