Program in Plasma Science and Technology

The Program in Plasma Science and Technology is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). It is sponsored by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and provides interdisciplinary support to graduate student research in plasma science and technology and their impact on society. The PPST offers a summer internship program for undergraduates. It is guided by an Executive Committee comprised of faculty from six departments and PPPL.

About Plasmas

Plasmas, the fourth state-of-matter, are collections of freely moving charged particles in which collective phenomena, such as waves, dominate the behavior of the system. Applications of plasma science and technology meld several traditional scientific and engineering disciplines.

Plasmas are essential to many high-technology applications. X-ray laser research is prominent in the PPST as is fusion energy research for which the fuel is a high-temperature plasma. Lower-temperature plasmas are used for a growing number of materials fabrication processes including the etching of complex patterns for micro- and macro-electronic and optical components and the deposition of tribological, magnetic, optical, conducting, insulating, and catalytic thin-films.

Plasmas are also important for illumination, microwave generation, destruction of toxic wastes, chemical synthesis, space propulsion, control system theory and experiment, and advanced-design particle accelerators.