Equipped for Excellence - Corporate partners are vital to nuclear engineering’s success

Experimental equipment
Nuclear engineering is the smallest school in the College of Engineering, but with the support of corporate partners, it is growing.

Thanks to the longstanding relationship between Ahmed Hassanein, the Paul L. Wattelet Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the school, and David Brandt, senior director of EUV Marketing for Cymer Inc., Purdue received $2.1 million in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) research equipment.

The San Diego-based Cymer is a leader in laser light sources used worldwide by chipmakers to produce chips for everyday electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones and televisions. As Cymer transitioned to laser-produced plasma (LPP) sources, the next generation of EUV technology, the company found itself in a unique position to donate its older dense plasma-focus (DPF) tools.

“We had built six DPF tools and put a lot of time and energy into them. We are very proud of these and wanted to find a good home for them,” Brandt says. “We expect the staff and students at Purdue will learn to operate the sources for experimental purposes. We hope to benefit from the development of great engineers and scientists in this field, and to provide exciting opportunities for employment of the graduates.”

According to Michelle Vavra, university relations manager at Cymer, Purdue is a source for top talent. “Purdue graduates offer the basic core engineering knowledge that is required to succeed at Cymer.”

Exelon, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, recently topped the $1 million mark in contributions to the School of Nuclear Engineering. Tim Hanley, a 1987 engineering education graduate and a site vice president at Exelon Corp.’s Dresden Generating Station in Moline, Ill., agrees that Purdue graduates are prepared to hit the ground running.

“Purdue is one of a limited number of schools that are able to supply us with students capable of jumping right in and flourishing in our work environment,” Hanley says. “Exelon is happy to contribute to efforts that generate quality engineers. To get quality engineers, you need to provide a quality education. This mandates that you have excellent students, faculty and facilities. We do what we can to help Purdue stay on the leading edge on each of those fronts.”

Hassanein says he is grateful to have this vital corporate backing. “I feel very fortunate to have corporate partners who not only understand our needs but also are willing to turn challenges we might face into opportunities to improve the educational experience.”