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) utilizes intense pulsed current to compress premagnetized and preheated fusion fuel to accomplish thermonuclear fusion. Recent success of the MagLIF experimental campaign has fueled interest in pursuing direct drive magnetic implosion as a viable pathway towards scientific breakeven fusion yields on the Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratories and towards high yield, high gain fusion on future pulsed power facilities.

Heating of the surface layers of a solid metallic cylindrical tube, or liner, during a ~100ns intense current pulse results in the development of instability structures which lead to asymmetry in the implosion. Magnetically driven implosions rely on implosion symmetry and liner surface uniformity during implosion to attain the necessary pressure, temperature, and confinement conditions for a significant number of thermonuclear fusion reactions to occur. Study of liner instabilities is necessary to determine how to mitigate or eliminate them to achieve a more uniform implosion and thereby increase fusion yields.

My research focuses on studying the electrothermal instability (ETI) which is a non-uniform surface current instability that results in a non-uniform temperature profile on the liner surface prior to when the liner implodes. Recent studies suggest that these temperature non-uniformities (and more directly, the associated surface density non-uniformities that arise as a result) can couple to magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor (MRT) instabilities that occur during the implosion phase of the experiment that severely degrade the integrity of the implosion. Diagnosing the growth and evolution of ETI structures on the surface of a conductor pulsed with intense current on ~100ns time scales is of direct importance to improving performance of magneto-inertial fusion experiments that utilize solid metallic liners and designing magneto-inertial fusion experiments that are robust to instabilities in the future.


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