Theoretical quark fusion found to be more powerful than hydrogen fusion

November 6, 2017 by Bob Yirka report
Schematic depiction of quark-level exothermic fusion reactions ΛQΛQ′ → ΞQQ′N, where Q,Q′ ∈ {b, c}. Credit: (c) Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature24289

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago has found evidence suggesting that fusing quarks can release much more energy than anyone thought. In their paper published in the journal Nature, Marek Karliner and Jonathan Rosner describe their theories surrounding the amount of energy involved when various types of quarks are fused together.

To learn more about , researchers at the Large Hadron Collider cause atoms to move at high speeds and then smash them into one another. Doing so forces the component parts of the atoms to be disassociated from one another allowing each to be studied. Those components, scientists have found, are called quarks. Prior research has also shown that when atoms in the collider smash into each other, sometimes the pieces that come apart collide with other parts, fusing them into particles called baryons.

Prior work has suggested that energy is involved when quarks fuse together. In studying the properties of one such fusing, a doubly-charmed baryon, the researchers found that it took 130 MeV to force the quarks into such a particular configuration, but they also found that fusing the quarks together wound up releasing 12 MeV more than that. Intrigued by their finding, they quickly focused on bottom quarks, which are much heavier—calculations showed it took 230 MeV to fuse such quarks, but doing so resulted in a net release of approximately 138 MeV, which the team calculated was approximately eight times more than the amount released during hydrogen fusion.

Since lies at the heart of hydrogen bombs, the researchers were quite naturally alarmed at their findings. So much so that they considered not publishing their results. But subsequent calculations showed that it would be impossible to cause a chain reaction with quarks because they exist for too short a period of time—approximately one picosecond—not long enough to set off another baryon. They decay into much smaller, less dangerous lighter quarks.

The researchers point out that their work is still purely theoretical. They have not tried to fuse bottom quarks, though they note it should be technically feasible at the LHC should others find doing so a worthwhile experiment.

Explore further: LHCb experiment announces observation of a new particle with two heavy quarks

More information: Marek Karliner et al. Quark-level analogue of nuclear fusion with doubly heavy baryons, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature24289

Abstract
The essence of nuclear fusion is that energy can be released by the rearrangement of nucleons between the initial- and final-state nuclei. The recent discovery of the first doubly charmed baryon Ξ++cc , which contains two charm quarks (c) and one up quark (u) and has a mass of about 3,621 megaelectronvolts (MeV) (the mass of the proton is 938 MeV) also revealed a large binding energy of about 130 MeV between the two charm quarks. Here we report that this strong binding enables a quark-rearrangement, exothermic reaction in which two heavy baryons (Λc) undergo fusion to produce the doubly charmed baryon Ξ++ cc and a neutron n (ΛcΛc →Ξ++cc n ), resulting in an energy release of 12 MeV. This reaction is a quarklevel analogue of the deuterium–tritium nuclear fusion reaction (DT → 4 He n). The much larger binding energy (approximately 280 MeV) between two bottom quarks (b) causes the analogous reaction with bottom quarks (Λ Λb b→Ξbbn 0 ) to have a much larger energy release of about 138 MeV. We suggest some experimental setups in which the highly exothermic nature of the fusion of two heavy-quark baryons might manifest itself. At present, however, the very short lifetimes of the heavy bottom and charm quarks preclude any practical applications of such reactions.

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Ojorf
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2017
Cool!

Won't be long now before we have micro quark fusion generators in everything instead of batteries.
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(in movies & books at least. ;-) )
BCL1
5 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
No, there is nothing practical (or destructive) that can come from this. None of this is surprising as quark binding energies are so high. . . duh, of course you would expect to see a lot of energy released in quark-quark interactions. Is this even new information?
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (4) Nov 06, 2017
"Picosecond..."

And yet, we might envision a device that could produce a stream of pairs which would immediately annihilate, producing directed energy. A drive or a beam weapon, or a reactor.

If you want me I'll be in the lab.
CubicAdjunct747
1 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2017
Perhaps the basis for Bosenova! By the way, the bosenova wiki keeps getting changed over the years and diminishes the energy each time. Then why did Cern have to calculate the possibility of exploding this side of the solar system with 120 t of superfluid helium 2?
PTTG
3 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2017
"Those components, scientists have found, are called quarks. Prior research has also shown that when atoms in the collider smash into each other, sometimes the pieces that come apart collide with other parts, fusing them into particles called baryons."

It reads like the author just opened a textbook and picked words at random.
kamikrazee
1 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2017
This is both cool and interesting. Wake me when we can start and sustain either reaction and run a flashlight with it.
Da Schneib
3.8 / 5 (4) Nov 06, 2017
Hmmmm, those lambda particles are awfully difficult to make and don't last very long.

Doesn't sound very practical to me.

Didn't we see an article pretty much like this one last week?
Noumenon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
"Those components, scientists have found, are called quarks. Prior research has also shown that when atoms in the collider smash into each other, sometimes the pieces that come apart collide with other parts, fusing them into particles called baryons."

It reads like the author just opened a textbook and picked words at random.


I agree. Generally in colliders, it's not like the components of the colliding atoms are all that are involved, but rather that previously non-existent sub-atomic particles are created from the energy of the collision according to E = mc^2. Also the amount of energy needed to separate two quarks creates more particles.

Moebius
not rated yet Nov 06, 2017
Yes, we are perfectly safe. Can't do it you say? Great, we never are able to do things you can't do so np. Joy, a quark fusion bomb 8x an H bomb.
fossilator
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2017
"Those components, scientists have found, are called quarks." So they had little labels on them that the scientists could read?
Noumenon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
"Those components, scientists have found, are called quarks." So they had little labels on them that the scientists could read?


The labels are shuffled according to Fermi–Dirac statistics.

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2017
Hmmmm, those lambda particles are awfully difficult to make and don't last very long.

Doesn't sound very practical to me.

Didn't we see an article pretty much like this one last week?

Actually... I linked it in another thread as an interesting semi-related thing....
Erik
3 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
Short reaction windows can be compensated with extreme densities. Could this reaction prevent a stable quark star from forming? Might not this reaction promptly blow it apart?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2017
Short reaction windows can be compensated with extreme densities

Well, you'd need an extremely compact quark gluon plasma (in a container...and there's nothing that could contain this because it would react immediately)

When you look up the conditions for such a plasma then it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't practical. To get even some particles (we're not talking any relevant masses/volumes that could cause a noticeable 'poof') you need something like the LHC...because that's what the LHC does.
Erik
3 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
Actually, I was thinking of a supernova - after the neutron degeneracy pressure fails, & the collapse continues until it comes up against the quark degeneracy pressure. Might that create an adequately extreme density to enable a brief chain reaction?
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
Short reaction windows can be compensated with extreme densities

Well, you'd need an extremely compact quark gluon plasma (in a container...and there's nothing that could contain this because it would react immediately)

Wouldn't this sorta preclude a super giant quark/gluon mass (let's just say the size of a pin head...) from forming in the first place?
(I think you know where I'm going with that one...:-)
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2017
Actually, I was thinking of a supernova - after the neutron degeneracy pressure fails, & the collapse continues until it comes up against the quark degeneracy pressure. Might that create an adequately extreme density to enable a brief chain reaction?

Which might lead to bigger, longer chain reactions up the fractal ladder... Hmmmm...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2017
up the fractal ladder

Please. Whyde. Don't.
Don't use words you don't know the meaning of.
Spaced out Engineer
3 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
Whydening Gyre might be right, if some of the exotic forms of neutron stars are true.
someone11235813
5 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2017
the researchers were quite naturally alarmed at their findings.


Trust me if we start a nuclear war it ain't gonna matter if we're dropping H bombs or quark bombs any more than it would matter if I got strafed with an M16 or a Howitzer.
Whydening Gyre
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2017
up the fractal ladder

Please. Whyde. Don't.
Don't use words you don't know the meaning of.

From Wikipedia;
"Fractals can also be nearly the same at different levels [scales]. ... fractals also include the idea of a detailed pattern that repeats itself [at different scales]."
Which also happens to be my own general understanding of "Fractal".
Please let me know where I am wrong.
(or where Mandlebrot was)
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2017
Short reaction windows can be compensated with extreme densities
Particle pairs could be generated with relativistic velocities which could possibly extend their lives long enough to produce useful net energy.
Please. Whyde. Don't.
Don't use words you don't know the meaning of
aa has his asshat on again.

It's cold this time of year you know.
Merrit
not rated yet Nov 06, 2017
Seems odd that they would only be discovering this now. This seems to be an important piece of particle physics. Makes me wonder if they can account for all the energy in the aftermath of a particle accelerater collision.
rderkis
not rated yet Nov 07, 2017
It's really sounds funny to hear a so called scientist use the word impossible "But subsequent calculations showed that it would be impossible to cause a chain reaction with quarks".
Gigel
1 / 5 (1) Nov 07, 2017
I salute these scientists' rectitude and their disposition of not jumping straight into publishing potentially dangerous research. Scientists have to remember they are humans firstly and avoid bringing harm to their fellow humans, even in an indirect way. We should avoid a Faustian pact that would lead us all to perdition in the end. I hope politicians and common people will have the same restraint when there is the risk of harming someone else. Power without humanity can be a curse, humanity without power can still be the chance of doing some good, so humanity is always better than power.
antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 07, 2017
Which also happens to be my own general understanding of "Fractal".
Please let me know where I am wrong.

Forces have definite ranges, different behavior as to whether they can be blocked, different structures (positive/negative or just one type), different drop of rates with distance, ...

Just because some stuff happens on a larger or smaller scale and are called 'force' does not make it 'fractal'. Self similarity is required.

The misuse of the word 'fractal' is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. It's one of those words that gets bandied about a lot as if it were some magical ordering principle or somehow fundamental to...anything. It's not. It's an emergent pattern based on interplay of similar effects on different scales (e.g. where a 2D force and a 3D force compete you get fractal patterns...but it's not because of any 'fractal nature' of things)
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2017

The misuse of the word 'fractal' is a bit of a pet peeve of mine
Popular usage of scientific terms is often different than what the anally-motivated would prefer.

"The word "fractal" often has different connotations for laypeople than for mathematicians, where the layperson is more likely to be familiar with fractal art than a mathematical conception..."

Ditto with ballistic and etc.

-Personally I have a problem with 'robust' and 'having said that...' but ive outgrown the need to grimace.
Whydening Gyre
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2017
Which also happens to be my own general understanding of "Fractal".
Please let me know where I am wrong.

Forces have definite ranges, different behavior as to whether they can be blocked, different structures (positive/negative or just one type), different drop of rates with distance, ...

Just because some stuff happens on a larger or smaller scale and are called 'force' does not make it 'fractal'. Self similarity is required.

I don't think I was referring to force. I was referring to an potential event. Events ofttimes happen in a fractal manner. Not exactly the same, sure, but similar enough to see a pattern...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2017
Events ofttimes happen in a fractal manner.

I'm not even sure what you mean by this. Maybe you can provide an example?
Kron
5 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2017
This article is very poorly written. The researchers are discussing the fusion of 'heavy baryons' not the fusion of quarks. Very poorly done. This is very interesting work and deserves a rewrite.

Bob Yirka's articles are normally done way better than this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2017
This article is very poorly written. The researchers are discussing the fusion of 'heavy baryons
Per the paper you failed to check out;

"Quark-level analogue of nuclear fusion with doubly heavy baryons
"This reaction is a quark-level analogue of the deuterium–tritium nuclear fusion reaction (DT → 4He n). The much larger binding energy (approximately 280 MeV) between two bottom quarks (b) causes the analogous reaction with bottom quarks ( ) to have a much larger energy release of about 138 MeV..."
Bob Yirka's articles are normally done way better than this
-so you would think they're worth actually reading?
mackita
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2017
It's worth to note, that the string theory fiasco has been based on unsuccessful search for black holes at LHC. This controversial search was motivated by suggestion, that the extradimensions (which are required for string theory to work) would stabilize the metastable products of particle collisions a bit, which would indicate the potential for black hole condensation. As you may know, the inverse square law for gravity corresponds the number of dimensions minus one, the higher number of dimensions is, the stronger the attractive force will be and the faster it would drop. Now the same effect has been found for condensation of quarks and nobody of string theorists gets thrilled... ;-)
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Nov 07, 2017
It's worth to note, that the string theory fiasco has been https://io9.gizmo...al-test, that the extradimensions (which are required for string theory to work) would stabilize the metastable products of particle collisions a bit, which would indicate the potential for black hole condensation. As you may know, the inverse square law for gravity corresponds the number of dimensions minus one, the higher number of dimensions is, the stronger the attractive force will be and the faster it would drop. Now the same effect has been found for condensation of quarks and nobody of string theorists gets thrilled... ;-)

Zeph... it IS you... Welcome back...:-)
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Nov 08, 2017
Events ofttimes happen in a fractal manner.

I'm not even sure what you mean by this. Maybe you can provide an example?


Since we're approaching the term from differing backgrounds we will probly have differing perspectives...
So, give a day or two to try and come up with an example or two to show you my perspective on it...
To start, I guess you could look at it as "geometric" progression of a sort...

rderkis
1 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2017
jumping straight into publishing potentially dangerous research.

Wow, are you gullible. :-) You notice it DID get published. No scientist does research and discovers somthing really new and keeps their mouth shut.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (2) Nov 11, 2017
I am a bit concerned that they wanted to check why chain reactions did not happens in cosmic ray events before publishing. Good result, but not something that should decide publication obviously,

@WG: The "scales" in fractals are commonly not energy scales but spatial. Your 'fractal ladder' makes no sense.

@mackita: Why do you proclaim on string theory, when you obviously do not know the subject or its status? (String theory is a useful mathematical discipline. It was not based on black holes but was discovered when studying strong force flux tubes.) It just looks comical when you cherry-pick ad hoc studies to kvetch over, for those actually interested in those topics.
nikola_milovic_378
Nov 12, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Nov 12, 2017
Events ofttimes happen in a fractal manner.

I'm not even sure what you mean by this. Maybe you can provide an example?

The acceptance of GR and SR...?
And it's subsequent applications...?
Tuhutron
Nov 24, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Tuhutron
Nov 24, 2017
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