Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Cyanotyping for Black Rock
In a couple of weeks I am off to the Black Rock Desert for an amazing trip - to launch balloons and rockets that will contain a device we have made for sampling the air in the Stratosphere to try and detect microbes at 41km above the surface of the earth - above the ozone layer. We'll be sampling the air around the launch sites to check how many microbes are present at ground level and I wanted to record the plates by using what we'll have a lot of - sunshine. So I have used some agar dishes (one with bacteria on the right and one without on the left) as 'masks' on a cyanoprint. And you can really see the little bugs!! The cyanotyping takes advantage of the photochemical properties of iron hexacyanoferrate (which you might know as Prussian blue). I simply painted the light sensitive chemical on to some paper in the dark, left it to dry and then in the sunshine place the two dishes on top for 2 and a half minutes before washing in cold water to stop the process.