Theodore Golfinopoulos

Research Scientist





Sc.D. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2014)
S.M. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009)
B.S. Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2006)
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2006)


Plasma diagnostic/actuator development and construction; signal processing; analog and digital circuit design and fabrication; physics data mining; use of large parallel simulation codes.


My current research is concerned with identifying the plasma fluctuations that regulate transport across the plasma boundary, and creating actuators to control them in order to better achieve sustained, high-performance tokamak operation. This is achieved when impurities in the plasma – derived mainly from the plasma-facing wall components – are exhausted rapidly across the boundary, requiring adequately-large particle transport, without simultaneously causing heat to be lost from the plasma, meaning that outward heat transport must be minimized. The main active tool employed in this work is the “Shoelace” antenna, a unique device built to perturb the plasma in a way which mimics the intrinsic plasma waves (~50-500 kHz and ~4-cm wavelength) that control edge transport in high-performance regimes. I have also worked on experiments employing amplitude modulation on higher-frequency carriers (~80 MHz and 4.6 GHz) to couple nonlinearly to these lower-frequency modes.

In my spare time, I work with a wonderful program called MEET (Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow) which brings together excelling Palestinian and Israeli youth in a rigorous educational program of computer science, entrepreneurship, and dialogue.


Theodore Golfinopoulos, B. LaBombard, R. R. Parker, W. Burke, E. Davis, R. Granetz, M. Greenwald, J. Irby, R. Leccacorvi, E. Marmar, W. Parkin, M. Porkolab, J. Terry, R. Vieira, S. Wolfe, and Alcator C-Mod team team. “External excitation of a short-wavelength fluctuation in the Alcator C-Mod edge plasma and its relationship to the quasi-coherent mode.” Phys. Plasmas, 21(5), 2014. doi

B. LaBombard, T. Golfinopoulos, J. L. Terry, D. Brunner, E. Davis, M. Greenwald, J. W. Hughes, and Alcator C-Mod Team. “New insights on boundary plasma turbulence and the quasi-coherent mode in Alcator C-Mod using a Mirror Langmuir Probe.” Phys. Plasmas, 21(5), 2014. doi

Theodore Golfinopoulos, Brian LaBombard, William Burke, Ronald R. Parker, William Parkin, and Paul Woskov. “Wide-frequency range, dynamic matching network and power system for fusion plasma antenna.” Rev. Sci. Instrum., 85, 2014. doi

Theodore Golfinopoulos. “The Shoelace Antenna: A Device to Induce Short-Wavelength Fluctuations in the Edge Plasma of the Alcator C-Mod Tokamak.” ScD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014. Dspace@MIT

J. Sears, R.R. Parker, J.A. Snipes, T. Golfinopoulos, A. Bader, G.J. Kramer, and V. Tang. “Measurement and calculation of Alfvén eigenmode damping and excitation over a full toroidal spectrum.” Nuclear Fusion, 52(8):083003, 2012. doi

Shiri Azenkot, Theodore Golfinopoulos, Adam Marcus, Alessondra Springmann, and Jonathan S Varsanik. “Overcoming barriers among Israeli and Palestinian students via computer science.” In Proceedings of the 42nd ACM technical symposium on Computer science education, pages 667–672. ACM, 2011.

Talks & Media

A few quotes in MIT tech interview

Press Release on Shoelace Antenna Research