James Hedberg

Science Projects

I like to do things. Sometimes those things end up in publishable documents - others times they don't have such a glamourous destiny. Here are few things I've done, some of which never quite made it off the factory floor.

Carbon Nanotube Growth and Characterization

I spent much of my Master's work growing Carbon Nanotubes and looking at them in electron microscopes. It was a good project to begin my scientific endeavors. The parameter space associated with CVD based growth is quite large, and so we had to be very attentive to all the variables that might be influencing the nanostructure formation.

  • Platinum catalyst particles (blackish blobs) seen inside carbon nanotubes (light gray blobs).

  • Here's a nice, ordered growth of CVD nanotubes.

  • The very tip of a nanotube showing the catalyst particle.

  • Before I knew how to use computers, I would use old fashioned visualization techniques to document the apparatuses.

The Maglev Train


I built a levitating train for the WOW Lab a few years ago. It uses some superconductors and rare-earth magnets to suspend the train a centimeter or so off the track. If you're interested in building one, you can find all sorts of instructions we put together here.

Diatoms and Germanium


This was one of my very first projects back in Portland. It was a pretty cool experiment that a group at Oregon State University was working on. The goal was to trick diatoms, little microscopic organisms that live in seawater, into making their bodies using semiconducting elements, as opposed to their natural SiO2. I was the helm on the TEM for some of the early characterization experiments – the proof of concept stages used to show that such a trick was even possible. This did get a write up in Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Space and Time

absorber theory

Yes, there does exist a small side of me that does physics with a pencil. Here is a write-up I did a while back regarding the Wheeler-Feynman Absorber theory of radiation, in case you're interested in that. (pdf)