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Antiproton catalyzed fusion

Description: Because of the potential application to power production, it is important to investigate a wide range of possible means to achieve nuclear fusion, even those that may appear initially to be infeasible. In antiproton catalyzed fusion, the negative antiproton shields the repulsion between the positively charged nuclei of hydrogen isotopes, thus allowing a much higher level of penetration through the repulsive Coulomb barrier, and thereby greatly enhancing the fusion cross section. Because of their more compact wave function, the more massive antiprotons offer considerably more shielding than do negative muons. The effects of the shielding on fusion cross sections are most predominate, at low energies. If the antiproton could exist in the ground state with a nucleus for a sufficient time without annihilating, the fusion cross sections are so enhanced that at room temperature energies, values up to about 1,000 barns (that for d+t) would be possible. Unfortunately, the cross section for antiproton annihilation with the incoming nucleus is even higher. A model that provides an upper bound for the fusion to annihilation cross section for all relevant energies indicates that each antiproton will catalyze no more than about one fusion. Because the energy required to make one antiproton greatly exceeds the fusion energy that is released, this level of catalysis is far from adequate for power production.
Date: May 15, 1995
Creator: Morgan, D.L. Jr.; Perkins, L.J. & Haney, S.W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department