Facing Heisenberg at the nanoscale

Nature Nanotechnology version

I worked closely with John Teufel (who now works at NIST) and with JILA Fellow Konrad Lehnert on making this graphic for the JILA Research highlight and for the JILA AMO site, JILA main site, and for JILA Light & Matter Winter 2010 issue. Then project expanded to have the visual for Nature Nanotechnology, and the article is called "Measurement: Facing Heisenburg at the nanoscale" (citation: Nature Nanotechnology 4, 796 - 798 (2009)doi:10.1038/nnano.2009.368). The top image is the Nature Nanotechnology version which was modified to meet the design/style guide for their journal. The second image is the original design that was mainly made for the spread layout of upcoming JILA Light & Matter issue (it looks pretty good in the layout) Check it out Nature Nanotechology article if you want find out more about visual and research. the links are below.

John Teufel use to be in Konrad Lehnert's group at JILA, but he recently graduated and started working at NIST. I worked with him before, so it was nice to have another project working and talking to him about his latest work with Konrad. It started out with emails and phone chats discussing the concepts and visual challenges of "how to explain" the research (Konrad's group always have a good visual challenges for me). John dropped by my JILA office a few times for a few discussions (its nice that NIST is only few blocks down the road from JILA). John made some schematic like figures how the device worked and had some SEM images of the device which was great start. I proposed isometric perspective style illustration which would help the visual with the scale and space a little easier. The device was dense with detail and John and I wanted to emphasis the nanowire area, but not loose sense of the whole device's architecture. I did all the line work in Illustrator using the SSR Method and then used Photoshop for the final touches and layout. Eventually I would like make a flash animation of the device to help explain the vibrations of the nanowire and zoom in and out of the areas of the device to explain how it works.

  • Client: Konrad Lehnert and John Teufel

  • Related Links: Nature Nanotechnology (News and Views) article, JILA Research Highlight article
  • 10/7/09

    Angewandte Chemie - front cover

    My art work is on the cover of "Angewandte Chemie" (2009 International Edition: published online Oct 6, DOI: 10.1002/anie.200905074). I worked closely with Carl Lineberger (at JILA) and Takatoshi Ichino (at University of Texas) in designing the cover image. It is my first cover for this international journal.

    Cover and article description:
    "Photodetachment of the oxyallyl radical anion leads to formation of the oxyallyl diradical, an elusive transient molecule involved in many organic reactions. As described by W. C. Lineberger et al. in their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.200904417), the photoelectron spectrum reveals that the oxyallyl ground state is singlet and the lowest triplet state is only 55 meV higher in energy. The spectral profile indicates that the planar singlet state is the transition state for ring opening of cyclopropanone, while the C-C-C bending motion is activated upon photodetachment to the triplet state."

    I want to especially thank Carl Lineberger and Takatoshi Ichino for entrusting me to work on this project and for working collaboratively with me. This project would not have been as successful nor would it have been completed if the project had not been approached with a team work mentality (working collaboratively is my favorite work style!). I also want to make a special mention about Takatoshi's contribution with helping with GNUplot surface plots and being available during that Saturday and Sunday to trouble shoot the graphics outputs from GNUplot with me.

    Read the paper on the Angewandte Chemie journal website! Links below (check back for updated links and sourcing). For everybody else, yes it is rather complicated to explain, but JILA will be doing a research highlight this winter and I recommend reading that to get a general audience version of the research details and visuals (again check back for updated links).

    THE SHORT SIDE STORY behind this project:

    It was a pretty fun and intense project with a quick turn around of 3-4 days. I was working on several projects at once for several different Fellow groups at JILA. Also I was trying to make major advances on the JILA website overhaul to a CMS design and platform. I was pretty stressed about how I was going to manage all these projects at once and they ALL had really tight deadlines. So I arranged my project queue based on deadline and prioritized importance. Carl's cover project had the most immediate deadline, so I hyperfocused on his project. My project planning and time management skills made it possible to finish this project and stay on top of my other project productions (future posts coming soon!)

    Usually when I start a project like this, I work in extreme close communication with the Fellow(s) and all researchers involved all the way through the project until it is finally submitted. The only problem was that Carl was going to be in Europe during the project and Takatoshi was in Austin, Texas. This particular communication setup initially opened up some logistic barriers, but I carefully figured out my game plan, and how we were all going to stay connected and work through this. How you might ask? extensive active Email threads (I think all of us were constantly checking our email accounts every 10 seconds) and cell phone calls (just got my iphone all app'ed up and ready to go). I figured out everybody's time zones and when the best times were to shoot off communications. Fortunately Takatoshi's time zone wasn't as drastic as Carl's. All n All, everything worked out just fine.

    Carl was around for a day before heading off to Europe, so I quickly started going over the materials with Carl. We talked directly about how to make a cover design about his rather complex research. The title for the paper is "The Lowest Singlet and Triplet States of the Oxyallyl Diradical" which is not the easiest thing to explain visually. I spent a lot of time reading the research and pouring over the powerpoint slides and visuals. At this point Carl and I were emailing and calling Takatoshi about our discussions. The design changed quite a few times, but we all reached a rough consensus about what should and shouldn't be in the cover.

    The game plan was roughly simpified as:

    • Model the (3D) molecules from data with GaussView in high resolution
    • Model the energy surface plots from various math equations with GNUplot (which is Linux based software)
    • Take the model pieces and combine them in layout, done in Illustrator
    • Finalize the design and master the file for print publication

    While this seems simple enough, the process was more complex with the work flow process and communications. I never used GaussView before, so I had to install the software on my machines, quickly read the manual, and crash through some quick tests to make sure I was going to be able to use the software for my workflow. Using GaussView worked out perfectly. So far so good.

    Then I had to do the same thing for the GNUplot application which I got running on my Windows and Linux. Jim from the JILA computing group helped me figure out how to get GNUplot running on the Linux box and my PC box (Thanks Jim!). Next Takatoshi wrote some GNUplot commands and equations which I was also playing with (again after crashing around GNUplot manuals). Takatoshi and I were in constant communication, swapping GNUplot commands back and forth between each other. Then BAM; GNUplot started being a difficult baby with me. Everything was going well until we all realized that GNUplot was rendering the surface plots kinda oddly at certain perspectives. While it was rendering mathmatically correct plots, they looked extremely odd from the particular perspective angles that we wanted. While it was rendering certain basic perspectives correctly, it could not handle 3D perspectives where any region of surface and contour potentially overlapped. Essentially, it was rendering the plots with contours and surfaces that had both hidden and viewable surface regions; that was causing some 3D optical allusions. While it was still mathematically correct, it was extremely hard to tell which parts of the surfaces were supposed to be in front, underneath, top, and in the back. GNUplot didn't have a ray-trace function to help it distinguish what was supposed to be viewable and what was supposed to be hidden (more-or-less Takatoshi and I couldn't find a corrective function nor did we have time to try to figure how to code one in about a day). This essentially made rendering images at high resolution RASTER worthless to us. So Takatoshi and I investigated the 3D and Vector formats. Takatoshi was able to pump out some pretty hot pdf vector versions. I was trying to do the same thing, but my PDF plugin library for GNUplot wasn't working! At this point I was about to pull out my hair because if I couldn't get the pdf version to work properly, then the whole project was in jeopardy. It was quickly becoming a "DO or Die" situation with GNUplot for the whole project. The pdf versions were extremely important in order to get visuals in a scientifically correct format (color mappings, vector contours, etc) that I could correct for the optical discrepancies with my other graphic software. Fortunately Takatoshi was able to render the pdf(s) from GNUplot correctly....So Takatoshi and I were working all day Saturday (until late in our nights) trading GNUplot code and pdf exports. Once Takatoshi and I were done with GNUplot exports, next came me spending quite a bit of time running corrections on the GNUplots exports. Even though it took a long time to fix the plots, the results were well worth it and the data still remains correct and true. Once the GNUplots were fixed, I knew the cover layout was going to be awesome and exactly the way I was originally planning it to turn out. I like it when I get my way.

    After that it was just getting everything together and having a remote round table discussion by email and phone with Carl, Takatoshi and I. Those weren't held at normal business hours due to extreme locations we were all physically at. We all got excited about final results and after a few minor details were adjusted, we were ready for submission (which was hours away). done.

    Full citation: Takatoshi Ichino, Stephanie M. Villano, Adam J. Gianola, Daniel J. Goebbert, Luis Velarde, Andrei Sanov, Stephen J. Blanksby, Xin Zhou, David A. Hrovat, Weston T. Borden, and W. Carl Lineberger, Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. English 48, 8381 (2009).

  • Clients: Carl Lineberger and Takatoshi Ichino

  • Related Links: Angewandte Chemie International Edition, JILA Research Highlight article
  • 10/1/09

    Ti:S crystal in an optical frequency comb laser

    I was asked to come do a photo shoot in Steve Cundiff's lab. Julie has been updating the content on the main JILA website for Precision Optical Frequency Metrology section, and she thought it would be a good idea to get some photos of Ti:S crystal and optical frequency comb laser setup for the website and other potential future uses. John Willits, who is a graduate student in Cundiff's lab, showed me around the lab and helped me with the photo shoot (basically made sure I didn't break anything or touch the lasers). I originally thought I was going to have to do some laser trace photography, but that method was shot down very quickly after a fair warning from John that some parts of the laser arrangement were actually potentially dangerous. The laser setup was really bright bright GREEN, and I was a little worried about how DLSR would handle with this type of light. You could actually see the laser path for the most part, so I wanted to have long exposures in hopes of getting those laser paths to be visible. There wasn't really a lot of room and I was basically balancing ontop of a ladder with a tripod trying to get a steady shot in a dark room. I was getting frustrated with not being able to move around the setup easily, but in the end I got some pretty awesome shots that I am content with. The photos will be on main JILA website (link below) and will probably be used for various presentations and other things. I just wish it could be used for a journal or magazine cover because I think the colors are really vivid and it would make a pretty good print cover.

  • Client: Steve Cundiff

  • Related Links: JILA main website; "Precision Optical Frequency Metrology"
  • 9/8/09

    Ralph Jimenez Photo Shoot (MOABC website)

    Photo shoot Ralph Jimenez in his lab at JILA. Microintegrated Optics for Advance Bioimaging and Control (aka MOABC) needed a lab shot with Ralph for their website. The photo shoot was scheduled pretty quickly. I did not even have the time to bring my lighting kit, so I just worked with the lighting in lab which. We just turned on some lasers (bright green) and I played with the rest of the lights in the lab.

  • Client: Ralph Jimenez

  • Related Links: Microintegrated Optics for Advanced Bioimaging and Control (MOABC) website
  • 7/10/09

    Subsurface Circulations within Sun's Active Regions

    I worked closely with Brad Hindman from the Juri Toomre Group; he came to me about doing some figures for a paper he was publishing titled "Subsurface Circulations within Active Regions" for The Astrophysical Journal. Brad does a lot with Laboratory for Computational Dynamics (LCD) which supports fundamental research on helioseismology and convection and dynamo theory. The scientists at LCD study the dynamics inside stars with helioseismology and design large-scale computer simulations of convection, turbulence, and dynamo processes within stars. They work on a pretty intense TeraGrid network which is basically clusters of supercomputers tied together across the nation. Its pretty neat stuff!

    I just realized that this is my first published astrophysics project. I'm breaking into the astrophysics scene!

    The full citation for the paper is:
    Subsurface Circulations within Active Regions
    Bradley W. Hindman, Deborah A. Haber, and Juri Toomre 2009 ApJ 698 1749-1760 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/698/2/1749

  • Clients: Juri Toomre Group and Brad Hindman

  • Related Links: The Astrophysical Journal
  • 7/8/09


    I worked with Fellow Heather Lewandowski on making this graphic for the JILA Research highlight and for the JILA AMO site. Heather's group did a series of experiments with the classical system of a pendulum on a spring which has monodromy. Monodromy is a term that has been applied in mathematics to systems that run around a singularity; however, there havn't been too many lab experiments involving monodromy. Heather's group decided to do several experiments in order to see if the systems tested had monodromy. I never heard of monodromy, but it was interesting learning how they were essentially doing these classical experiments which would help give them more insight into how other systems might also display these behaviors. The classical monodromy confirmed in the pendulum-on-a-spring experiment is analogous to the bending and stretching behavior of a CO2 molecule.

    I used Maya for this project because it was the easiest and quickest way to depict this classical experimental setup of monodromy (pretty easy to model the springs in Maya and I didn't want to draw it in Illustrator/Photoshop). In a three-dimensional spherical pendulum, for example, the singularity would correspond to the "straight up" position. However, pure bouncing motions around this position tend to be unstable. Because this instability is straight upward against gravity, any small deviation from purely vertical results in motion that could loop around the singularity. It is pretty interesting stuff and I recommend that you read the JILA Highlight article and article published in Physical Review Letters by Heather's Group to find more about the experiment and monodromy. Eventually I would like to take my Maya 3d file and really animate it. The motion is interesting in the context of monodromy. I hate "never having enough time" for the animating parts of these projects. There is always an endless list of new projects getting in the way (i need another me!).

    They apparently used my JILA camera (Panasonic DVX100A) to record video data that they gathered from the experiments. I remember the camera being loaned out for several months (almost a year) which was fine because I wasn't using the camera for any immediate projects myself. I thought it was pretty cool that they were able to use the features/controls of that camera for their experiment. The DVX100A is a notorious camera (known for its low cost and pretty high quality) used widely in the indie film industry and various other productions. Now the JILA DVX100A has another checked "has been used for" use: a classical physics experiment camera.

  • Clients: Heather Lewandowski Group

  • Related Links: JILA Research Highlight article
  • 5/8/09

    Feshbach Resonances in Soft X-ray–Induced O2 Dissociation

    I worked with Fellows Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn from the Kepteyn-Murnane Group. I was originally creating this graphic to be published in an Science magazine article (Science 322, 1081 (2008)). Science is also making this visual available as a PowerPoint slide for teaching purposes.

    The graphic explains the Photoionization. After a X-ray knocks an electron out of an O2 molecule, it takes more than 300 fs before another electron is ejected and the molecule falls apart. The internal state of the molecule prevents the second electron from being ejected until the O nuclei move at least 30 Å (3 nm) apart. Check out the Science article for the research and the JILA Light & Matter article for a more generalized explaination of the research.


    Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

    I worked closely with Fellow Tom Perkins, Gavin King, and Allison Churnside. I was initially rendering an image for the JILA Light & Matter Spring 2009 issue and then after I was done, talk of using the image for everything popped up. I was excited about the possibility of getting the cover of Nano Letters, but the publishers at Nano Letters said they already have all their cover images for the whole year or something along those lines. I found this to be kinda weird and was wondering how they actually run their publication. Do they know exactly what research to publish almost a full year in advance? Regardless Science picked up the image for their Editor's choice which was also pretty neat.

    I have worked on Tom Perkin's stuff on past projects, so I was familiar with some of the visual and potential animation objectives. The intial meeting with Gavin and Tom was pretty quick. I decided I wanted to use Maya for this project because I knew I could make a pretty beautiful rendering pretty quickly AND I could make an animation from 3D file when I had the extra time. The shapes were pretty easy to model (and I already had some 2D illustrator line work that I did previously to use for the "revolve" procedure in Maya). I spent most of my time working on textures, lighting, and colors. I was pretty happy with my lighting. I hate texturing in Maya, but I was able to get the results I wanted pretty efficiently. Of course I am running Maya 8.5 which is two versions old now and no longer supported by Autodesk. So Maya crashed a multiple times during this project which caused me an extra 2 days worth of Maya time. I think I am going finally break down get Maya 2009 Unlimited because the problems I am experienceing will never get fixed unless I upgrade (UPGRAYED!). I didn't use Mental Ray render because it was artifacting some weird stuff in there and I didn't have time to debugg that (and I would have to redo all my textures also). Hopefully the newer verion of Maya will support my current hardware configuration and work well with the latest OS that I am running on both the Mac and PC systems. All n All the final results were pretty good and I was happy with it. I am glad Perkins Group liked results as well and that NIST picked up the image for their press release thing. Hopefully I will get around to the animation part of the project after I get back from my trip this April.

  • Clients: Tom Perkins Group

  • Related Links: Science (Volume 323, Number 5922, Issue of 27 March 2009), NIST Tech Beat, Bio Optics World,In Sciences, Nano Werk, Shanghi Institute of Ceramics Chinese Academy of Science (SICCAS), Thomas Net, R & D Magazine, News Wise, Materials Research Society (MRS), JILA Research Highlight article
  • SQUID(s) (superconducting quantum interference devices)

    I worked closely with Manuel Castellanos-Beltran on this project. JILA had research highlight article for this research, but I wasn't able to make graphic for this research concept at that time because of tight deadlines. Manuel came back to me a few weeks later and he told me that NSF was interviewing him and Konrad about their research. He was asking me about making a visual that would explain their research to wider audience.

    I remember reading the papers and articles for this research, and I thought it would be a pretty hard to visualize some of the underlying concepts as a single image. Konrad and Manuel already had some pretty nice looking SEM images of the SQUID(s), so Manuel mentioned that an artist conception rendering of SQUID(s) might be a good thing for the NSF article. The SEM images of the SQUID(s) are interesting pictures, but they are kinda hard to interpret the actual shape and structure of the SQUID(s) themselves. So I proposed to make isometric illustration of the SQUID(s) which would see the shapes and pieces of the SQUIDs. Isometric illustrations are common for engineering diagrams, architecture, and manual diagrams. The SEM images kinda make the SQUIDs look like one piece when they are actually made up of multiple (very thin) layers and pieces. I did all the line work in Illustrator using the SSR Method and then used Photoshop for the final touches. I kept my colors palette to greens and blues to relate more to the original SEM images.

    Read the NSF article to find more about the SQUID(s) research. The NSF article is pretty good with explaining the concepts to a general audience.

  • Clients: Konrad Lehnert and Manuel Castellanos-Beltran

  • Related Links: NSF, Research.gov, Nanotechnology Now, JILA Research Highlight article
  • JILA MONSTRs laser photography

    This was a fun photo shoot involving lasers from the JILA MONSTR system. I actually did this photo shoot the day before I left for the Christmas holiday (i think it might have been Christmas eve) which was a perfect time since everybody was gone and nobody was currently running experiments with the MONSTR system. Twas the night before Christmas, And all through the JILA hallways. Not a creature (or grad) was-ah-stirring. Not even a mouse ha! sorry i had to do it, but it really did feel like that at JILA on that day...really. Nobody was there EXCEPT for Alan Bristow. Alan helped with the photo shoot so it turned out to be a really fun collaboration (plus he had the keys to the labs). AND he brought his sweet lovely precious, expensive DSLR Nikon camera with a decent lens! I only have SRO's lame Canon Rebel XT DSLR which is no where close to Alan's model. The Rebel XT that I use at JILA is "ok" and it works fine, but it is really a cheaper scaled back version of the more professional standard Canon 20D SLR which is what I currently use for my personal projects (with SIGMA lens). After being familiar with the Canon 20D and 30D models (and even the Nikon DSLRs too), lets just say Rebel XT has many short comings when it comes to its color calibrations, light metering system, and its auto focusing matrix (you get what you paid for is the only thing that comes to mind). I inherited the Rebel XT from my predecessor when I first start working at JILA, and I have been putting a new pro DSLR on my JILA Christmas wish list every year but the JILA Santa fails to deliver a sweet new Canon DSLR under the tree. Anyways......Alan had his camera, so I quickly abandoned the Rebel XT in favor of getting to use his camera. Alan and I were pretty excited about the photo shoot because it was problem solving game. It wasn't just a regular photo shoot where you just set up some lights and point-n-shoot. We wanted to turn on the lasers and doing some laser trace photography.

    I heard about some of the methods for doing this, but I never had the chance to actually try it out. Even when the lasers are turned on, you can't see them with the naked eye. JILA MONSTR has all sorts of red and green lasers going every which way. Basically we setup the lights the way we wanted and then opened the shutter for a super long exposure. So we would put a white piece of paper attached the end of a thing stick or wire and trace the path with the paper. The only major problem was the tripod which was "janky" and broken, so it was pretty tough keeping it from falling apart. The shoot went well and we eventually got all the types of exposures I wanted to make my final blend of the images together.

    Special thanks goes to Alan Bristow for collaborating with me on this photo shoot and for turning on the JILA MONSTR. If you are curious about what the heck is a JILA MONSTR and why its such a beast, then read the Highlight article below. JILA actually has two of these laser systems machined by the JILA machine shope.

  • Clients: Ralph Jimenez and Steve Cundiff

  • Related Links: JILA Research Highlight article
  • Quantum Dots

    I worked with David Nesbitt who explained to me how quantum dots worked and how his research involved quantum dots. I made a simulation/animation that shows what turns a quantum dot off and on, but I haven't had time to finish that part of the project yet. My main focus to was to finish the still graphic before the deadline for the print issue of JILA Light and Matter and for the website. I really didn't know much about quantum dots before David's explanation and his research. I did some background research and I found out that quantum dots are fairly popular and that there is a lot of excitement about finding out more about quantum dots and their applications. It seems like one of the main questions centered around quantum dots was their ability to turn off and on and how to predict this (and potentially control it). So I wanted to make the visual that explains some the mechanisms behind the turning off and on feature. Its actually a very complex process, so it was difficult trying to figure out a clean and accessible way of explaining the process visually.

    I use Maya for this project because I wanted model the quantum dots structure which consisted of a interior of cadmium seleide (CdSe) and then surrounded by a shell of zinc sulfide (ZnS).

  • Client: David Nesbitt

  • Related Links: JILA Research Highlight article
  • 2/19/09

    Time Poster - Governor's Research Impact Award

    This a poster ( print size 3ft x 4ft) that I designed for Fellow Judah Levine for the Governor's Research Impact Award that he received Feb 17, 2009. The print version came out really well and actually looks better printed than in the digital format (usually its the other way around). The JILA chair and Judah came to me and asked me about doing a poster for his nomination ( and eventually onto being the finalist for the award) and I said I would do it. I was naturally excited about the prospect of designing a poster and doing the print work; however the problem was I was having too many ideas come into my head and I was having a problem trying to organize the information in a clear and clever manner. Of course Judah came by and made a quick list of items that needed to be on the poster. It was a start, but it didn't really help me because the ordering of the list didn't make much sense to me.

    First things first. I need to absorb the idea and brainstorm. So I took this scratch paper list, looked it over, and spent all weekend brainstorming, organizing, and researching, and sketching. I spent a lot time on this part so that I could get a design that would work, grow, and would be able to finish within a week and a half. I had to think about my audience which were going to political types and business types.....basically as some scientists would put it "normal" people who only know a little bit of science. I had to think about the concept of time or precision time that Judah is involved with. I had to think about how to include both organizations of NIST and JILA into the design. I also had to think about whether I would need setup photo shoots or just use stock photography or both or none at all. think think think...draw, design, draw...... think think think

    Finally I arrived several potential designs that I could really work into something for this project. I didn't arrive at any one golden perfect idea, but I figured I had the workings of several malleable ideas. I was pretty proud of myself by the end of that Sunday. I made a quick mock up of one of my more favorite ideas. I liked it, but it was kinda intense and radical which is why I liked it i guess. I showed a NYC designer friend of mine Tommy E. (i call him my Marc Jacobs designer) who was online working over the weekend with me. He was there chatting with me all weekend and he wanted to see my design. He peer pressured me into showing him my design. Short story: he commented that it was really a interesting idea and look...very Dada...very minimalistic ...very Sharp edges and lines. He caught the hourglass concept and etc. I said exactly! He mentioned that I should play around with making the edges smoother and more shading, but i said yea and no. While i understand that circles (hence clocks) and hour glass form itself have very smooth structures, I wanted the edges to be sharp and push the colors to be more flat to allude to the precision of time as a constant and not variable (as in curvatures and shading). So the main center graphic references to the abstraction of several time pieces such as hour glass, clock, interval rotation, and even the sun. I liked it because the shapes weren't directly saying what it was in a literal format. Depending on how you interpret the shapes you could arrive at any one or all those conclusions. Anyways I placed the two organization on either halves of the shape to make it look like both NIST and JILA work together on precision time. I organized essentially two contrasting columns on the sides of poster. The right column side is for "Time Services" that NIST and JILA actually provide. The left column side is for "Time Service Clients" which are types of people or fields of interest that actually depend on NIST and JILA's time services.

    I felt pretty good about the various ideas I was working with. The next part was involving my boss (she is the writer in our office and likes to be involved with anything involving written content). I figured this would be a great project to team build together which I desperately needed help on because I was juggling several other projects with tight deadlines for some of the other Fellows at the same time. I figure I had enough rough visual ideas that it would help jump start dialogue with my boss about "melding" the visual components with the potential content. I like thinking and designing within a collaborative team. So that Monday I eagerly set up a meeting with my boss to show her my visual ideas and all my notes and concepts for the project. Well things didn't turn out so well. She looked at my sketches and I explained all my ideas. She said it was interesting, but she said it in that hesitant way. Designers know this reaction from clients. Then she said that it didn't look like it would really work (and this i am assuming was for all my sketch ideas) and that Judah would surely not care for it. BASICALLY rejected. At this point I was fine with that response and I figured she would have this sorta opinion or not get it... which happens. I figured "great!" , now lets deconstruct and/or reconstruct something and figure something out that WILL work. But this didn't happen either and i wasn't able to get tangible feedback. So I left and went to my office trying to figure out why all my designs was treated with doubt. Felt like someone throat punched me (ask ian about throat punching. ian's stories seem stick in my mind in an uncanny and unhealthy way sometimes). Anyways, Judah happened to come by the office "great! rub the failure directly in my face with the Fellow also". Well Judah took a quick look and said "Wow this is great". I thought he was being sarcastic or just nice. But i looked at him and he genuinely "figured" the designed out. I even asked several direct questions to test him. He knew exactly what i was trying to do with the shapes and organization. He just said keep going with it, and I was like GREAT! I felt like i got my voice back and I could get to work with some tangible feedback and support. From then I basically worked on it directly with Judah and relied on his feedback and opinions.

    My design was throat punched and then resurrected. The main point is that I finished the project as I projected and everybody liked the final product (well nobody said anything negative about it abo). The poster was on display at the governor's mansion or wherever the award ceremonial was done.

    I kept getting some really good comments from the other staff, grads, post docs, and Fellows. Thanks for the support guys! The poster was also on displayed in JILA reception lobby. If you get a chance, go check it out because the physical version is definitely better than the digital version. I was walking past and I overheard a post doc from one of the groups talking to his a colleague say "Yeah its intense!". I just smirked and continued walking down the hallway almost about laugh out loud with the feeling that I got away with something (making it eye catching and not traditional). Its interesting seeing people view my art work and hearing their reactions with my wondering ear.

    Eight Days A Week did the printing, and they did a pretty decent job. Also I didn't realize that 3ft by 4ft is actually pretty big....physically. When I was designing I kept visualizing a more standard poster size; the kind you see hanging up in a classroom or something. I realized how big it was when I was printing a proto-type with JILA's printers and it was taking a long while to do.

    All the art and photographs were done by me except for a few off location photographs that were provided by: NIST, NASA/JPL-Caltech NAIC - Arecibo Observatory (a facility of the NSF), and the close shot of the wall clock was done by Sanja Gjenero.

    If you want a larger higher resolution version to read the details, just email me. Also Judah might put the pdf up on his website at some point.


    Optical traps for single molecule biophysics

    I worked closely with Fellow Tom Perkins on this techincal illustration of biophysical signals and optical-trapping geometries. I made the illustration late in 2008, but it did not get published to Laser & Photonics Reviews until Feb 2009. The top image is the final layout for the journal article with some visual adjustments by Tom Perkins.

    Caption Text for Figure 3:
    (online color at: www.lpr-journal.org) Comparison of different biophysical signals (a–g) and optical-trapping geometries (i–vii) used to study nucleic acids and nucleic-acid enzymes. (a) A “tug-of-war” signal between the biological molecule and the trap develops as an anchored protein (gold cone) moves along a nucleic acid (red and green) pulling the bead (blue sphere) in an optical trap (pink). (b) A ”conversion” signal uses the conversion from dsDNA (red and green) to ssDNA (green), or the reverse, to change the elastic properties of the tether and thereby measure enzymatic motion. (c) Opening of a nucleic-acid hairpin (through increased force, enzyme motion, or protein melting) leads to more single-stranded nucleic acid under tension and, therefore, motion of the trapped bead. (d) A “popping” signal occurs when sequestered nucleic-acid segments are released as the force in the trap is increased. This signal can be used to measure binding or looping of a protein (purple). (e) Fluorescent tracking of the motion of an enzyme (red cone) either by dye (green halos) displacement or a small fluorescent particle (green sphere) attached directly to the enzyme under study. (f) Fluorescence-resonance energy transfer (FRET) of two nearby fluorophores (D and A, donor and acceptor) leads to emission of red (acceptor) light if the fluorophores are close together. If the strands were separated by force or enzymatic motion, the FRET efficiency would change. (g) A torsional signal (enzyme rotational movement, nucleic-acid supercoiling) can be obtained by using birefringent particles (grey cylinder) and an optical trap which measures torque. (i) The nucleic acid is stretched between an anchor point on the surface and the trapped bead in the surface-coupled geometry. (ii) A micropipette holds one bead via suction while the other bead is optically trapped. (iii) Fluid flow (arrows) extends DNA attached to an optically trapped bead. (iv) Two traps holding two beads connected by a nucleic-acid molecule, often called a ”dumbbell” geometry. (v) Vertical stretching of a nucleic acid, similar to (i), but pulling straight up. (vi) A double dumbbell geometry, or ”quad” trap, allows precise manipulation and measurement of two nucleic-acid molecules for studying a protein (purple) which binds the two molecules together. (vii) Pulling a DNA molecule through a nanopore using an optical trap. Figures are schematic representations from references found in the main text. The biophysical signals shown can be measured through a variety of trapping geometries. For example, the enzyme moving along a nucleic acid which creates the “tug-of-war” signal could be anchored to a cover slip (i), a bead held by a micropipette (ii), or a second optically trapped bead (iv).

    The Full citation: Laser & Photonics Reviews [article Fig 3], "Optical traps for single molecule biophysics: a primer", February 2009, Vol 3, Issue 1-2, Page 207

  • Client: Thomas Perkins

  • Related Links: Laser & Photonics Reviews article (Feb 2009, Vol 3 Iss 1-2, Pg 203-220) article
  • 1/20/09

    Chemcial Physics Letters - front cover

    My art work is on the cover of "Chemical Physics Letters" (January 13, 2009 issue)! I worked closely with Mike Thorpe in designing the cover image. This is my first CPL cover, so I was pretty excited about doing it.

    Mike showed me some his figures and graphics he worked on and we figured out a combination of elements that we wanted to emphasize. The covers of CPL tend to have a wide range of graphics that can be really just technical graphs and dense figures usually submitted by the researchers themselves. I thought this would be a good opportunity to make an awesome graphic with some simple schematic elegance. Yes, I understand the typical reader of CPL probably doesn't care whats on the cover nor about the accessibility of the information that could be gathered from the image. Regardless I wanted to make a graphic that visually worthy for a cover AND be able to be used by Jun Ye's group for whatever purpose (website, powerpoint, etc). Plus, I believe the visual front of someone's research should be well considered and accessible. I decide to make a really clean figure-like image of the experiment and showoff the actual end result data. The resulting image data is depicting the interactions of the C2H2.

    Mike did me the great favor of letting me know of this cover project early on and made himself available to me. This gave me the time and feedback to design and create the graphic pretty efficiently. Also I was balancing several other projects at once, so it was nice to be able to plan for the project balance. I used Maya to model the C2H2 at different angles and to get the correct lighting on the molecules. I used Illustrator for the line work and then Photoshop to compile the image together and put on the finishing touches (lighting, texture, etc).

    This is my fourth cover in the past few months. Covers are fun to design and produce, and I am happy that they are all different and focus on several of JILA's major research topics. My goal was to make all my covers different AND for different types of publications that range from main stream science magazines to hard science journals.


    Nation's backup time scale WWV station photoshoot

    Fellow Judah Levine invited me to come out to the WWV remote transmission station, located 12 miles northwest of Fort Collins to shoot some photos for the upcoming JILA Light & Matter article titled "Spare Time". Naturally I was pretty excited about getting away from the desk (which is currently messy with my sketches from other other projects) and checking out this backup time scale WWV. I have heard about it, but I never experienced it myself. Driving out there in a government suburban with computer parts in the back felt like we playing a part in some kind of X-Files episode. Questions like "what does a place housing the backup time scale look like?, What consitutes a time scale?, Is this location top secret?" kept popping in my head. Of course the WWV station rather simple looking, but if you are geek like me then you get excited that time is counting right there in front of you and who is depending on these numbers. The WWV site is really just a bunch of radio towers and building fool of computers and vintage equipment. The computer vault itself was kinda crazy. I felt like it could absorb a missle strike. There were a lot of water bottles in the room, and I was just imagining that were for the person who would have lock themselves in the vault to protect the Nations Time or else all hell would break out. But no, they were just there to absorb the massive amounts of heat that computers were generating. Regardless it was really fun and see a new part of Colorado.

    I really did feel like Fox Mulder from X-files and that I needed a gun (and having Scully next time giving me sound and objective advice about my suspicions would be pretty hot too) because some aliens or foriegn governement agency was about come fuck with AMERICA's TIME....also i had my camera so I could finally get the proof that Scully is always nagging me about.

    Quantum Computing

    Fellow Jun Ye came to talk to Julie about his "vacation" at Caltech where he worked with former JILA Fellow Peter Zoller on coming up with the basic theoretical framework for a quantum computer. I was asked to make a visual that explain's Ye's and Zoller's potential quantum computer. So I fashioned this graphic after doing some 3D Maya modelings that depicits how the optical lattic is used to cycle between various of combinations of the atoms and their spins. Read the article and look to future journal publications. I hope Jun Ye continues his quantum computing stuff, so I can make some awesome motion graphics for it. I already have some of the 3D modeling done. The visual got a little complex with the n-bit register formula thrown in there, but Jun Ye insisted that right type of people will know what that means. I think Jun Ye, wanted me to put that formula on the computer screen, so he can use it for powerpoint presentations.