Gabriel Shipley

  • Program Year: 1
  • Academic Institution: University of New Mexico
  • Field of Study: Magneto-Inertial Fusion
  • Academic Advisor: Mark Gilmore
  • Practicum(s):
    Los Alamos National Laboratory (2018)
  • Degree(s):
    B.A. Physics and Astrophysics, University of New Mexico, 2015

Summary of Research

Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion (MagLIF) is a magneto-inertial fusion (MIF) concept that uses pulsed magnetic field to implode a metallic liner (cylindrical tube) to compress premagnetized laser-preheated fuel. To date, premagnetization has been provided by Helmholtz-like magnetic field coils positioned external to the liner. MagLIF experiments on Sandia's Z Machine utilizing these coils have successfully demonstrated thermonuclear conditions. However, eliminating the coils would have several benefits including improved x-ray diagnostic access and enhanced current coupling to the load. Additionally, increasing the premagnetization strength above the 30-T limit that the coils can provide will help improve thermal insulation of the fuel.

Auto-magnetizing (AutoMag) liners are designed to generate up to 100 T of axial magnetic field in the fuel for MagLIF without the need for external field coils. AutoMag liners are composed of discrete metallic helical conductors separated by electrically insulating material. Initially, helical current in an AutoMag liner produces internal axial magnetic field during a long (100 to 300 ns) current prepulse provided by the pulsed power driver. After the cold fuel is magnetized, a rapidly rising current generates a strong electric field between the helices and breaks down the insulating material after which liner current is reoriented from helical to predominantly axial and the z-pinch liner implodes.

My research primarily focuses on diagnosing the three stages of AutoMag: magnetization, breakdown, and implosion. Developing the AutoMag concept for use in MIF experiments could allow study of thermonuclear plasmas at unprecedented scale and production of uncompressed seed magnetic field as strong as 100 T in AutoMag experiments could enable a variety of fundamental science experiments. I am also exploring the use of a helical return current path surrounding the liner to try to modify electrothermal instability (ETI) structures on the liner surface prior to implosion and reduce magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities (MRTI) during implosion.


S. A. Slutz, C.A. Jennings, T.J. Awe, G.A. Shipley, B.T. Hutsel, D.C. Lamppa. Auto-Magnetizing Liners for Magnetized Inertial Fusion. Physics of Plasmas 24, 012704 (2017)

G.A. Shipley, S.A. Slutz, T.J. Awe, D.C. Lamppa, C.A. Jennings, R.D. McBride. Auto-Magnetizing Liners for MagLIF Experiments. Presentation. 2016 IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science

G. Shipley, A. Kuskov, J. Romero, L. Lehr, S. Portillo. Radiation Diagnostics and Dosimetry Modeling for Characterization of Plasma-Beam Interactions and X-Ray Production for a 500kV MILO. Poster. 2013 IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science


Dean's list, U of New Mexico: Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014.

Department honors, U of New Mexico, Department of Physics and Astronomy: Magna Cum Laude in Physics and Astrophysics

Institution honors, U of New Mexico: Summa Cum Laude

DOE NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship, 2017-Present