Zachary Hartwig


Assistant Professor
Nuclear Science and Engineering


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD, 2014
Boston University, BA, 2005
MIT PSFC researcher since 2007


Computational radiation transport and fusion neutronics; magnetic fusion energy device design; high-temperature superconducting magnets; nuclear systems in fusion energy; particle and radiation detector design


Zach performed his PhD research on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak creating new, advanced measurement techniques for plasma material-interactions. From 2014 to 2016, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center leading the construction and operation of a new laboratory for accelerator-based nuclear science and leading the design of high magnetic field net energy gain fusion devices. Zach has been instrumental in the design of ARC and SPARC, particularly the aspects related modeling and understanding the impact of fusion neutrons. During his time at MIT, he has made substantial contributions to fusion energy device design, radiation and particle detectors for homeland security and dark matter detection, advancement of radiation transport simulations, and digital data acquisition systems. He has served as an expert technical consultant to a number of private companies in fusion energy, nuclear security, and particle accelerators. As of January 2017, Zach also joined the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering as assistant professor and holds a co-appointment at the PSFC. Zach has been a key part of the SPARC team from its initial skunkworks “SPARC Underground” phase leading studies of neutronics simulations, radiological design, sitting, and regulation.

Role on SPARC Project

Zach's primary technical efforts on SPARC focus on the nuclear aspects of device design and the development of high-temperature superconducting magnets. As an expert in nuclear science, Zach leads the efforts to analyze the impact of fusion neutrons on the entire device and to engineer strategies for mitigating them. Zach is also leading the design, fabrication, and testing efforts for high-temperature superconducting cables that will form the foundation of the high-field magnets used to build SPARC. He also supervises graduate student research investigating the impact of radiation on structural materials and superconductors in fusion systems and the use of molten salts for thermal conversion of fusion energy.

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