Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Ph.D., Plasma Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009
S.M., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007
Aeronautical Engineer, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros Aeronauticos, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, 2004
Turbulence in magnetized plasmas
Turbulent electromagnetic fluctuations slowly push ionized particles out of magnetic confinement fusion devices, reducing the energy stored in these devices and limiting their performance. Understanding these fluctuations is thus crucial for fusion energy. This is a challenging theoretical problem involving time and length scales separated by several orders of magnitude, requiring careful theoretical work and intensive numerical simulations that self-consistently solve for the electromagnetic fields and the particle trajectories.
Momentum in magnetic fusion devices
The velocity of the plasma in fusion devices is the result of the competition between many different complex phenomena (turbulence, collisions…). When by a combination of circumstances the velocity gradient becomes sufficiently large, it shears the fluctuating structures that form in the plasma, tearing them apart and quenching them. As a result, the plasma is stabilized and energy losses can be greatly reduced. For this reason, the different mechanisms that determine how momentum is distributed are an exciting and important area of research..
- M. Barnes, F.I. Parra, A.A. Schekochihin (2011). “Critically balanced ion temperature gradient turbulence in fusion plasmas.” Physical Review Letters, submitted.
- F.I. Parra, M. Barnes, A.G. Peeters (2011). “Up-down symmetry of the turbulent transport of toroidal angular momentum in tokamaks.” Physics of Plasmas 18, 062501.
- M. Barnes, F.I. Parra, E.G. Highcock, A.A. Schekochihin, S.C. Cowley, C.M. Roach (2011). “Turbulent transport in tokamak plasmas with rotational shear.” Physical Review Letters 106, 175004.
- F.I. Parra, M. Barnes, E.G. Highcock, A.A. Schekochihin, S.C. Cowley (2011). “Momentum injection in tokamak plasmas and transitions to reduced transport.” Physical Review Letters 106, 115004.
- F.I. Parra, I. Calvo (2011). “Phase-space Lagrangian derivation of electrostatic gyrokinetics in general geometry.” Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 53, 045001.
- F.I. Parra, P.J. Catto (2010). “Transport of momentum in full f gyrokinetics.” Physics of Plasmas 17, 056106.
- F.I. Parra, P.J. Catto (2010). “Turbulent transport of toroidal angular momentum in low flow gyrokinetics.” Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 52, 045004.
22.012 Seminar in Fusion and Plasma Physics
22.616 Plasma Transport Theory
- DOE Early Career Research Award, 2012
- Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award, 2011
- UK EPSRC Post-doctoral Fellowship in Theoretical Physics, 2009
- Christ Church Junior Research Fellowship, 2009
Labs + Groups