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Energy is one of the most concerning issue of the world. It is necessary to develop energy technology that is clean, sustainable and affordable to produce. Currently more than 85% of energy is produced from fossil fuels, which will be exhausted in some time, which has well known disadvantages like limited reserves and increase in greenhouse gases damaging climate. Fusion is an alternative to all these types of energy sources, which is known as “limitless” and “sustainable”. Fusing atoms together in a controlled way releases nearly four million times more energy than a chemical reaction such as the burning of coal, oil or gas and four times more than nuclear fission.
Fusion is a process that happens inside the stars and is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei come close enough to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons) overcoming the coulomb forces at very high temperature which exist in core of a star, such as Sun (15 million 0C). It is a highly exothermic process releasing much high-level energy particles than fission that can produce self-sustaining reactions. The difference in mass between the colliding particles and the resulting nuclei is manifested as the release of a large quantity of energy, which materialises due to contrast in binding energy between the nuclei before and after the reaction. This is exactly expressed by the Einstein’s famous formula; where mass lost in reaction is m and c being the speed of light. Some fusion reactions of interests are given below, and the most accessible is that involving deuterium and tritium, the two isotopes of hydrogen.
Everything in universe begin with a big bang, so as fusion. The nuclear fusion process in stars is limited to elements below iron, since it would subtract energy rather than providing it as being one of the most tightly bound nuclei. So, a prerequisite for fusion reaction is that the colliding nuclei should be lighter than Iron-56 or Nickel-62, since these elements have the smallest mass per nucleon and the largest binding energy per nucleon, respectively creating an exothermic reaction. These fusions of these light elements releases energy (an exothermic process), while a fusion producing nuclei heavier than these elements will result in energy retained by the resulting nucleons, and the resulting reaction is endothermic. Reversibly, nuclei that are heavier than Fe-56 require an external source of energy for the reaction to occur. Thus, lighter elements like Hydrogen, Deuterium and Helium have a higher fusion probability than those of heavier elements than Fe-56 such as Uranium and Plutonium, which are more likely to break apart meaning fission. Only the extreme cosmic events of interstellar entities, can produce enough energy to fuse nuclei into elements heavier than iron.
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