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In this paper, a stair-step-shaped magnetic pole structure is proposed to use in a permanent-magnet linear synchronous motor (PMLSM) for its application in an electromagnetic launch system. The aim of this configuration is to shape the air-gap flux density distribution produced by poles to be as close to a sine waveform as possible for the reduction of thrust ripple and the increase of motor controllability. An analytical model is derived for the PMLSMs by solving Maxwell equations and applying the superposition theorem for calculating the magnetic field, electromotive force, and thrust/torque of the motor. Magnet dimensions are then optimized using the analytical method and genetic algorithm, where the reduction of air-gap flux density harmonics is considered as the optimization target. Finally, the effectiveness of the proposed technique to enhance the motor performance is investigated by a time-stepping transient finite-element method. The results show an improvement in the optimal motor performance.