Improved ion heating in fast ignition by pulse shaping

Henry Fetsch, Nathaniel J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The fast ignition paradigm for inertial fusion offers increased gain and tolerance of asymmetry by compressing fuel at low entropy and then quickly igniting a small region. Because this hot spot rapidly disassembles, the ions must be heated to ignition temperature as quickly as possible, but most ignitor designs directly heat electrons. A constant-power ignitor pulse, which is generally assumed, is suboptimal for coupling energy from electrons to ions. Using a simple model of a hot spot in isochoric plasma, a pulse shape to maximize ion heating is presented in analytical form. Bounds are derived on the maximum ion temperature attainable by electron heating only. Moreover, arranging for faster ion heating allows a smaller hot spot, improving fusion gain. Under representative conditions, the optimized pulse can reduce ignition energy by over 20%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045206
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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