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Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Undergraduate Student Opportunities

Available UROP and Senior Thesis Topics

An important part of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center's Research activities involves training students and

paul wodkov and urop student
UROP Students have an opportunity to work closely with scientist

researchers to meet the physics and engineering challenges ahead. Some of the topics available to undergraduates through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and potential Senior Thesis topics are outlined below. Those with an asterisk (*) are

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION about the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and an introduction to UROP possibilities, contact Paul Rivenberg, x3-8101, NW16-284.

Learn more about MIT's UROP Program

Download UROP Coversheet

Alcator Project

Contact: Jessica Coco , NW17-186, x3-5400.


  • ALCATOR C-MOD TOKAMAK PLASMA PHYSICS - Design, construction and implementation of plasma diagnostics,     fueling and heating systems, including spectroscopy, laser scattering, particle detection, electrical probes,
        bolometry, pellet injection and RF heating
  • MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN & TESTING associated with the operation of Alcator C-MOD
  • Students are welcome to propose other topics related to toroidal confinement.

Physics Research

Contact: Dr. Paul Woskov, NW16-110, x3-8648


Contact Prof. Miklos Porkolab Nw16-288, x3-8448

High-Energy-Density Physics

Contact: Dr. Richard Petrasso, NW17-256, x3-8458

Contact: Dr. ChiKang Li, NW17-262, x3-0934


The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Group: Much of our group's research is directed towards achieving fusion ignition. In this context, we perform experiments on imploding fusion capsules in order to understand the dynamics of the implosion process. The student projects relate to either experimental or computational aspects of this work, or to assisting in data collection and analysis. Students with skills in general laboratory work, C++ programming, particle detection, imaging, optics, mechanical design, machining, electronics, nuclear physics, plasma physics or astrophysics are encouraged to apply.

Waves & Beams

Contact: Dr. Michael Shapiro , NW16-172, x3-8656
Contact: Dr. Chiping Chen , NW16-258, x3-8506

Both theoretical and experimental opportunities exist in the following areas:

  • Cyclotron Resonance Masers - High power gyrotrons for plasma heating, amplifiers for millimeter wave radar,     microwave propagation in waveguide or by mirrors
  • High Voltage Sources - Study of novel sources such as FELs, CARMs, relativistic klystrons and magnetron
  • Acceleration - High gradient accelerating structures operating at high frequency 7 Beam Physics - modeling of the     generation, acceleration, and propagation of intense charged-particle beams
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - Microwave instrumentation for high resolution NMR spectrometers
  • Intense Charged-Particle Beams - Theory and computer simulation of high-intensity electron and heavy ion     beams.

Fusion Technology and Engineering

Contact: Dr. J.V. Minervini, NW22-139, x3-5503

  • Acoustic Emission*
  • Cryogenics*
  • Cryomechanics* and low temperature triboly
  • Fiberoptics for monitoring of superconducting magnets
  • Magnetic separation for water treatment and other applications
  • Thermal-electrical-magnetic behavior of Superconducting Magnets
  • High-temperature superconducting magnet technology
  • Magnetic refrigeration and other cryogenic engineering topics
  • Superconducting magnet development
  • Superconductor stability and AC losses
  • Materials development, testing & analysis for conductors and magnet support  structures (top)

77 Massachusetts Avenue, NW16, Cambridge, MA 02139,


massachusetts institute of technology