On day 66 BD I met my supervisor to go through the thesis plan. He confirmed my mixed feelings about the lack of experimental data for two chapters, but helped me to choose plan A and B. Plan A meant I had to go into the cleanroom for two weeks to do another fabrication batch, but I thought it was worth trying. And indeed, the processed lasers look good and I am just finishing the characterisation of the first device from this batch.
The problem with the lack of data was due to difficult fabrication and my somewhat unenthusiastic attitude towards fabrication. I have never been attached emotionally to my devices (other people are, really!) and I would just shrug if things did not work. This time I prepared a table with every single step and I duly noted acid preparation times, pump durations, base pressures etc. Much of the fabrication has actually been done by my colleague, Yuqing, who is – fortunately for me – much more diligent than myself. Every evening I would send us an e-mail with a plan for the next day. It’s amazing how such a little thing helps, especially with thinking about next steps and what you need to prepare (order a dewar of helium, fill in a form for a workshop job, check if you have dummy samples ready for fabrication etc.). Too many times during my processing batches I ran into bottlenecks which I could have avoided by thinking about them in advance. Anyway, by the end of the next week I will know if the diligence will have paid off, but the results so far look good.
Writing hasn’t progressed since my last post, at least not in the form of the thesis — I have done some refinements of my paper. I submitted it yesterday for review. It took me about 50 h to write it and implement my co-authors’ suggestions. I think I’ll make it into a chapter when I get reviews form the journal as they will surely ask about things I have not thought about.