As summer comes to an end after three awesome weeks of television between the Olympics and Shark Week, I cannot wait to be back at school and start taking classes again.  And on the subject of the Olympics, I just want to say congratulations to all of team USA for their accomplishments, and also all the olympians who graduated from USC.  USC sent 41 athletes to London, winning 12 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze medals.  If USC was a country, it would have ranked 6th in gold and 11th overall.  I have to say that is pretty impressive!!

Besides watching the Olympics, I have worked really hard on my research project with quantum dots.  I worked on this project last semester as well (an experience you can read about here) but this semester I focused on a different aspect of producing quantum dots.  A really important characteristic in quantum dots is the size of the organic ligand which forms a kind of coating around the quantum dots. One way that better understanding ligand exchange in quantum dots could benefit medicine is that it may lead to nanoparticles that can be used to target certain proteins or cells based on the types of ligands it has.  This summer I worked on lead sulfide quantum dots, changing the length from an 18 carbon chain to a 5 carbon chain.  When the length of the ligand was shortened, the quantum dots became considerably more fragile.  The quantum dots I work with oxidize easily, and therefore must always be contained in an argon or other inert gas environment.  I decided to investigate the impact the ligand had on the quantum dots sustainability in an oxygen environment, and it seems that the shorter ligands protected the dots from oxygen exposure better.  This project was really interesting and I loved working in the lab and just being around campus during the summer!

Reaction to make lead sulfide quantum dots with an 18 carbon ligand
Lead Oleate + Bis(trimethylsylil) sulfide -> Quantum Dots!

Graph showing the results of my research. Blue lines are quantum dots with longer ligands and green lines are ones with shorter ligands. In general, green lines are higher than blue lines meaning that air didn’t hurt the quantum dots with shorter ligands as much as the quantum dots with longer ligands!

I can’t believe the summer is almost over now and I move back to USC in about a week!! There is so much this fall that I’m looking forward to, from the classes I’ll be taking to the organizations I’m involved in to FOOTBALL SEASON to just being around all my friends again.  Instead of rambling on about all the reasons I I’m excited to begin the fall, I’ll give you my top five things I’m most excited about.

5. Rushing a sorority.  Greek life is a prominent and positive group on campus and I’m very excited to get involved in the sisterhood, philanthropy, and social aspects a sorority has to offer.

4. Moving into an apartment.  Next year I will be living with my best friends in an off campus apartment, and I can’t wait to decorate my room and have access to a kitchen to bake and cook (although I’m sure I’ll be missing having a cafeteria very soon- especially the waffles!)

USC Waffles at EVK

3. Academy Coaching.  The Freshman academy is a class that all incoming engineering students take and each class has two upperclassmen mentors.  It was one of my favorite experiences of my first semester and I can’t wait to be a mentor for the incoming freshmen! Here’s a link to read more about the freshman academies and my fellow coaches!!

2. As a sophomore, my classes are becoming more in depth and specialized towards my major.  I’m excited for the challenge of upper division courses and really finding out more about what a chemical engineer needs to know! I’ll be taking thermodynamics, analytical chemistry, physics 2 (electricity and magnetism), baroque art history (an upper division class for my minor!), and yoga for something fun!

1.  Football Season! One of my favorite parts of attending USC is attending the football games.  It is absolutely amazing to see the coliseum packed with 90,000 fans all decked out in cardinal and gold.  It’s a time when the Trojan family becomes truly apparent and its just exciting!!

Fighting on!


There’s so much to look forward to this fall I’m very excited!

Lyssa Aruda-2015

Lyssa Aruda-2015

Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology), Class of 2015, Learn more on her profile here!