Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Richard D. Petrasso
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"For pioneering use of proton radiography to reveal new aspects of flows, instabilities, and fields in high-energy-density plasmas."


Richard D. Petrasso received his B.S. from Oregon State University in 1967 and his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1972. His research has focused on high-energy-density (HED) and inertial-confinement-fusion (ICF) plasmas. In the late 1980s, Dr. Petrasso collaborated with Ph.D. student Chikang Li, to study the slowing of energetic charged particles in HED plasmas in order to determine plasma properties. Together with researchers from the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Sandia National Laboratories, and several MIT students and staff, Dr. Petrasso helped create diagnostics and analyses used at Omega Laser Facility and the National Ignition Facility at LLNL. This included the multiple monoenergetic particle source (MMPS), based on imploding thin-shelled (~ 2 mic) capsules (~ 400 mic diam) filled with D and 3He. Through this high-temperature (~10 keV), shock-driven implosion, fusion products of 14.7 MeV and 3.0 MeV protons, 3.6 MeV alphas, 1.0 MeV T, and 0.8 MeV 3He ions are isotropically emitted (~10**9) in ~75 ps. The MMPS is being used by the HED community to radiograph and analyze fields and plasma evolution, and to study stopping power in classical and WDM plasmas. The MMPS was utilized by the 2014 and 2016 Marshall Rosenbluth Outstanding Thesis awardees, Drs. Mario Manuel and Michael Rosenberg.  Dr. Petrasso is currently researching equilibration between electrons, impurity ions, and fuel ions in HED plasmas (this conference). In 2013, Dr. Petrasso received the Edward Teller Medal for development of novel HED/ICF diagnostics and analyses. He heads the HED Physics Division in the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Selection Committee:

2017 Selection Committee Members: Scott Baalrud, Univ. of Iowa (Chair); Walter Gekelman, UCLA (Vice Chair); Francesca Turco, Columbia University; James Bailey, Sandia National Laboratories (2016 recipient); Marilyn Schneider, LLNL