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Welcome to the Pulsed Plasma Physics Group

The Pulsed Plasma Physics Group make uses of experimental facilities both on and off campus to investigate the application of pulsed power and laser generated plasmas in basic plasma science, laboratory astrophysics, High Energy Density science and Inertial Confinement fusion. The delivery of energy to a target in short (picoseconds to microseconds) causes rapid evolution of plasmas with unique properties.


The group also has access to 3-dimensional resisitive MHD and kinetic codes, which are continually benchmarked to the experiments. This close co-ordination allows more accurate design and interpretation of the experimental programs.

The group is led by Dr Simon Bott-Suzuki, and is part of the UCSD Center for Energy Research. A summary of current research projects can be found on the Projects page.

Dr Bott-Suzuki recently delivered a Plenary talk on Pulsed-power Fusion Energy to an IFE workshop hosted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - click here for a pdf of the talk


P3 Group featured in LLNL news item on Thomson Scattering of sheared flow z-pinch - article link

P3 Undergraduate student Ann Truong wins Omega Laser Users Group Poster Award - click here for news item

P³ publishes PRL with LLNL and Zap Energy on Thomson scattering data on sheared flow z-pinch work showing 1-3keV electron temperature coincident with neutron yield

P³ Group publishes work on hydrodynamic bow-shock formation in Phys. Plasmas (click for paper)

Plasmas generated using pulsed power
Current Projects

The plasmas we study are generated by rapidly heating solid metals or gases using short pulses of electricity. This is typically achieved using individual capacitors or capacitor banks charged to 10s of kilo-volts (kV) to give electrical pulses from 100ns to 1us in duration. These pulses can drive 50 kilo-amperes (kA) to several mega-amperes (MA) of current into the load.


Through ohmic heating, the load (often a thin metal wire or cylinder) goes through rapid melting and boiling. It is eventually hot enough (~100,000 C) for electrons to be removed from the resulting gas. This plasma can be directed using the magnetic fields generated by the current in various ways to allow us to study different topics

  • A range of z-pinch driven High Energy Density physics investigations through the Cornell NNSA Center

  • Current initiation and uniformity in metal liners for fusion energy

  • Analysis of fusion plasmas using a portable time and space resolved Optical Thompson Scattering system


  • Analysis of laser-produced plasmas for EUV generation​

Details of all our projects are avaiable through the Projects page, or by contacting Dr Simon Bott-Suzuki (see below)

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Our sponsors
Contact Us

Dr. Simon Bott-Suzuki

Center for Energy Research

U.C. San Diego 

9500 Gilman Drive #0417

La Jolla, CA 92093-0417

Tel: 858-822-3828
Fax: 858-534-7716

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