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2019 NSE Graduate Research Expo

2018 NSE Expo, MIT

NSE Research Expo. March 15, 2019. Visit the photo gallery

Photo: Gretchen Ertl

The MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering’s Graduate Student Expo kicked off the visiting weekend for prospective graduate students on March 15. The annual event showcased groundbreaking research from NSE’s various labs and provided an opportunity for prospective students to learn about projects they may be able to work on if they choose to come to MIT in the fall. The event featured research posters presented by current doctoral and masters students as well as signature oral presentations given by an outstanding student chosen from each of the three main areas of research within the department. This event also provides a unique opportunity for the MIT community to learn more about the diverse research being conducted within NSE by faculty and graduate students.


Best Poster Award winners

Steven Jepeal whose poster was titled “Using proton irradiation to enable fusion energy design ”. Jepeal is a third-year PhD student working with Professor Zach Hartwig.

Chi Wang whose poster was titled “Can Nano-structures Enhance Critical Heat Flux in Pressurized Water Reactors and Save Polar Bears and Penguins?”. Wang is a third-year PhD student working with Professor Matteo Bucci.

Oral presentations

Sean Ballinger — Peering into a star on Earth: fluctuations in the W7-X advanced stellarator

ABSTRACT: ~1 kHz fluctuations in the plasma of the W7-X stellarator were observed by the MIT high-speed camera and other density and temperature measurement systems during certain experiments. These still unexplained fluctuations may be an important effect in the operation of stellarator fusion devices. Stellarators, like tokamaks, are toroidal devices that confine plasmas with magnetic fields. Stellarators have the potential to create especially stable plasmas, but can require more complex non-planar magnetic coils, which is one reason they haven't enjoyed the same development as tokamaks. W7-X is the world’s most advanced stellarator to date, and its performance shows that the stellarator remains a very promising concept. In the second and third W7-X operation phases, MIT's high-speed camera revealed ~1 kHz fluctuations in visible light emitted by the plasma. The fluctuations have been determined to occur at the edge of the plasma and are more common in a subset of the various magnetic field configurations tested in W7-X. Studying these fluctuations could lead to a better understanding of edge particle and energy transport and divertor heat loads in stellarators. Watch video of the talk.


Ezra Engel — Warhead verification using epithermal neutron resonance transmission analysis

ABSTRACT: In anarchic international environments, verification methods improve the viability of arms control agreements and disarmament measures by allowing party states to escape the security dilemma. However, warhead verification requires confident assurance of warhead authenticity while protecting design information about the interrogated object. Zero-knowledge physical cryptography provides a solution to the verification paradox by introducing system designs that do not require electronic information barriers and protect sensitive information during measurement. Compact epithermal neutron sources enable the verification process to occur on-site and minimize the security risk of transporting special nuclear material to dedicated verification facilities. Experimental results demonstrate the feasibility of a tomographic approach to zero-knowledge physical cryptography, and MC simulations offer promising results for compact epithermal neutron sources. Watch video of the talk.


Artyom Kossolapov — Everything you always wanted to know about boiling but were afraid to ask

ABSTRACT: Boiling is an extremely efficient way of providing cooling to energy-dense components. In fact, a carefully designed boiling system can handle the same energy fluxes as exist on the surface of the sun. Such advantages led to the use of boiling heat transfer in applications ranging from electronics cooling to nuclear energy. However, it is difficult to keep the boiling system stable when high energy fluxes are involved. Such limitations prevented the full potential of boiling from being realized on a commercial scale. These limitations can only be surpassed with the combined effort of scientists and engineers at the intersection between thoroughly understood physics and clever design strategies. In my talk I will dive deep into our current understanding of boiling, highlight the existing knowledge gaps and outline the part I take in the ongoing effort of the Nuclear Science and Engineering department to close these gaps and help the development of future efficient cooling systems. Watch video of the talk.

Poster presentations

Rachel Bielajew, Xiang Chen, Rachel Connick, Carolyn Coyle, Cody Dennett, Minh Dinh, Kieran Dolan, Steven Jepeal, Miriam Kreher, David Layden, Xinyao Liang, Isaac Meyer, Lucio Milanese, Erica Salazar , Jee Hyun Seong, Mohamamd Shahin, Raspberry Simpson, Akira Sone, Daniel Stack, Robbie Stewart, Cong Su, Malik Wagih, Jiayue Wang, Chi Wang, Hantao Zhang, Muni Zhou


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March 2019

Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 24-107
Cambridge, MA 02139
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