Nicolas Gomez-Vega

Postdoctoral Research Associate


Originally from Madrid (Spain), I graduated Imperial College London in 2019 with a Master of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering. I then joined LAE as a research assistant to pursue a PhD degree, specializing in ionic propulsion for aircraft. After completing my PhD in 2023, I transitioned into a postdoctoral associate position in LAE, performing research in sustainable propulsion. Over my time at MIT, I have directly advised over 15 undergraduate students across design and research projects. Outside of work, I enjoy soccer and traveling.



My interests lie at the intersection of aircraft propulsion and sustainability. During my PhD, I focused on electroaerodynamic (EAD) thrusters, which use ions to produce a propulsive force while being nearly silent. As part of my postdoc, I am exploring new propulsion systems for general aviation that leverage the properties of non-drop-in fuels, such liquid hydrogen or liquified natural gas. For example, I have developed models for heat exchangers integrated into jet engines, heating up the fuel while improving the engine cycle. In addition, I have performed modeling work on propulsion with hydrogen fuel cells, a potentially greener alternative to jet engines.


      • Sustainable propulsion
      • Electric propulsion
      • Hydrogen-powered aircraft
      • Electroaerodynamics
      • Plasma physics


See full list of publications here.

      • Xu, H., Gomez-Vega, N., Wilde, N. D., Kambhampaty, J. M., & Barrett, S. R. (2021). Electrical characteristics of wire-to-wire dielectric barrier discharges. Plasma Sources Science and Technology.

      • Wilde, N. D., Xu, H., Gomez-Vega, N., & Barrett, S. R. (2021). A model of surface dielectric barrier discharge power. Applied Physics Letters, 118(15), 154102.

      • Gomez-Vega, N., Xu, H., Abel, J. M., & Barrett, S. R. (2021). Performance of decoupled electroaerodynamic thrusters. Applied Physics Letters, 118(7), 074101.

      • Gomez-Vega, N., Gramola, M., & Bruce, P. J. (2020). Oblique shock control with steady flexible panels. AIAA Journal, 58(5), 2109-2121.

      • Xu, H., Gomez-Vega, N., Agrawal, D. R., & Barrett, S. R. (2019). Higher thrust-to-power with large electrode gap spacing electroaerodynamic devices for aircraft propulsion. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 53(2), 025202.