NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT



Zachary Hartwig joined the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in January 2017 as an assistant professor and holds a co-appointment at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). He received his PhD from MIT in 2014 for the development of a novel accelerator-based technique that advanced the ability to study the dynamic interaction of confined plasmas and the surrounding solid materials — known as plasma-material interactions — in fusion devices. Since 2014, he has been a postdoc at the PSFC, continuing to develop diagnostic techniques for plasma-material interactions, leading the establishment of a new laboratory for accelerator-based nuclear science, and leading the design of high-magnetic field net energy gain fusion devices that leverages new superconducting magnet technology. His research will focus on the development and application of particle accelerators, radiation detectors, and computational radiation transport simulations to magnetic fusion energy and radiation damage in nuclear materials.


Application of ion accelerators in fusion science

Ion accelerators have played a strong role in magnetic fusion energy research, particularly in making precision measurements of surface properties of materials that are routinely in contact with fusion plasmas. Our laboratory is working on novel applications of accelerators, including the use of compact ion and electron accelerators as in-situ materials diagnostics on magnetic confinement fusion experiments and the use of ultracompact, superconducting cyclotrons to investigate radiation damage in structural and diagnostic materials in fusion environments.

Design of high-field magnetic fusion energy tokamaks

A new generation of high-temperature superconductors — known as REBCO — that can be used to achieve very high magnetic field fusion magnets has transformational potential on the size, cost, and deployment times of burning plasma-class magnetic fusion experiments. The development and application of advanced Monte Carlo particle transport simulations –—a field known as fusion neutronics — plays a critical role in generating high-fidelity input into the engineering design and radiation safety assessment of such devices. Such codes will also play an important role in diagnostic development and experimental data interpretation.


Recent Publications

  1. Z.S. Hartwig, The ADAQ framework: An integrated toolkit for data acquisition and analysis with real and simulated radiation detectors. Nucl. Instr. And Meth. A 815 (2016) 42-49.
  2. Z.S. Hartwig and P. Gumplinger, Simulating response functions and pulse shape discrimination for organic scintillation detectors with Geant4.Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 737 (2014) 155.
  3. Z.S. Hartwig et al. Fuel retention measurements in Alcator C-Mod using Accelerator-based In-situ Materials Surveillance.J. Nucl. Mat. 463 (2015) 73-77.
  4. Z.S. Hartwig et al. An in-situ accelerator-based diagnostic for plasma-material interactions on magnetic fusion devices. Rev. Sci. Instr. 84 (2013) 123503.
  5. Z.S. Hartwig, C.B Haakonsen, R.T. Mumgaard, and L. Bromberg. An initial study of demountable, high-temperature superconducting magnets for the Vulcan tokamak conceptual design.Fusion Engineering and Design 87 (2012) 201-214
  6. Z.S. Hartwig and M. Zucchetti. Neutronics studies for a compact, high-field tokamak neutron source. Fusion Science and Technology 60 (2011) 725-729
  7. Z.S. Hartwig and D.G. Whyte. Simulated plasma-facing component measurements for an in-situ surface diagnostic on Alcator C-Mod. Rev. Sci. Instr. 81 (2010) 10E106.


  • 22.011 : Hands on Introduction to Nuclear Science And Engineering
  • 22.814 : Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Security


Recent News

Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

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