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NSE's Felix Parra wins DOE Early Career Research Award

Felix ParraTokamaks are one of the most promising fusion energy concepts. Assistant Professor Felix Parra in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT has been awarded an Early Career Research Award to support his project “Spontaneous Generation of Rotation in Tokamak Plasmas”.

The objective of Parra’s project is to develop the theoretical and numerical tools to study and predict the spontaneous rotation in tokamaks, and using these tools, to design new configurations that exploit spontaneous plasma rotation to improve performance. The theoretical results obtained during the research will be checked against experimental observations systematically to validate these completely new modeling tools. With the new insights gained, a tokamak that will rotate to high speed in the absence of external momentum sources will be designed. No previous tokamak has been built to optimize rotation in the absence of external injection, and this new design criterion may open new avenues to better performance.

Parra’s project was selected for the award by the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. The $750,000 award is one of 68 chosen from 850 proposals.

Also selected for an award in this program is Assistant Professor Rohit Karnik in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for his proposal entitled “Graphene Membranes with Tunable Nanometerā€Scale Pores”. Karnik’s project was selected by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. 

The DOE Early Career Research Program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science. The research areas supported by this program include: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR); Biological and Environmental Research (BER); Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES); High Energy Physics (HEP), and Nuclear Physics (NP).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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