Ismael Catovic, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering
I was fortunate this summer to work with the Surface Science group at PPPL, headed by Professor Bruce Koel, preparing an Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopic (UPS) instrument for use in the lab. Using techniques such as UPS, the Surface Science group analyzes chemical interactions at the atomic level with the aim of determining the properties of plasma-facing component materials to be used in plasma fusion reactors. UPS works by generating ultraviolet light, which strikes the surface being analyzed and causes a valence electron to be emitted. By measuring the kinetic energy of the emitted electrons, also called photoelectrons, one can accurately determine which molecular species are adsorbed or bonded to the surface as well as their orientation. I researched various types of UPS instruments and prepared a home-built Helium UPS instrument. I also took measurements and specifications of the UPS instrument so that it could be duplicated in the future. My experience working at PPPL opened my eyes to some of the extensive applications of Chemical Engineering and reconfirmed my commitment to its study.