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The Physics of Inertial FusionBeamPlasma Interaction, Hydrodynamics, Hot Dense Matter$
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Stefano Atzeni and Jürgen Meyer-ter-Vehn

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198562641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198562641.001.0001

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Nuclear fusion reactions

Nuclear fusion reactions

(p.1) 1 Nuclear fusion reactions
The Physics of Inertial Fusion

Stefano Atzeni

JÜrgen Meyer-Ter-Vehn

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses nuclear fusion reactions. The concepts of reaction cross-section and of Maxwell-averaged reactivity are defined, and the standard parametrization of these two important quantities are presented and discussed qualitatively. A simplified analytical treatment of the barrier penetration is also described. The Gamow form of the Maxwellian reactivity is derived. A few fusion reactions of interest to energy production and to astrophysics are discussed. These include the deuterium-tritium reaction, other deuterium reactions, the p-p and CNO stellar cycles, and those occurring in the so-called advanced fusion fuels. Analytical expressions, fits, data, and graphs for the evaluation of their cross-sections and reactivities are provided. The last part of the chapter briefly discusses how strong material compression and spin polarization affect fusion reactivities. The principles of muon-catalysed fusion are also outlined.

Keywords:   fusion cross-section, fusion reactivity, barrier penetration, deuterium-tritium reaction, Gamow reactivity, advanced fusion fuels, spin-polarized fuels, compressed matter reactivity, muon-catalyzed fusion

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