Skip to main content

Brian A. Nelson

  • Research Professor


Research Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics


Brian A. Nelson is a research professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He has participated in plasma physics research for over 35 years, at the UW, the Australian National University and the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and Iowa.  Nelson’s research areas include fusion energy research, EUV light production and plasma processing.  These research areas involve the development of high-voltage pulsed-power, high-power IGBT switching power amplifiers, feedback control systems, data acquisition, embedded Linux systems and computational physics simulations.  He has also been actively participating in the non-inductive startup of the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Research Interests

Plasma physics, including fusion energy research; plasma processing; basic plasma science; development of high power IGBT amplifiers; feedback control systems; embedded Linux; vacuum microelectronics and atomic/plasma physics.

Representative Publications

  • Nelson, B.A.; Jarboe, T.R.; Mueller, D.; Raman, R.; Bell, M.; Menard, J.; Ono, M.; Roquemore, A.L.; Soukhanovskii, V.; Yuh, H., “Demonstration of 300 kA CHI-startup current, coupling to transformer drive and flux savings on NSTX”, Nuclear Fusion, v 51, n 6, June 2011
  • Victor, B.S.; Akcay, C.; Hansen, C.J.; Jarboe, T.R.; Nelson, B.A.; Morgan, K.D., “Development of validation metrics using biorthogonal decomposition for the comparison of magnetic field measurements”, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, v 57, n 4, p 045010, April 2015
  • Hansen, C.; Victor, B.; Morgan, K.; Jarboe, T.; Hossack, A.; Marklin, G.; Nelson, B.A.; and Sutherland, D., “Numerical studies and metric development for validation of magnetohydrodynamic models on the HIT-SI experiment” Physics of Plasmas, v 22, n 5, p 056105, May 2015
  • T. R. Jarboe, B. A. Nelson, and D. A. Sutherland, “A mechanism for the dynamo terms to sustain closed-flux current, including helicity balance, by driving current which crosses the magnetic field”, Physics of Plasmas, v 22, n 7, p 072503, July 2015
  • Knecht, S.D.; Golingo, R.P.; Nelson, B.A.; and Shumlak, U., “Calculation of the equilibrium evolution of the ZaP flow Z-pinch using a four-chord interferometer”, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, v 43, n 8, pt.2, p 2469-79, Aug. 2015
  • R Raman, T Brown, LA El-Guebaly, TR Jarboe, BA Nelson, JE Menard, “Design Description for a Coaxial Helicity Injection Plasma Start-Up System for a ST-FNSF”, Fusion Science and Technology, v 68, 3, October 2015
Brian A. Nelson Headshot
Web PageClick Here
134 AERL

Research Areas




  • Ph.D. NEEP, 1987
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.S. NE, 1983
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1981
    University of Iowa