Our research generates lots of AFM images and current/voltage data. We also try a lot of different recipes when creating new samples. The data contains gems of insight that we don't alway notice right away. It might be the next day, the next week, or the next year that a new understanding dawns. Imagine one year from now looking back through your lab notebook and computer files. Would you be able to uncover the gems?

Based on the “one-year-from-now” criteria, choose a organization protocol and stick to it. Here is a default protocol that can be applied to both AFM images and electrical data:

  • On the AFM computer store files as follows: Your_name/Data/2007-07-07/Image_001
  • For every file on the computer, there should be a corresponding description in your lab notebook. Your lab notebook might look like this: “2007-07-07. Chip C1: tried to grow tubes yesterday. Now checking for tube growth
    • Image_001 Good image, 10×10 micron, see lots of tubes, oxide looks very clean”
  • Lab notebooks must be kept in pen. A pencil record is not good for proving that you discovered something first.
  • When you finish using the AFM, copy the folder “2007-07-07” onto your space on the Z drive. This ensures you have a backup. Every year or so you will have to clean up your Z drive by burning data onto a DVD.

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