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A chemistry major is examining a facet of computer chip making in a computer simulation of what happens when nickel is dripped onto a lattice of the same metal.

Jessica Jamhoury ’03 is working with Kenneth Haug, assistant professor of chemistry, as an participant in Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholar program. In EXCEL, students assist faculty members with research while earning a stipend.

“It’s computative theoretical chemistry. Everything we do is on computers,” says Jamhoury. “We’re simulating, with a coordinating system, a lattice of nickel. We are placing metal onto another metal and looking at what kinds of patterns result. What professor Haug has done is simplify what’s happening on the nickel surface.”

The student says the study is applicable to the production of computer chips and that nickel is also relevant in the area of computer memory storage.

“I’m doing the calculations and paying attention to the patterns,” says Jamhoury, who is interested in theoretical chemistry. “I think it’s really fascinating watching scientists go from physics to chemistry.”

In the project, Jamhoury was expected to do much of the simulation work, prepare publication quality graphs of the results, review related academic articles, and summarize the results of the experiments for a manuscript that will be submitted for publication.

Haug expects her to gain experience with the scientific process of searching for and verifying patterns in a set of data. In addition, Jamhoury was to learn some scientific programming and present the project’s results.

Jamhoury calls EXCEL “a fabulous opportunity for students to get involved in research, to get a feeling for what we may be doing someday.”

Haug has been an excellent teacher. “I’ve only taken the introductory level physical chemistry. He can explain things simply,” says Jamhoury.

A graduate of Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, N.J., Jamhoury is co-president of the Association for Lafayette Women and may return to being a chemistry teaching assistant.

Categorized in: Academic News