To help strengthen U.S. competitiveness in key industries, we aim to be a leader in the science and application of low-temperature plasmas, including nanofabrication that enables microelectronics and quantum technologies of tomorrow, and processes to help sustainably decarbonize multiple industries.
PPPL is working with the semiconductor industry to develop new ways to fabricate capable, efficient, and cost-effective chips. Industry goals include a major expansion in the type and structure of the materials to be used, which must be implemented with atomic-scale precision.
The Lab’s expertise in low-temperature plasmas, which are used in nearly half of all steps in fabricating computer chips, are helping transform what has been a black-box, Edisonian approach into one based on scientific understanding and engineering control.
We're partnering with Lam to simulate a key step in atomic-scale chip fabrication, an increasingly critical process that aims to remove single atomic layers from silicon surfaces, one at a time.
Our partnership with Samsung has focused on the etching of computer logic and memory patterns on microscopically thin layers of chips — key applications of plasma in chip fabrication.
For Applied Materials, we're developing new plasma diagnostics and modeling tools for key processing steps such as atomic-scale etching in microchip manufacturing.
Quantum Information Science (QIS)
Our researchers are exploring the use of diamond-based materials to create alternatives to silicon in the fabrication of microchips and could enable a wholly new type of chip relying on quantum bits, or “qubits,” that take the place of standard bits used in silicon-based computers. Qubits could make possible quantum computers that would be far faster and more powerful than computers today. A key goal of our Lab is to enhance qubit production with plasma to advance quantum device fabrication.
Bringing the World of
Quantum Physics into Light
With Princeton University, we're currently developing a next-generation diamond sensor with capabilities that range from imaging single molecules to guiding aircraft by detecting slight anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field. This work is supported by a highly competitive three-year, $5.2-million award from the Department of Energy.
We're applying our experimental and computational strengths in plasma, engineering, and electrochemical and materials science to contribute to a Net-Zero America. Our goal is not only to contribute to basic science research, but also bring discoveries to deployment.
In alignment with many of the Department of Energy’s Earthshot initiatives, we're committed to advancing low-carbon technologies for a sustainable and competitive U.S. manufacturing industry.
Our researchers are investigating ways to replace fossil fuels with electricity, including plasmas, in industrial processes. Electricity could more sustainably produce chemicals like hydrogen, ethylene, and ammonia; steel and cement; and even capture and chemically transform carbon dioxide and recycle plastics.
Use of plasma to enhance conversion of natural gas (methane) to hydrogen
Use of plasma or electric heating to produce ammonia from air and hydrogen
- Use of electricity to produce useful chemicals and fuel from carbon dioxide
Solar Radiation Management
Reflecting the sun's energy back to space could help cool the planet. Our researchers aim to study how clouds, light, and aerosols — small particles in the air — interact in controlled laboratory conditions, so that we can safely determine the science underpinning such cooling strategies.
Better understanding of aerosol-light-cloud dynamics
Research and discovery around new, environmentally benign, scalable aerosol materials that may feature desirable properties for solar radiation management campaigns. This includes stratospheric aerosol injection and cirrus cloud thinning
Meet the Team
Connect with us
Looking to learn more? Reach out to [email protected].