Zinkle Fellow and Associate Professor
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Associate Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
August 2014–August 2020
- Developing a research program in fusion energy science, plasma physics, plasma-material interactions, and near term applications of nuclear fusion devices. Creating new undergraduate and graduate courses (Introduction to Plasma Physics, Introduction to Fusion Technology, Plasma Diagnostics, Boundary Plasma Physics).
- Constructed a He plasma exposure stage at UTK for low flux ion damage studies. Performing material characterization of damaged tungsten (SEM, FIB, EBSD, GIXRD). Directs UTK research group performing diagnostic implementation on Proto-MPEX linear plasma-material interaction facility at ORNL and surface chemistry studies at PPPL on the LTX-Beta device.
- Collaborative research with the Boundary Plasma Material Interaction Center (BPMIC) at the DIII-D fusion experiment at General Atomics in the area of diagnostic development, boundary plasma experiments, and impurity transport studies.
Sandia National Laboratory
Postdoctoral Appointee, Hydrogen and Metallurgy Sciences
May 2011–July 2014
Manager: Thomas Felter
Principal Investigator: Dean Buchenauer
- Collaborative work with the DIII-D Experimental Fusion Reactor at General Atomics. Langmuir probe analysis at the divertor to study the power reaching the first wall through the plasma sheath. Utilization of plasma sheath theory to identify previously unrecognized non-ambipolar currents and achieve agreement between heat flux and plasma diagnostics never before achieved. Heat flux measurements at the divertor using temperature profiles from an embedded thermocouple array and heat conduction modeling. Use of new plasma diagnostics for the Divertor Material Evaluation System (DiMES) retractable platform.
- Collaborative work with Idaho National Laboratory on the Tritium Plasma Experiment. Exposure of tungsten samples to deuterium plasma beam to study tungsten surface morphology changes. Design of sample holders to be used in high heat/high plasma flux environment that also allow for study of tritium permeation.
- Studied energetic helium induced damage to tungsten surfaces. Characterization of an ECR ion source using Langmuir probes and a retarding field analyzer. Tungsten sample analysis performed using SEM, AFM, Profilometry, Auger Spectroscopic Analysis, Grazing Incidence X-Ray Diffraction (GIXRD).
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Graduate Researcher, Department of Engineering Physics, Fusion Technology Institute
September 2006–March 2011
Advisor: Professor Gerald Kulcinski
- Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion device used as a neutron generator (D-D fusion neutrons) to actively interrogate and detect nitrogen-based explosives.
- Computational modeling (MCNP, SRIM) to optimize:
- Use of moderating materials to obtain ideal thermalization of neutrons.
- Configuration of neutron source and interrogation sample to achieve highest probability of successful identification.
- Optimization and parameterization of an IEC fusion device with regard to cathode grid design, electrode configurations, cathode voltage, ion current, and operating deuterium pressure for the purpose of maximizing neutron production.
- Development and utilization of a diagnostic for the simultaneous measurement of the Doppler shift and time of flight of D-D fusion products (protons, tritons) for the purpose of gaining spatial and energy profiles of fusion reactions occurring along radial lines through an IEC fusion device.
Fusion energy science, plasma physics, plasma-material interactions (PMI), near term applications of nuclear fusion devices, material characterization tools (SEM, FIB, EBSD, GIXRD, AFM), He ion damage to tungsten in fusion relevant environments, plasma and heat flux diagnostic development and implementation, surface chemistry analysis (XPS), boundary plasma experimental research, impurity transport studies in magnetically confined fusion devices.
Donovan explained fusion and its potential at the Spring 2022 MicNite. Watch his presentation.
MS and PhD, Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008 and 2011
- Dissertation Title: “Spatial Profiling Using a Time of Flight Diagnostic and Applications of Deuterium-Deuterium Fusion in Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion Devices”
- Academic Advisor: Professor Gerald Kulcinski
BS, Nuclear Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
- Academic Advisor: Professor David Ruzic
- American Physical Society – Member (2010 to Present)
- American Nuclear Society – Member (2002 to Present)
- American Nuclear Society – Fusion Energy Division – Executive Member (2017 to 2020)
- University Fusion Association – Member (2014 to Present)
- American Society for Engineering Education – Member (2014 to Present)
- IEEE Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society – Member (2017 to Present)
- Conference Organizing Committee – Local Organizing and Technical Program Committee – International Workshop on Hydrogen Isotopes in Fusion Reactor Materials 2018
- Conference Organizing Committee Member - American Nuclear Society Topical on Fusion Energy (TOFE) Conference 2018
- Conference Organizing Committee – Local Organizing Committee – IEEE Symposium on Fusion Energy (SOFE) 2019 Conference
Awards and Recognitions
- University of Tennessee Tickle College of Engineering Teaching Fellow Award (2020)
- University of Tennessee Professional Promise in Research Award (2019)
- University of Tennessee Dean’s Research Excellence Award for Junior Faculty (2018)
- Department of Energy Early Career Award (2018)
- ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (2016)
Selected publications. For a full list, visit Donovan's Google Scholar profile.
Zamperini, D. Donovan, E. Unterberg, P. Stangeby, J. Nichols, J. Duran, D. Elder, A. Neff, D. Rudakov, and M. Zach, "Transport of tungsten to collector probes in DIII-D." Nuclear Materials and Energy, vol. 18, pp. 87-92, 2019/01/01/ 2019.
E. A. Unterberg, D. C. Donovan, J. D. Duran, P. C. Stangeby, S. Zamperini, T. Abrams, D. L. Rudakov, W. R. Wampler, and M. P. Zach, "Use of isotopic tungsten tracers and a stable-isotope-mixing model to characterize divertor source location in the DIII-D metal rings campaign." Nuclear Materials and Energy, vol. 19, pp. 358-363, 2019/05/01/ 2019.
E. A. Unterberg, D. C. Donovan, J. D. Duran, J. Nichols, P. C. Stangeby, J. D. Elder, T. Abrams, H. Y. Guo, D. Thomas, D. L. Rudakov, W. R. Wampler, J. L. Barton, J. Watkins, M. Zach, and A. R. Briesesmeister, "Characterization of the SOL impurity transport and divertor leakage using isotopic tungsten during the DIII-D metal rings campaign." Nuclear Fusion, vol. (In Review), 2019.
T. Looby, M. Reinke, D. Donovan, T. Gray, M. Messineo, and A. Khodak, "Convolutional Neural Networks for Heat Flux Model Validation on NSTX-U." IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, pp. 1-11, 2019.
J. D. Elder, P. C. Stangeby, E. A. Unterberg, T. Abrams, J. A. Boedo, D. Donovan, A. G. McLean, D. L. Rudakov, W. R. Wampler, and J. G. Watkins, "Evidence of near-SOL tungsten accumulation using a far-SOL collector probe array and OEDGE modelling in the DIII-D metal rings L-mode discharges." Nuclear Materials and Energy, vol. 19, pp. 287-294, 2019/05/01/ 2019.
J. D. Duran, E. A. Unterberg, M. P. Zach, W. R. Wampler, D. L. Rudakov, and D. C. Donovan, "Multiple Analytical Approach to Isotopic Transport Analysis in Magnetic Fusion Devices." Fusion Science and Technology, pp. 1-6, 2019.
M. Showers, P. A. Piotrowicz, C. J. Beers, T. M. Biewer, J. Caneses, J. Canik, J. B. O. Caughman, D. C. Donovan, R. H. Goulding, A. Lumsdaine, N. Kafle, L. W. Owen, J. Rapp, and H. Ray, "Power accounting of plasma discharges in the linear device Proto-MPEX," (in English). Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Article vol. 60, no. 6, p. 10, Jun 2018, Art. no. 065001.
J. Ren, D. Donovan, J. Watkins, H. Q. Wang, D. Rudakov, C. Murphy, A. McLean, C. Lasnier, E. Unterberg, D. Thomas, and R. Boivin, "The surface eroding thermocouple for fast heat flux measurement in DIII-D," (in English). Review of Scientific Instruments, Article; Proceedings Paper vol. 89, no. 10, p. 5, Oct 2018, Art. no. 10j122.
N. Kafle, L. W. Owen, J. F. Caneses, T. M. Biewer, J. B. O. Caughman, D. C. Donovan, R. H. Goulding, and J. Rapp, "Plasma flow measurements in the Prototype-Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX) and comparison with B2.5-Eirene modeling," (in English). Physics of Plasmas, Article vol. 25, no. 5, p. 7, May 2018, Art. no. 052508.
N. Kafle, T. M. Biewer, and D. C. Donovan, "Dual-pass upgrade to the Thomson scattering diagnostic on the Prototype-Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX)," (in English). Review of Scientific Instruments, Article; Proceedings Paper vol. 89, no. 10, p. 5, Oct 2018, Art. no. 10c107.
D. C. Donovan, E. A. Unterberg, P. C. Stangeby, S. Zamperini, J. D. Auxier, D. L. Rudakov, W. R. Wampler, M. Zach, T. Abrams, J. D. Duran, J. D. Elder, and A. L. Neff, "Utilization of outer-midplane collector probes with isotopically enriched tungsten tracer particles for impurity transport studies in the scrape-off layer of DIII-D (invited)," (in English). Review of Scientific Instruments, Article; Proceedings Paper vol. 89, no. 10, p. 8, Oct 2018, Art. no. 10i115.