Journal of Plasma Physics


High yield fusion in a staged Z-pinch

H. U. RAHMANa1, F. J. WESSELa1, N. ROSTOKERa1 and P. H. NEYa2

a1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

a2 Mount San Jacinto College, Menifee, CA 92584, USA (


We simulate fusion in a Z-pinch, where the load is a xenon-plasma liner imploding onto a deuterium–tritium (DT) plasma target and the driver is a 2 MJ, 17 MA, 95 ns risetime pulser. The implosion system is modeled using the dynamic, 2D, radiation-magnetohydrodynamic code, MACH2. During implosion a shock forms in the Xe liner, transporting current and energy radially inward. After collision with the DT, a secondary shock forms pre-heating the DT to several hundred electronvolts. Adiabatic compression leads subsequently to a fusion burn, as the target is surrounded by a flux-compressed, intense, azimuthal-magnetic field. The intense-magnetic field confines fusion α-particles, providing an additional source of ion heating that leads to target ignition. The target remains stable up to the time of ignition. Predictions are for a neutron yield of 3.0 × 1019 and a thermonuclear energy of 84 MJ, that is, 42 times greater than the initial, capacitor-stored energy.

(Received December 20 2008)

(Accepted February 23 2009)

(Online publication April 22 2009)