Related topics: plasma

Image: Hubble spies newly forming star incubating in IC 2631

Stars are born from clouds of gas and dust that collapse under their own gravitational attraction. As the cloud collapses, a dense, hot core forms and begins gathering dust and gas, creating an object called a "protostar."

Image: Reflected starlight bathes forming star

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures a portion of the reflection nebula IC 2631 that contains a protostar, the hot, dense core of a forming star that is accumulating gas and dust. Eventually the protostar may gravitationally ...

Harnessing hot helium ash to drive rotation in fusion reactors

In controlled nuclear fusion, heavy isotopes of hydrogen fuse into helium, releasing a huge amount of energy in the process. A large portion of the energy released by a laboratory fusion reaction goes into hot helium ash ...

Researchers report argon fluoride laser fusion research findings

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory experts race toward sustainable clean energy with advances in fusion energy. Steve Obenschain, Ph.D., a research physicist at NRL, said nuclear fusion would be a valuable addition to clean energy ...

Magnet milestones move distant nuclear fusion dream closer

Teams working on two continents have marked similar milestones in their respective efforts to tap an energy source key to the fight against climate change: They've each produced very impressive magnets.

Stellar collision triggers supernova explosion

Astronomers have found dramatic evidence that a black hole or neutron star spiraled its way into the core of a companion star and caused that companion to explode as a supernova. The astronomers were tipped off by data from ...

page 1 from 21

Nuclear fusion

In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple like-charged atomic nuclei join together to form a heavier nucleus. It is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy, which allows matter to enter a plasma state.

The fusion of two nuclei with lower mass than iron (which, along with nickel, has the largest binding energy per nucleon) generally releases energy while the fusion of nuclei heavier than iron absorbs energy; vice-versa for the reverse process, nuclear fission. In the simplest case of hydrogen fusion, two protons have to be brought close enough for their mutual electric repulsion to be overcome by the nuclear force and the subsequent release of energy.

Nuclear fusion occurs naturally in stars. Artificial fusion in human enterprises has also been achieved, although has not yet been completely controlled. Building upon the nuclear transmutation experiments of Ernest Rutherford done a few years earlier, fusion of light nuclei (hydrogen isotopes) was first observed by Mark Oliphant in 1932; the steps of the main cycle of nuclear fusion in stars were subsequently worked out by Hans Bethe throughout the remainder of that decade. Research into fusion for military purposes began in the early 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project, but was not successful until 1952. Research into controlled fusion for civilian purposes began in the 1950s, and continues to this day.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA