An X-pinch is a variation of a wire array Z-pinch and consists of two or more thin metallic wires crossed in the shape of an “X”. By applying a large (100 – 500 kA), fast rising current (~ 100 ns) through the wires, several rapid bursts (~ 1 ns) of soft x-rays are produced from micron sized hot-spots forming at the cross-point between the wires. Here the plasma densitiy exceeds 1022 cm-3 and temperatures of ~ 1 keV are achieved. Because of the temporal and spatial characteristics of the X-ray emission, X-pinches are routinely used as backlighter diagnostics.
The complex physical evolution of an x-pinch is studied in detail using the three-dimensional resistive magneto-hydrodynamic code Gorgon. X-ray emission is preceded by the formation of jet-like structures and a miniature z-pinch plasma column. A combination of radiative collapse and axial flow drive the initial radial implosion of the z-pinch until the onset of MHD instabilities further compresses regions of the plasma producing the x-ray bursts.