While I was at Berkeley in summer 2015, I very much wanted to check out the laboratory up on the hill, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, but I did not have the access. I was lucky enough to graduate college one semester early, and I dedicated that bonus semester, spring 2016, to work as an SULI (Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship) intern at the Cyclotron Road at LNL.
With minimal knowledge in chemistry, I dived into this internship and I ended up doing well. At LBL, I designed, assembled and operated a custom chemical reactor that converts sugars to plastics. With the working reactor, I designed and carried out catalytic optimization experiments to maximize product yield. To analyze results, I utilized gas chromatography (GC), mass spectroscopy (MS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to study the final products.
Zeyan Xu, Brian Neltner, Deepak Dugar. “Optimization of Thermochemical Reactions for Eco-friendly Plastic Materials Production”. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Intern Poster Session. 04/2016
Link to poster: SULI Poster