The research activities associated with the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center cover a broad range of engineering and scientific disciplines related to the development of plasma science and its many applications, especially fusion energy. Research is organized in five major divisions:
Develops the basic experimental and theoretical understanding of plasma behavior in tokamaks such as Alcator C-Mod and other plasma devices. This research includes turbulent and collisional transport, fluid and kinetic stability, wave-particle interactions and methods of plasma heating.
UROP topics include theoretical research on propagation of waves in plasmas, wave-particle interactions, and wave-wave interactions. The research addresses topics in magnetically confined fusion plasmas, inertially confined high-energy density plasmas, Earth's magnetospheric plasmas, and astrophysical plasmas.
Division Contact: Dr. Abhay Ram, NW16-260, x3-8501, email@example.com.
Designs and implements experiments, and performs theoretical calculations, to study and explore the non-linear dynamics and properties of plasmas under extreme conditions of density (~1000 g/cc), pressure (~ 1000 gigabar), and field strength (~megagauss). Much of the group's research is directed towards understanding the dynamics of the implosion process in inertial confinement fusion. The Division works closely with the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester, and with the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Group
Opportunities for undergraduate students in projects relating to experimental or computational aspects of their work, or to assisting in data collection and analysis. Students may gain hands-on experience working with a charged-particle accelerator used to generate fusion products for detector calibration. Students with skills in general laboratory work, C++ or LabView programming, particle detection, imaging, optics, mechanical design, electronics, nuclear physics, plasma physics or astrophysics are encouraged to apply.
Seeks to advance understanding of the stability, transport and radiation properties of high-temperature toroidal fusion plasmas at near-reactor conditions. The Alcator C-Mod tokamak, a major national facility operating at the PSFC, is being used: to investigate methods of heating plasmas to fusion temperatures by means of radio-frequency waves; to study methods of driving current and flows in the plasma; to optimize the tokamak configuration; to understand the confinement, stability and transport in high-temperature plasmas; and to study plasma-wall interactions in magnetically diverted configurations.
Students are welcome to propose topics related to toroidal confinement.
Division Contacts: Jessica Coco, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Earl Marmar, NW17-186, x3-5456, email@example.com, Dr. Martin Greenwald, NW17-107, x3-6053, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Bruce Lipschultz, NW17-103, x3-8636, email@example.com, Dr. Brian LaBombard, NW17-109, x3-7264, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. John Rice, NW17-174, x3-6052, email@example.com, Prof. Dennis Whyte, NW17-119, x3-1748, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Prof. Anne White, NW17-111, x3-8667, email@example.com
Provides critical engineering support for advanced design projects related to energy and power production and transformation. Although the Division has a broad spectrum of interests, it specializes in development of superconducting magnet technology for plasma fusion devices and other key facilities required to develop fusion energy. It also designs superconducting and conventional magnet systems and performs supporting R & D for applications in high energy physics research, defense, medicine, electric power and storage systems, magnetic separation, and for magnetic launch and levitation technologies. Recent work in energy applications is focused on application of high temperature superconductivity to power transmission and transformation.
The Division also develops advanced accelerator technology and cyclotrons for medical, defense and industrial applications. The development of these new concepts for compact high field cyclotrons permit novel applications of energetic particle sources to meet the world’s medical and security needs. Work includes fundamental beam dynamics using state of the art particle acceleration simulation codes, detailed engineering using our own and leading design and analysis tools and sub-scale testing of critical accelerator components. The science and technology of these accelerators is a useful experience for anyone considering an advanced science or engineering career.
In other energy applications, the Division also has interest in liquid fuels manufacturing and utilization, in particular, methanol from non-fossil sources. Applications of internal combustion engines operating with methanol are being investigated as well as methanol through gasification. The group has also interests in environmental particulate control, both gases (through novel electrostatic precipitation) as well as liquids (through High Gradient Magnetic Separation, HGMS).
Division contacts: Superconductor Topics: Dr. Joseph Minervini, NW22-129, x3-5503, firstname.lastname@example.org; Engine, Fuel, Environmental Topics: Dr. Leslie Bromberg, NW22-127, x3-6919, email@example.com; and Cyclotron and Accelerator Topics: Dr. Timothy Antaya, NW22-139, x3-8155, firstname.lastname@example.org
Conducts experimental and theoretical research on the physical principles of the generation of powerful sources of coherent radiation and their application to plasma heating and acceleration of high energy particle beams. Current research activities include research on the gyrotron, a form of cyclotron resonance maser capable of achieving megawatt power levels at frequencies from the conventional microwave region into the Terahertz region. An innovative approach to extending traditional microwave sources into the terahertz region of frequencies is also being pursued. Research is conducted on novel forms of electron acceleration. A 25 MeV electron accelerator powered by a 25 MW klystron at 17 GHz is used to test novel acceleration concepts and to understand the limits of accelerating gradient. Theoretical research supports the experimental research program.
UROP topics include: experimental research opportunities involving cyclotron resonance masers (gyrotrons), high-power microwave sources (FELs, relativistic klystrons and magnetrons), photonic crystals (photonic band gap materials, photonic band gap microwave amplifier and lasers), and high gradient accelerating structures operating at high frequency; theoretical research on beam physics.
Division contacts: Dr. Michael Shapiro, Head, Gyrotron Research Group, NW16-172, x3-8656, email@example.com; Dr. Richard Temkin, Division Head and Acting Head, Accelerator Research, NW16-186, x3-5528, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Paul Woskov, NW16-110, x3-8648 and Dr. Chiping Chen, NW16-160, x3-8506, email@example.com
All PSFC personnel are briefed regarding safety requirements and practices related to the laboratory, shop, or office area in which they will be working. For further information on the safety requirements of the Center contact: Mr. Matt Fulton, NW21-214, x3-8917, firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Catherine Fiore, NW21-203, x3-8440, email@example.com.
For information about specific current UROP possibilities, please visit the PSFC UROP website at: http://www.psfc.mit.edu/pe/education/undergrad.html, and contact Paul Rivenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-253-8101.
UROP for Credit:
Arranged through the faculty supervisor's academic department.