In this week, I was finally able to make a sense out of the data I am collecting. Before I give a quick explanation you should know my objective, which is to find the concentration of water in volcanic glass samples from the ocean floor. The FTIR does this by giving the concentration of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Now, it will be difficult to explain without images, since I forget to take pictures, but I will try to give an abridged form. So, this “data” I’m getting from the FTIR comes in the form of a graph and on the graph there are at least three peaks. The first one indicates oxygen and the other two carbon dioxide (which are very close together). I’ll be honest, I don’t know or understand how you identify those peaks to be concentrations of O2 or CO2 but I was told that and I’ll just assume it’s something very complicated to explain.
Okay so with these graphs I can then measure the peaks height and absorbance (or was it concentration?). From here, I take this data along with several other data points and the average thickness of the same sample and plug it into a prepared excel sheet that my mentor created. This excel spreadsheet has several parts to it where you just plug in the values accordingly and your end result is an approximation of water concentration in the sample.
This about sums what I learned in a very not-so-detailed fashion.
I was assigned my own set of samples to work on. If I recall, they originate from or near the East African rift.
As I work along with these samples, I will give in better detail the process I undergo with pictures!