November 20, 2020
Brandon Lee, a senior majoring in both chemical engineering and physics, received an Outstanding Poster Award during the virtual American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Plasma Physics 62nd Annual Meeting in November 2020. Only five of these awards were given out to the over 100 undergraduate research posters submitted from across the country.
Lee’s computational research covered the effects of temperature on some bursting characteristics of very small helium bubbles embedded in tungsten surfaces. The goal of this research is to improve modeling forecasts for shielding materials in nuclear fusion reactors.
“I am glad to know that research scientists in my field of choice find my work worthwhile and interesting,” Lee said. “It is an honor to be selected from a group of people doing such awesome work.”
Potential Carbon-Free Energy Source
The APS Division of Plasma Physics emphasizes researching nuclear fusion as an energy source. Lee’s investigation is potentially helpful to this long-term research goal.
“The materials science necessary to make fusion reactors work reliably has recently taken a more prominent role in the field,” Lee said. “Being part of one of the teams working to advance our understanding in this area is very exciting.”
Nuclear fusion reactors use hydrogen isotopes as their fuel, and these isotopes are abundant on Earth. These reactors are carbon-free and can be a nearly unlimited energy source.
“A number of private companies and publicly funded laboratories are working on innovative reactor designs and auxiliary technologies,” Lee said. “The ‘perfect energy source’ is not within our grasp yet, but we are getting closer by the day.”
Lee is currently the president of the Mizzou chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. He also served as president of Mizzou’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. Lee intends to earn his doctorate in plasma physics and then research problems related to nuclear fusion.