Nuclear fusion

fusionhydrogen fusionfusion reactionfusingfusethermonuclear fusionthermonuclearthermonuclear reactionfusesfused
In nuclear chemistry, nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons).wikipedia
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Triple-alpha process

helium fusionhelium burningtriple alpha process
This means that the lighter elements, such as hydrogen and helium, are in general more fusible; while the heavier elements, such as uranium, thorium and plutonium, are more fissionable.
The triple-alpha process is a set of nuclear fusion reactions by which three helium-4 nuclei (alpha particles) are transformed into carbon.

Main sequence

main-sequencemain sequence dwarfmain-sequence star
Fusion is the process that powers active or "main sequence" stars, or other high magnitude stars.
After condensation and ignition of a star, it generates thermal energy in its dense core region through nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium.

Mark Oliphant

Sir Mark OliphantMarcus Laurence Elwin OliphantSir Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant
Building on the early experiments in nuclear transmutation by Ernest Rutherford, laboratory fusion of hydrogen isotopes was accomplished by Mark Oliphant in 1932.
Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin "Mark" Oliphant (8 October 1901 – 14 July 2000) was an Australian physicist and humanitarian who played an important role in the first experimental demonstration of nuclear fusion and in the development of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear reaction

nuclear reactionsnuclearreaction
In nuclear chemistry, nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons).
Perhaps the most notable nuclear reactions are the nuclear chain reactions in fissionable materials that produce induced nuclear fission, and the various nuclear fusion reactions of light elements that power the energy production of the Sun and stars.

Thermonuclear fusion

thermonuclearfusingfusion
Research into developing controlled thermonuclear fusion for civil purposes began in earnest in the 1940s, and it continues to this day.
Thermonuclear fusion is a way to achieve nuclear fusion by using extremely high temperatures.

Supernova

supernovaecore-collapse supernovasupernovas
The extreme astrophysical event of a supernova can produce enough energy to fuse nuclei into elements heavier than iron.
Theoretical studies indicate that most supernovae are triggered by one of two basic mechanisms: the sudden re-ignition of nuclear fusion in a degenerate star or the sudden gravitational collapse of a massive star's core.

Ivy Mike

MikeMike test10.4 megaton
Nuclear fusion on a large scale in an explosion was first carried out on November 1, 1952, in the Ivy Mike hydrogen bomb test.
Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first test of a full-scale thermonuclear device, in which part of the explosive yield comes from nuclear fusion.

ITER

International Thermonuclear Experimental ReactorInternational Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)ITER for fusion energy
Workable designs for a toroidal reactor that theoretically will deliver ten times more fusion energy than the amount needed to heat plasma to the required temperatures are in development (see ITER).
ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject, which will be the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment.

Inertial confinement fusion

laser fusioninertial confinementICF
The US National Ignition Facility, which uses laser-driven inertial confinement fusion, was designed with a goal of break-even fusion; the first large-scale laser target experiments were performed in June 2009 and ignition experiments began in early 2011.
Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is a type of fusion energy research that attempts to initiate nuclear fusion reactions by heating and compressing a fuel target, typically in the form of a pellet that most often contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium.

Direct energy conversion

direct conversiondirect conversion to extract energy
Only direct conversion of mass into energy, such as that caused by the annihilatory collision of matter and antimatter, is more energetic per unit of mass than nuclear fusion.
It is a scheme for power extraction from nuclear fusion.

Proton–proton chain reaction

proton-proton chain reactionproton-proton chainproton–proton chain
The primary source of solar energy, and similar size stars, is the fusion of hydrogen to form helium (the proton-proton chain reaction), which occurs at a solar-core temperature of 14 million kelvin.
The proton–proton chain reaction is one of two known sets of nuclear fusion reactions by which stars convert hydrogen to helium.

Nuclear fission

fissionfission reactionfissionable
The opposite is true for the reverse process, nuclear fission.
A similar process occurs in fissionable isotopes (such as uranium-238), but in order to fission, these isotopes require additional energy provided by fast neutrons (such as those produced by nuclear fusion in thermonuclear weapons).

National Ignition Facility

NIF
The US National Ignition Facility, which uses laser-driven inertial confinement fusion, was designed with a goal of break-even fusion; the first large-scale laser target experiments were performed in June 2009 and ignition experiments began in early 2011.
NIF uses lasers to heat and compress a small amount of hydrogen fuel with the goal of inducing nuclear fusion reactions.

Helium

Hesuperfluid heliumhelium II
Francis Aston had also recently shown that the mass of a helium atom was about 0.8% less than the mass of the four hydrogen atoms which would, combined, form a helium atom, suggesting that if such a combination could happen, it would release considerable energy as a byproduct.
This helium-4 binding energy also accounts for why it is a product of both nuclear fusion and radioactive decay.

Nuclear physics

nuclear physicistnuclearnuclear scientist
Around 1920, Arthur Eddington anticipated the discovery and mechanism of nuclear fusion processes in stars, in his paper The Internal Constitution of the Stars.

Iron

FeFe 2+ Fe(III)
The net result of the opposing electrostatic and strong nuclear forces is that the binding energy per nucleon generally increases with increasing size, up to the elements iron and nickel, and then decreases for heavier nuclei.
Its abundance in rocky planets like Earth is due to its abundant production by fusion in high-mass stars, where it is the last element to be produced with release of energy before the violent collapse of a supernova, which scatters the iron into space.

Quantum tunnelling

quantum tunnelingtunnelingtunnel
Quantum tunneling was discovered by Friedrich Hund in 1929, and shortly afterwards Robert Atkinson and Fritz Houtermans used the measured masses of light elements to show that large amounts of energy could be released by fusing small nuclei.
Quantum tunnelling plays an essential role in several physical phenomena, such as the nuclear fusion that occurs in main sequence stars like the Sun.

CNO cycle

CNOcarbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) cyclecarbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle
In heavier stars, the CNO cycle and other processes are more important.
The CNO cycle (for carbon–nitrogen–oxygen) is one of the two known sets of fusion reactions by which stars convert hydrogen to helium, the other being the proton–proton chain reaction (pp-chain reaction).

Manhattan Project

atomic bomb projectatomic bombdevelopment of the atomic bomb
Research into fusion for military purposes began in the early 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project.
Edward Teller pushed for discussion of a more powerful bomb: the "super", now usually referred to as a "hydrogen bomb", which would use the explosive force of a detonating fission bomb to ignite a nuclear fusion reaction in deuterium and tritium.

Deuterium

deuterondeuteronsD
For example, the ionization energy gained by adding an electron to a hydrogen nucleus is 13.6 eV—less than one-millionth of the 17.6 MeV released in the deuterium–tritium (D–T) reaction shown in the adjacent diagram.
There is thought to be little deuterium in the interior of the Sun and other stars, as at temperatures there nuclear fusion reactions that consume deuterium happen much faster than the proton-proton reaction that creates deuterium.

Neutron

neutronsnfree neutron
In nuclear chemistry, nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons).
Neutrons are produced copiously in nuclear fission and fusion.

Strong interaction

strong forcestrongstrong interactions
The strong force grows rapidly once the nuclei are close enough, and the fusing nucleons can essentially "fall" into each other and the result is fusion and net energy produced.
Differences in the binding energy of the nuclear force between different nuclei power nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

Fusion power

fusion reactorfusionfusion energy
Research into using fusion for the production of electricity has been pursued for over 60 years.
Fusion power is a theoretical form of power generation that envisions energy being generated by using nuclear fusion reactions to produce heat for electricity generation.

Inertial electrostatic confinement

IECelectrostatic confinement fusionInertial Electrodynamic Fusion
Inertial electrostatic confinement is a set of devices that use an electric field to heat ions to fusion conditions.
Inertial electrostatic confinement is a branch of fusion research that uses an electric field to elevate a plasma to fusion conditions.

Lithium

Lilithium ionLi +
An exception to this general trend is the helium-4 nucleus, whose binding energy is higher than that of lithium, the next heaviest element.
The transmutation of lithium atoms to helium in 1932 was the first fully man-made nuclear reaction, and lithium deuteride serves as a fusion fuel in staged thermonuclear weapons.