Plasma Physics

Work is ongoing at TU to find the keys to unlocking the potential of thermonuclear fusion as an energy source

Associate Professor of Physics Dylan Brennan recently received a half-million dollars from the Department of Energy (DOE) to advance his work in plasma physics, the study of ionized states of matter and the principles that govern their behavior. Plasma, commonly known as the fourth state of matter, makes up about 99 percent of the universe, including the sun, fluorescent light bulbs, and the earth's ionosphere.

Brennan’s research will advance the theoretical physics of how high-energy particles interact with turbulent electromagnetic fields, which is key to the study of thermonuclear fusion. The DOE has intensified its support for fusion research in recent years because of its potential as an energy source.

The funding will allow Brennan to add a support team for his study of thermonuclear fusion as an energy source. The support team will include a full-time postdoctoral research scientist, a graduate student, and undergraduate students.

The federal grant, called the Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Development Program, was initiated by the DOE’s Office of Science to support the development of research programs by exceptionally talented researchers early in their careers.

“It’s an honor to be recognized nationally and to receive the funding that I believe will greatly enhance my research,” Brennan said. He also noted that TU students will have the opportunity to be involved in advanced analytic- and computational-based analysis, expanding their research experiences.

As part of Brennan’s work, smaller-scale computation will be conducted on TU’s campus and large-scale computation will be conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, California.

Principal Investigator

Dylan Brennan, Associate Professor of Physics