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Fusion - Inertial Confinement - PHY00016M

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Chris Murphy
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

The course will provide an overview of the key plasma physics issues associated with inertial fusion research. It will enable students to make an informed decision on an appropriate research degree project, while at the same time providing the essential foundations necessary to pursue a research degree in the field. It will provide the necessary background for students to appreciate seminars in this research field. Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) is one of two major routes that are being pursued for fusion energy applications. It relies upon the extreme compression and heating of a tiny fuel capsule by the action of intense laser, ion or soft x-ray radiation. Students will learn about key aspects of ICF including the physics of ignition and burn, implosion physics, laser plasma interactions and hydrodynamic instabilities as well as being introduced to the latest developments in the field such as Fast Ignition.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module successful students will be able to:

  • Explain the advantages and features of various approaches to ICF including indirect drive ICF, direct drive ICF, laser driven ICF, ion beam and pulse power driven ICF and fast ignition and variants.
  • Describe the following physical processes: ignition in dense fuel, shock wave propagation, laser interaction with plasmas, laser interaction with a fuel capsule, laser interaction in hohlraums, fluid instabilities and laser interaction at high intensities and energetic particle generation.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 14
Online Exam
Fusion ¿ Inertial Confinement
N/A 86

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam
Fusion ¿ Inertial Confinement
N/A 86

Module feedback

Our policy on how you receive feedback for formative and summative purposes is contained in our Department Handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Lindl, The Quest for Ignition and Energy Gain Using Indirect Drive, Springer-Verlag,1998 (also available as a journal article Phys. Plasmas 2 (11), pp. 3933-4024,1995)
  • Atzeni and Meyer-ter-vehn, The Physics of Inertial Fusion, Oxford, 2004
  • Zel'dovich and Raizer, Physics of Shock Waves and High-Temperature Hydrodynamic Phenomena, Dover, 2002.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.