Journal of Plasma Physics

Research Article

Super-ion-beam accelerator for the ignition of thermonuclear reactions

F. Winterberga1

a1 Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada System, Reno, Nevada 89507


A pulsed, multi-stage, high-voltage accelerator is proposed which should be capable of producing intense ion beams of many million amperes and many million volts. Super ion beams produced by this type of accelerator can exceed the limiting Aifvén current for light ions, typically 107 A, at which beam pinching occurs. The beam pinching of these super-beams permits them to be precisely focused onto a thermonuclear target. With such an accelerator it seems to be possible to reach a beam voltage of 108 V with a beam current of 107 A. The resulting beam power of 1015 W should be more than sufficient to ignite a DT thermonuclear microexplosion. By the formation of a stable ion beam superpinch within a thermonuclear target, such a large beam power in conjunction with the strong self-magnetic field of the beam may even lead to the ignition of the DD and perhaps HB11 thermonuclear reactions.

(Received March 16 1979)

(Revised January 29 1980)