Hamna Khurram, 2020, Computer Science

I worked at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL) and learned about surface science and plasma-materials interactions as related to applications in nuclear fusion. My project was to better understand the surface properties of the rare metal tungsten. Tungsten is a material that could be used to construct the inside parts of a nuclear reactor that needs to withstand interactions with hydrogen plasma. I was trained to use a scanning electron microscope (SEM) – a machine that can provide information about the surfaces of materials – and prepared samples of tungsten with a sample-polishing machine used for microscopy. Through my summer internship, I gained a fuller understanding of what it means to work long-term in a research-lab setting. Based on my experiences, I now have a better idea of what type of career I might want to pursue.