Dr. Paul Ottinger Selected IEEE FellowBy Dom Panciarelli | May 22, 2011
Dr. Paul F. Ottinger, former head of the Theory and Analysis Section in the Pulsed Power Physics Branch of the Plasma Physics Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, has been elevated to Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE recognized Ottinger for contributions to the physics of intense charged particle beams and vacuum pulsed-power technology.Dr. Paul Ottinger
Dr. Gerald Cooperstein, who at that time was head of the Pulsed-Power Physics Branch, prepared the nomination. In the nomination Ottinger is noted for his exceptional record of achievement over more than three decades in theoretical research supporting a broad range of programs associated with the physics of intense charged-particle beams and pulsed-power technology in the million-ampere, million-volt, 100 nanosecond regime. He is an analytic theorist who works closely with experimentalists and numericists. During his career at NRL, he has developed expertise in the specialized areas of intense particle beams, fast-opening plasma switches, diode physics, pulsed-power physics and technology, and plasma radiation sources.
Ottinger worked extensively on problems relating to production, focusing, and transport of both intense electron- and ion-beams. He is known in the international inertial confinement fusion (ICF) community as an expert in ion-beam transport, stability, and final focusing. An example of Ottinger's inventiveness is his electron-beam-bunching concept. Because relativistic electrons all travel at nearly the speed of light regardless of their energy, it was thought that time-of-flight beam bunching was not attainable. However, using drift orbits in a wire-guided plasma channel, he predicted relativistic electron beam bunching, which was later demonstrated in experiments. He has also been deeply involved in developing the understanding of the operation of the rod-pinch diode for radiographic applications such as Stockpile Stewardship for the Department of Energy. Here, an intense electron beam is pinched onto a small sub-millimeter tip of an anode rod made of high-atomic-number material, which produces an intense, sub-millimeter-spot-size x-ray source.
In the area of vacuum pulsed-power technology, Ottinger is known internationally as an expert on the theory of plasma opening switches (POS), and is now advancing the understanding of dynamic electron flow in a self-magnetically insulated transmission line (MITL) system. The short conduction time (~ 50 nanoseconds) POS is used at the output of conventional capacitive pulsed-power generators, increasing the power by pulse-compression through inductive energy storage. His work helped lead the way to extend POS operation to long conduction time (~ 1 microsecond) for development of inductive generators. Ottinger continues to impact pulsed-power technology through his recent work on power flow in MITLs. His re-scaled MITL flow model more accurately reproduces the properties of MITL flow, significantly improving the predictive capability of models for designing accelerators and analyzing experimental results. Ottinger's new generalized MITL flow model provides solutions for dynamic situations, where electron emission and re-trapping occur along the MITL. Additionally, his in-depth analysis of a conical MITL in z-pinch-driven inertial-fusion-energy systems demonstrates the feasibility of coupling power through a recyclable MITL to an ICF target.
Ottinger received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland in 1974 and 1977, respectively. From 1971 to 1973 he served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Detrick, Md, where he earned the Army Commendation Medal.
Ottinger came to NRL in 1977, as a National Research Council Research Associate in the Plasma Physics Division. Following his post-doctoral appointment, he continued working at NRL as a JAYCOR senior research physicist. In 1985, Ottinger joined NRL as head of the Theory and Analysis Section, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. From 2007 to 2009, he also served as acting associate superintendent of the Plasma Physics Division. He currently contributes both technically and programmatically to NRL as a consultant.
Ottinger is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has published 200 scientific papers. His numerous awards and honors include: six NRL Alan Berman Research Publication Awards; the 1992 Plasma Science and Applications Award from the Nuclear and Plasma Science Society of the IEEE for contributions to plasma science in intense light ion-beam-transport, stability, and focusing for inertial confinement fusion and in the theory of the plasma erosion switch for application to pulsed-power generators; the 1994 Sandia National Laboratories Award for Excellence for exceptional experiments and analysis of ion-beam transport schemes; an NRL Technology Transfer Award in 2000 for the development of a rod-pinch diode for use as a radiography source for Department of Energy (DOE) applications; the 2002 DOE Award of Appreciation for tirelessly and professionally supporting development and implementation of the dual-axis Cygnus radiographic source, and the DOE Defense Programs Awards of Excellence for his significant contributions to the Stockpile Stewardship Program in 2002 and 2004 respectively.
The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting Institute membership.
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