NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Dennis G. Whyte

Dennis G. Whyte

Director, Plasma Science and Fusion Center
Hitachi America Professor of Engineering

Assistant: Kristina Souza souzakm@mit.edu

Plasma Science & Fusion Center
Plasma Surface Interactions Science Center


Dennis Whyte is a recognized leader in the field of fusion research using the magnetic confinement of plasmas for energy production on a faster, smaller, and more innovative path. Dennis is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has over 300 publications, and is heavily involved as an educator. He is widely recognized for his themes of innovation and the need for speed and economic viability in fusion. He has served on panels for the National Academies, the U.S. government, and the Royal Society. As director of Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) he presents the Center’s vision to peer institutions and recruits faculty and scientists to the team. The core of the SPARC project was formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Dennis to challenge assumptions in fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC — have been conceived of or significantly advanced in these courses. Dennis’ leadership as director of PSFC has been a key enabler for the SPARC project, providing the stature necessary to bring the institutional and outside support to the project.


Ph.D. U. Quebec 1993
M.Sc. U. Quebec 1989
B. Eng. U. Saskatchewan 1986


  • Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award
  • Nuclear Fusion Journal Prize
  • Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching
  • Fellow, American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics
  • Department of Energy Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Award


Magnetic Fusion Energy: Boundary plasma physics, advanced plasma confinement regimes in tokamaks, plasma diagnostics, mitigation of disruption damages

Plasma-Surface Interactions: basic physics of plasma-material interfaces, dynamic measurement techniques for material evolution under plasma bombardment, implications of plasma-surface interactions in magnetic fusion reactors

Accelerators and Surface Analysis: low-energy nuclear scattering techniques for material analysis and damage, development of in-situ surface diagnostic methods for magnetic fusion


Recent Publications

  1. R. M. Churchill, C. Theiler, B. Lipschultz, I. H. Hutchinson, M. L. Reinke, D. Whyte, J. W. Hughes, P. Catto, M. Landermann, D. Ernst, C. S. Chang, R. Hager, A. Hubbard, P. Ennever, J. R. Wwalk and Alcator C-Mod Team, “Poloidal asymmetries in edge transport barriers,” Physics of Plasmas, 22, 056104, 2015.
  2. R. R. Parker, P. T. Bonoli, S. Shiraiwa, G. M. Wallace, B. LaBombard, I. C. Faust, M. Porkolab and D. G. Whyte, “High density LHRF experiements in Alcator C-Mod and implications for reactor scale devices,” Nuclear Fusion 55 (4), 043009, March, 2015.
  3. S. J. Zinkle, J. P. Blanchard, R. W. Callis, C. E. Kessel, R. J. Kurtz, P. J. Lee, K. A. McCarthy, N. B. Morley, F. Najmabadi, R. E. Nygren, G. R. Tynan, D. G. Whyte, R. S. Willms and B. D. Wirth, “Fusion materials science and technology research opportunities now and during the ITER era,” Fusion Engineering and Design 89 (7–8), 1579–1585, October, 2014.
  4. A. E. White, M. Barnes, A. Dominguez, M. Greenwald, N. T. Howard, A. E. Hubbard, J. W. Hughes, D. R. Mikkelsen, F. I. Parra, M. L. Reinke, C. Sung, J. Walk and D. G. Whyte, “Reduction of core turbulence in I-mode plasmas in Alcator C-Mod,” Nuclear Fusion 54 (8), 083019, July, 2014.
  5. J. R. Walk, J. W. Hughes, A. E. Hubbard, J. L. Terry, D. G. Whyte, A. E. White, S. G. Baek, M. L. Reinke, C. Theiler, R. M. Churchill, J. E. Rice, P. B. Snyder, T. Osborne, A. Dominguez and I. Cziegler, "“Edge-localized mode avoidance and pedestal structure in I-mode plasmas,” Physics of Plasmas (5), 056103, April, 2014.
  6. G. M. Wright, H. A. Barnard, L. A. Kesler, E. E. Peterson, P. W. Stahle, R. M. Sullivan, D. G. Whyte and K. B. Woller, “An experiment on the dynamics of ion implantation and sputtering of surfaces,” Review of Scientific Instruments 85 (2), February 2014.
  7. R. Ochoukov, D. G. Whyte, D. Brunner, D. A. D'Ippolito, B. LaBombard, B. Lipschultz, J. R. Myra, J. L. Terry and S. J. Wukitch, “ICRF-enhanced plasma potentials in the SOL of Alcator C-Mod,” Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 56 (1), January 2014.
  8. C. M. Cooper, J. Wallace, M. Brookhart, M. Clark, C. Collins, W. X. Ding, K. Flanagan, I. Khalzov, Y. Li, J. Milhone, M. Nornberg, P. Nonn, D. Weisberg, D. G. Whyte, E. Zweibel and C. B. Forest, “The Madison plasma dynamo experiment: A facility for studying laboratory plasma astrophysics,” Physics of Plasmas 21 (1), January 2014.


22.62 Fusion energy
22.63 Fusion Technology
22.01 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Ionizing Radiation




Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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