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paul bonoli

Senior Research Scientist, Physics Research

paul bonoli Email:
Phone: (617) 253-0992
Address: Room NW17-121
Related links: Physics Research, Theory & Computation

Research Interests

Paul Bonoli specializes in theoretical and computational plasma physics in the areas of radio-frequency (RF) heating and current drive in toroidal confinement devices (tokamaks).  He has developed detailed simulation models for RF heating and current drive experiments, especially in the lower hybrid range of frequencies (LHRF).  These models include integrated wave propagation, Fokker Planck, and transport calculations and they have been used throughout the international fusion community.  More recently he has worked on the development of large parallel frameworks and their application to integrated whole device modeling. 
Paul is also quite active in the use of massively parallel computing architectures to perform full-wave electromagnetic field simulations in the LH regime and to study mode conversion processes in the ion cyclotron range of frequencies (ICRF).  This work has been done in close collaboration with John Wright of the PSFC Theory Group.  Throughout his career, Paul has had a special interest in the problem of the “lower hybrid (LH) spectral gap” that is ubiquitous to LH current drive experiments.  In these experiments, LH waves are observed to damp efficiently and drive current despite the fact that the waves are injected at phase speeds where the population of electrons is too small to observe electron Landau damping. 
Early in his career, Paul did work to understand this phenomenon in terms of toroidicity induced variations in the LH wave speed.  Most recently he has worked with John Wright to understand this problem via spectral broadening due to diffraction effects that have been seen in LH full-wave simulations.


Cornell University, Ithaca, New York:  B.S. (1976) Electrical Engineering
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York:  M.S. (1978) Electrical Engineering
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York:  PhD. (1981) Plasma Physics

Biographical Sketch

Paul Bonoli received a PhD from Cornell University in 1981 under Professor Edward Ott.  The title of his dissertation was “The Effects of Toroidal Geometry and Scattering by Density Fluctuations on the Accessibility and Energy Deposition of Lower Hybrid Waves”.  He then joined the Physics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a post-doctoral associate under Professors Bruno Coppi and Miklos Porkolab. 
In 1984 he became a research scientist at the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.  He then joined the research staff at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) in 1986 and rose to the rank of Principal Research Scientist in 1989.  In 1992, he became leader of the RF Interactions and Modeling Group at the PSFC and in 2007 rose to the rank of Senior Research Scientist.  Paul is currently the Principal Investigator for the multi-institutional SciDAC Center for Simulation of Wave-Plasma Interactions funded by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.  He is also the MIT Principal Investigator for the International Collaboration Project on Control and Extension of ITER and Advanced Scenarios to Long Pulse on EAST and KSTAR. 
Paul is a member of the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) Working Group on Integrated Operations Scenarios. He is a member of the American Physical Society and was elected a fellow of the American Physics Society in 2005.


Selected Publications

“Review of recent experimental and modeling progress in the lower hybrid range of frequencies at ITER relevant parameters”, P. T. Bonoli, The Physics of Plasmas 21, 061508 (2014).


“Time dependent evolution of RF-generated non-thermal particle distributions in fusion plasmas”, J. C. Wright, A. Bader, L. A. Berry, P. T. Bonoli, R. W. Harvey, E. F. Jaeger, J.-P. Lee, A. Schmidt, E. D’Azevedo, I. Faust, C. K. Phillips, and E. Valeo, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 56, 045007 (2014).


“Investigation of lower hybrid physics through power modulation experiments on Alcator C-Mod”, A. Schmidt, P. T. Bonoli, O. Meneghini, R. R. Parker, M. Porkolab, S. Shiraiwa, G. Wallace, J. C. Wright, R. W. Harvey, and J. R. Wilson, Physics of Plasmas 18, 056122 (2011).


“Absorption of lower hybrid waves in the scrape off layer of a diverted tokamak”, G. M. Wallace, R. R. Parker, P. T. Bonoli, A. E. Hubbard, J. W. Hughes, B. L. LaBombard, O. Meneghini, A. E. Schmidt, S. Shiraiwa, D. G. Whyte, J. C. Wright, S. J. Wukitch, R. W. Harvey, A. P. Smirnov, and J. R. Wilson, Physics of Plasmas 17, 082508 (2010).


“An assessment of full wave effects on the propagation and absorption of lower hybrid waves”, J. C. Wright, P. T. Bonoli, A. E. Schmidt, C. K. Phillips, E. Valeo, R. W. Harvey, and M.  Brambilla, Physics of Plasmas 16, 072502 (2009).


“Lower hybrid current drive experiments on Alcator C-Mod: Comparison with theory and simulation”,  P. T. Bonoli, J. Ko, R. Parker, A. E. Schmidt, G. M.  Wallace, J. C. Wright, C. L. Fiore, A. E. Hubbard, J. Irby, E. Marmar, M. Porkolab, D. Terry, S. M. Wolfe, S. J. Wukitch, the Alcator C-Mod Team, J. R. Wilson, S. Scott, E. Valeo, C. K. Phillips, and R. W. Harvey,

Physics of Plasmas 15, 056117 (2008).


“Full Wave Simulations of Fast Wave Mode Conversion and Lower Hybrid Wave Propagation in Tokamaks”, J.C. Wright, P.T. Bonoli, M. Brambilla, F. Meo, E .D’Azevedo, D. B. Batchelor, E. F. Jaeger, L. A. Berry, C. K. Phillips and A. Pletzer, Physics of Plasmas 11, 2473 (2004).


“Mode Conversion Electron Heating in Alcator C-Mod: Theory and Experiment”, P.T. Bonoli, M. Brambilla, E. Nelson-Melby, C.K. Philips, M. Porkolab et al., Physics of Plasmas 7, 1886 (2000).




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