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Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering: Fusion Research Overview
November 30, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Research in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) spans fission, fusion, security & policy, quantum engineering, and materials in extreme environments. An integrated focus on advanced computational modeling and simulation underlies all research areas in the department. Advanced fission reactors, upgraded existing plants, and new fuel cycle strategies will redefine nuclear power's role in addressing climate change. In NSE we conduct a combination of front-line technology development, groundbreaking strategic studies, and professional education for nuclear technologists and managers. NSE has an exciting portfolio of plasma physics and fusion energy research. Our students benefit from close connections to the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, PSFC, one of the world’s leading university-based plasma research and fusion technology centers. Recently, MIT announced work on the SPARC project, a compact, high-field, net fusion energy tokamak. Beyond fusion, plasma research covers a range of theoretical and experimental topics: space and astrophysical plasmas, magnetic reconnection, high energy density plasmas, plasma turbulence, fusion materials, fusion technology, and plasma diagnostics. Nuclear security-related activities have been part of NSE since its inception, and continue to address the issue at both strategic and technical levels. Quantum Engineering is a growing area in NSE. Our faculty and students are interested in the precise control and characterization of quantum systems. Achieving exquisite quantum control will enable practical implementations of quantum information processing (QIP) concepts.
Understanding how materials perform severe operating environments is a major challenge for materials science. A convergence of exciting new scientific tools is emerging that will enable understanding and control at multiple physical scales from the atomic to the macroscopic, and over timescales from less than a nanosecond to many decades. This overview talk will focus primarily on fusion energy research, but will touch on highlights from across NSE.