Confinement time and ambipolar potential in a relativistic mirror-confined plasma

Ian E. Ochs, Vadim R. Munirov, Nathaniel J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Advanced aneutronic fusion fuels such as proton-Boron11 tend to require much higher temperatures than conventional fuels like deuterium-tritium. For electrons, the bulk plasma temperature can approach a substantial fraction of the rest mass. In a mirror confinement system, where the electrons are confined by an ambipolar potential of at least five electron temperatures, the tail electrons which can escape the potential are fully relativistic, which must be taken into account in calculating their confinement. In this paper, simple estimates are employed to extend the scaling of the confinement time into the relativistic regime. By asymptotically matching this scaling to known solutions in the non-relativistic limit, accurate forms for the confinement time (and thus, the ambipolar potential) are obtained. These forms are verified using finite-element-based Fokker-Planck simulations over a wide range of parameters. Comparing relativistic and nonrelativistic mirror-confined plasmas with the same ratio of confining potential | e ϕ | to electron temperature Te and the same mirror ratio R, the net result is a decrease in the confinement time due to relativistic effects by a factor of S ≡ ( 1 + 15 T e / 8 m e c 2 ) / ( 1 + 2 | e ϕ | / m e c 2 ) .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052508
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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