Divertor and Boundary Operations Lead

Devens, MA /
SPARC Team – SPARC Integration /
/ On-site
Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) has the fastest, lowest cost path to commercial fusion energy.

CFS collaborates with MIT to leverage decades of research combined with groundbreaking new high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnet technology. HTS magnets will enable compact fusion power plants that can be constructed faster and at lower cost. Our mission is to deploy these power plants to meet global decarbonization goals as fast as possible. To that end, CFS has assembled a team of leaders in tough tech, fusion science, and manufacturing with a track record of rapid execution. Supported by the world’s leading investors, CFS is uniquely positioned to deliver limitless, clean, fusion power to combat climate change. To implement this plan, we are looking to add dedicated people to the team who treat people well, improve our work by adding multifaceted perspectives and new ways of solving problems, have achieved outstanding results through a range of pursuits, and have skills and experience related to this role.

Generating net energy plasmas in the SPARC tokamak will involve a skilled team of physicists and engineers designing, building, and operating the tokamak and its many systems. Candidates will work as part of a combined physics and engineering team to support the final design of SPARC, as well as perform the calculations and develop the tools needed for plasma operations, with an emphasis on early campaigns.

The Divertor and Boundary Operations Lead will coordinate internal and external research, experimental planning, and modeling activities in the area of boundary physics to help maximize the operational reliability of SPARC and use it to demonstrate ARC relevant divertor regimes. While SPARC is being designed to allow for strike point sweeping to manage heat exhaust, it will be capable of studying fully detached plasmas in multiple divertor geometries, including the novel X-Point Target configuration. The candidate will use a combination of modeling/simulation and empirical knowledge to help inform early operational commissioning and experimental planning for SPARC. This would include evaluating the design of diagnostics systems from the perspective of their use in real-time detachment control algorithms and studying ARC-relevant boundary physics; working with the Tokamak Operations team to develop potential integrated scenarios; and coordinating these activities with a broader set of SPARC boundary physics collaborators.

The candidate will be a key member of the team that operates SPARC, assisting with the development of the software and procedures for monitoring the integrity of plasma facing components, participating in the execution of early campaigns, and leading Advanced Divertor Mission experiments.

This team member will:

    • Develop interpretive analysis workflows that leverage boundary modeling to overcome necessary limitations in SPARCs diagnostic set, relative to existing tokamaks.
    • Use modeling and empirical knowledge to develop candidate highly dissipative divertor scenarios as part of SPARC’s early operations planning and advanced divertor mission.
    • Contribute to the development of  software tools and analysis workflows for evaluating which scenarios could challenge the integrity of PFCs, ensuring SPARC can continue to maintain operational readiness.
    • Lead the development of experiments to meet the Advanced Divertor Mission physics goals and inform decision making on ARC divertor design.
    • Participate in the development of experiments to demonstrate net fusion energy on SPARC.
    • Inform divertor and other boundary control algorithms within the SPARC plasma control system.
    • Help evaluate needs and designs of diagnostic upgrades driven by early SPARC experimental results.
    • Lead CFS and collaborator development of analysis workflows to model detached divertor scenarios for ARC to help design the ARC divertor and plasma facing components.
    • Identify and fill knowledge gaps by building a network of external collaborators and coordinating their work on divertor, boundary physics and plasma material interactions.
    • Prepare for, operate, and analyze data from SPARC in order to produce and learn from the world’s first net energy fusion plasma.
    • Candidate may be asked to supervise work completed by CFS science and engineering staff as well as manage collaborators providing input to SPARC boundary science mission.

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of these requirements:

    • A PhD in plasma physics or a closely related field
    • Demonstrated record of leading boundary experiments on existing tokamaks
    • Demonstrated record of involvement in multi-institutional collaborations
    • Demonstrated record leading multi-disciplinary teams of on existing tokamaks
    • A broad scientific publication record in the area of tokamak boundary physics
    • Evidence of a drive toward practical solutions for integrated physics and engineering challenges in tokamaks

Additional preferred experience and/or qualifications:

    • Familiarity with one or more boundary modeling tools used to predict and interpret edge plasmas (SOLPS, UEDGE, EMC3, EDGE2D, SOLEDGE2D).
    • Familiarity with diagnostics typically used for interpreting boundary plasmas (probes, spectroscopy, bolometry, PFC temperature)
    • Perform activities such as typing, standing, and sitting, for extended periods of time
    • Willingness to occasionally travel or work required nights/weekends/on-call
    • #LI-Onsite
CFS team members thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment and have demonstrated exceptional results through a range of different pursuits. We all tightly align with our company values of integrity, execution, impact and self-critique. As we grow, we are looking to add talented people who are mission driven and bring diverse perspectives and new ways of solving problems.

At CFS, we deeply value diversity and are an equal opportunity employer by choice. We consider all qualified applicants equally for employment. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, protected veteran status, religion, physical or mental disability, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or any other basis protected by law, ordinance, or regulation.