Erica Salazar

Visiting Scientist


Erica Salazar is a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering working at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center.  She is working on high temperature superconducting magnet design and research for the SPARC project. Erica has 8+ years of experience working with superconducting magnets for fusion applications. Prior to MIT, Erica worked at General Atomics as a mechanical engineer and process manager on the ITER Central Solenoid superconducting magnet manufacturing project.  She commissioned and managed the reaction heat treatment process for the 120 ton, Nb3Sn superconducting modules. Additionally, Erica supported the design, commissioning, and operation of the final test station—where the fully manufactured module is to be tested under 4K cryogenic conditions at full current (40 kA). Although Erica gained a lot of experience and knowledge from her work on the ITER Central Solenoid project, she looks forward to making an impact in the fusion and superconducting community with the SPARC project.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
Graduate (PhD) student in Nuclear Science and Engineering with a focus on Nuclear Materials
MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center: Contributing to the high temperature superconducting magnet design and research for the SPARC project

Stanford University, Stanford, California, 2012

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Heat Transfer
Stanford Heat Transfer Lab: Constructed and performed experiments to obtain accurate thermal imaging and active temperature maps of microchips during oil forced convection process

Stanford University, Stanford, California, 2010

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Stanford Advanced Energy Systems Lab: Designed and machined free piston seals for an extreme compression combustion engine; modeled seal designs in FLUENT (computational fluid dynamics software)

Work Experience

General Atomics, Energy & Advanced Concepts, San Diego, CA, 2015-2017
Heat Treatment Technical Lead Engineer and Control Accounts Manager

General Atomics, Energy & Advanced Concepts, San Diego, CA, 2012-2015
Cryogenics and Mechanical Engineer

Pratt & Whitney (UTC), Middletown, CT, summer 2011
Heat Transfer and Secondary Flow Engineering Intern

General Electric Global Research Center, Niskayuna, NY, summer 2010
Propulsion systems lab intern

Chevron Corporation, Houston, TX, summer 2007 and 2008 
Project Engineering Intern


Salazar, Erica E. et al., “Fiber optic quench detection for large-scale HTS magnets demonstrated on VIPER cable during high-fidelity testing at the SULTAN facility,” Supercond. Sci. Technol., 2021, doi: 10.1088/1361-6668/abdba8.

Hartwig, Zachary S. et al., “VIPER: an industrially scalable high-current high-temperature superconductor cable,” Supercond. Sci. Technol., vol. 33, no. 11, p. 11LT01, Oct. 2020, doi: 10.1088/1361-6668/abb8c0.

Martovetsky, Nicolai N., David K. Irick, Richard P. Reed, Rolf Haefelfinger, and Erica Salazar. 2015. “Winding Pack Height Management During Fabrication of the ITER CS Module.” Physics Procedia67: 1049–1055. doi:10.1016/j.phpro.2015.06.199.

Piec, Zbigniew, Kaizhong Ding, Lu Kun, Alan Langhorn, S. Lloyd, Erica Salazar, Kurt Schaubel, John Smith, and Tingzhi Zhou. 2018. “Superconducting Feeder System for ITER Central Solenoid Module Final Test Facility.” IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity28 (3): 1–4. doi:10.1109/tasc.2017.2783338.

Schaubel, K., Langhorn, A., Lloyd, S., Piec, Z., Salazar, E., & Smith, J. (2017). The ITER Central “Solenoid Module final test facility. Fusion Engineering And Design”12459-63. doi:10.1016/j.fusengdes.2017.05.010

News + Media


New fiber optic temperature sensing approach to keep fusion power plants running PSFC
Superconductor technology for smaller, sooner fusion PSFC
The quest for practical fusion energy sources NSE News
3 Questions: Energy Fellows reflect on their time at MITEI MITEI


Fusion Industry Association Youtube Channel News: Dec. 4th 2020
Fusion Industry Association Youtube Channel News: Sep. 11th 2020