what kind of chemistry do you do?
I’m an inorganic synthetic chemist who specializes in a few heavy metals and a specific type of structure using different flexible ligands (I’m afraid I can’t be less vague; my research is specialized enough that it would be rather identifiable).
In general, I design molecules with my metal/ligand components and synthesize (or attempt to synthesize) them in lab. I then work the compounds up through crystallization so I can utilize single crystal x-ray diffraction on an instrument like this:
This bombards the crystal with x-rays and allows me to collect data to produce a structure of the molecule, which gives me bond lengths, angles, etc. This is the crystal I’m currently running (it’s huge and awful, really, but I just need to confirm what it is before I care about a better collection). The crystal looks enormous on the screen - and it is large by my usual standards - but in actuality, the loop the crystals sit on are quite small:
The crystals go on the very tip of that loop, so I do a lot of work under a microscope.
It’s a pretty neat process (when reactions behave), and for the most part I do enjoy my work. Bonus perk is that many of my compounds display luminescence, so I keep a black light handy: