Resources for PhD Students

Links to useful resources are compiled here for research students in Dr. Louie’s group.  They are also being made freely available to anyone who might find them helpful.  You are welcome to download any .docx files and modify however you wish for your own personal use. Feedback or corrections to Dr. Louie ( are also appreciated.

General Advice for PhD Students

Matt Might’s “Illustrated Guide to a PhD” and “3 qualities of successful Ph.D. students

Laboratory Protocols

*Manufacturer’s guidelines should take precedence over any informal tips.

General Topics:

– Working Smart in Lab – GoodLaboratoryPractice.docx
– Pre-Lab Questions –  Pre-Lab-Questions.docx
Zimmerman (2010). “10 Best Practices of Good Laboratories.” ASTM Feature Article.

Basic Laboratory Operations:

Glassware Cleaning:
– Official guidelines – Sigma Aldrich / AceGlass
– Solvent miscibility table – Restek
– Additional tips (Louie lab) – GlasswareCleaningTips.docx
Sample Preparation:
– Always read the manual for your specific device!
– Watch video lessons 1, 7, 11, 13, and 14: MIT OCW Digital Lab Techniques
– Sample preparation (Louie lab) –  SamplePreparation.pptx
“Am I About to Break Something?”
– Chemical compatibility, centrifuging –  AvoidableMishaps.docx

Nanoparticles and Colloids:

Read any applicable CEINT/NIST protocols. Some especially useful ones for our lab:
– Dynamic Light Scattering Protocol (NIST/NCL SP1200-6)
– Nanoparticle Dispersion Protocols (several)
– Ultrasonication Calibration and Optimization (NIST SP1200-2)


Size Exclusion Chromatography with Multi-Angle Light Scattering – Coming soon

Small Molecules:

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with Quadrupole Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (QTOF MS) – Coming soon

Writing and Literature Review

Literature Review:

– Some tips are provided in this video tutorial

Literature Critique:

– Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature – CriticalArticleReview.docx
(This document was prepared to help Ph.D. students for their qualifying exams, which involves a critique of a published article. It can also be useful for students to apply these questions while they are writing manuscripts about their own data.)

Manuscript Outlines:

– Read Whitesides, G.M. (2004). Whitesides’ Group: Writing a Paper. Adv. Mater. 16: 1375–1377. doi:10.1002/adma.200400767

Templates and Formatting:

– Cover Letter –  CoverLetterTemplate.docx
– Manuscript –  Manuscript-Template.docx
– Supporting Information – Coming Soon
– Figure Formatting – Video tutorial for Veusz
– EndNote – Video tutorial

Grammar and Plagiarism Checkers:

Turnitin – Class ID and Password will be provided by Dr. Louie

Reading recommendations

Colloids and Surface Science:

– Hiemenz and Rajagopalan, Principles of Colloid and Surface Chemistry.
– Israelachvili, Intermolecular and Surface Forces.
– Elimelech et al. Particle Deposition & Aggregation: Measurement, Modelling, and Simulation.
– Ryan and Elimelech (1996). Colloid mobilization and transport in groundwater. Colloids Surf. A, 107: 1-56. DOI 10.1016/0927-7757(95)03384-X.
– Stumm and Morgan, Aquatic Chemistry, Chapters 9 and 14.


– Hiemenz and Lodge, Polymer Chemistry.
– Fleer et al., Polymers at Interfaces.
– Thurman, Organic Geochemistry of Natural Waters.


Hilary Glasman-Deal, Science Research Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English.