What is Deuterium: Definition and 72 Discussions

Deuterium (or hydrogen-2, symbol 2H or D, also known as heavy hydrogen) is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen (the other being protium, or hydrogen-1). The nucleus of a deuterium atom, called a deuteron, contains one proton and one neutron, whereas the far more common protium has no neutrons in the nucleus. Deuterium has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in 6420 of hydrogen. Thus deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% (0.0312% by mass) of all the naturally occurring hydrogen in the oceans, while protium accounts for more than 99.98%. The abundance of deuterium changes slightly from one kind of natural water to another (see Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water).
The name deuterium is derived from the Greek deuteros, meaning "second", to denote the two particles composing the nucleus. Deuterium was discovered and named in 1931 by Harold Urey. When the neutron was discovered in 1932, this made the nuclear structure of deuterium obvious, and Urey won the Nobel Prize in 1934 "for his discovery of heavy hydrogen". Soon after deuterium's discovery, Urey and others produced samples of "heavy water" in which the deuterium content had been highly concentrated.
Deuterium is destroyed in the interiors of the stars faster than it is produced. Other natural processes are thought to produce only an insignificant amount of deuterium. Nearly all deuterium found in nature was produced in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, as the basic or primordial ratio of hydrogen-1 to deuterium (about 26 atoms of deuterium per million hydrogen atoms) has its origin from that time. This is the ratio found in the gas giant planets, such as Jupiter. The analysis of deuterium–protium ratios in comets found results very similar to the mean ratio in Earth's oceans (156 atoms of deuterium per million hydrogen atoms). This reinforces theories that much of Earth's ocean water is of cometary origin. The deuterium–protium ratio of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as measured by the Rosetta space probe, is about three times that of Earth water. This figure is the highest yet measured in a comet.Deuterium–protium ratios thus continue to be an active topic of research in both astronomy and climatology.

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  1. A

    B Deuterium combustion within inertial fusion schemes

    Hydrogen as well as Deuterium are both flammable chemically, I read that both hydrogen as well as deuterium can ignite/combust upon compression even in ordinary ICE engines. Hydrogen has been investigated and used as fuel for internal combustion engines. Now in a inertial fusion approach the...
  2. skywalker

    I More info on HT/HD shielding constants?

    I was wondering how they measured or calculated these differences? I don't know what they refer to, but assume theyre scattering Hydrogen with Tritium or Deuterium to measure the difference of something. https://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Results?search_for=shielding+difference
  3. hyperiontorus

    Levels of Civilization Based on Deuterium

    Summary:: Similar to the Kardashev Scale, create a means for forming a hierarchy of civilization based on deuterium access. I'm interested in the fusion process using deuterium, and I've noted that it remains (to this day) the greatest source of energy of any reactions. Because of this reason...
  4. neilparker62

    Insights Revisiting The Deuterium Lyman Alpha Line Experiment

    [url="https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/the-deuterium-lyman-alpha-line/"]Continue reading...
  5. K

    I Proton momentum distribution inside deuterium

    Hello! Can someone point me to some table or functional form of the distribution of proton momentum inside deuterium? I found it for some high A (even for A=3), but can't find it for deuterium. Thank you!
  6. JD_PM

    A Why are there only two possible spin-eigenstates for deuterium's nucleus?

    I am studying the deuterium's nucleus. As we know, there are just two eigenstates for a spin 1/2 particle: either spin up or spin down. Thus, over the whole nucleus, you get 4 possible combinations: 1) Spin up-spin up 2) Spin up-spin down 3) Spin down-spin up 4) Spin down-spin down If you...
  7. Basil Currie

    B What is the Most Efficient Fuel for Fusion Reactors: T-D, D-D, or D+He-3?

    Hi, Does a T-D or a D-D fusion release more energy? Even if D-D needs higher temperatures, would it produce more energy in a fusion reactor?
  8. neilparker62

    Measure ionization energy (Hydrogen/Deuterium)

    Just wondering if there's any accurate method for direct measurement of the ionization energy of atomic Hydrogen and/or Deuterium ? There's lots of measurements on transitions between various hydrogen/deuterium energy levels but not (it seems) to the limit where n = infinity. Alternatively...
  9. Buzz Bloom

    I Why is Deuterium fusion so much easier than Hydrogen fusion?

    This question occurred to me as a result of the discussion in the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/brown-dwarf-minimum-mass.919669. Apparently (1) H+H->D+e+ requires a temperature of >10,000,000 K while (2) H+D->3He requires only about 1,000,000 K. I confess that the references for...
  10. JulienB

    Hyperfine structure of deuterium

    Homework Statement Hi everybody! Here is the problem: Hyperfine splitting of Deuterium Balmer alpha line: Consider the ##3p_{3/2}## to ##2s_{1/2}## transition in deuterium. Find the number of transition lines and their frequency shifts with respect to the transition without hyperfine...
  11. M

    Deuterium in Well Water: Is It Different from Sea Water?

    I think I read that Deuterium was 1 in 6194k hydrogen molecules in SEA water. Is there a difference in the water I pump in my well water at home? Just curious because it seems well mixed.
  12. H

    How to simulate a D-D neutron generator with MCNP6?

    Hello everybody, I am performing some experiments with a neutron generator. Specifically D-D reactions. I am trying to replicate the measurements with MCNP6, but I do not know how can I simulate the neutron generator with MCNP6 since the neutrons have a angular distribution. For MCNPX there was...
  13. mktsgm

    Medical Does chilled water contains Deuterium?

    I have heard that chilled water contains hard water. ie in the H2O contains another isotope of Hydrogen with a neutron. Is it true? If so, how it might affect our health if we drink?
  14. P

    I State of the Universe if we increase/decrease the binding energy of deuterium

    [Sorry for the vague title, had a limit.] I have a question given in my Astronomy class: Below is a list of possible ways in which the universe could have been different. Some of these changes would make life as we know it impossible in our universe. Tick the boxes next to all the changes that...
  15. N

    What Are the Individual Densities of Deuterium (D2) and Tritium (T2) Gases?

    Hey, I've been searching around online, and I can't find anything on the individual densities of D2 an T3, only the mean density of all hydrogen isotopes. Thanks, NWFusor
  16. N

    Hydrogen, Deuterium, and Tritium Ionization Spectra

    Hello Everybody, I'm looking into spectral analysis, and I couldn't find anything online about the spectra of different isotopes in discharge tubes (i.e. neon signs and the like ). Do different hydrogen isotopes have different spectra? If so, where could I find the data on the spectra? Thanks...
  17. ScepticAmatuer

    H2O, HDO, D2O equilibrium concentrations

    I have seen something to this effect stated dozens of times on the internet : "..because the deuterons and the protons are exchanging so quickly, you will end up with a statistical distribution: 25% H2O, 25% D2O, and 50% HDO." They are referring to a sample of water which is 50 atom %...
  18. avito009

    Popular misconception -- When the deuterium nuclei fuses to form a helium nucleus

    I am no Einstein but I would like to expand my knowledge and share it. When two deuterium atoms fuse together they become a helium nuclei. Now deuterium nuclei contains 1 proton and 1 neutron. When the deuterium nuclei fuses to form a helium nuclei. Helium nuclei contains 2 protons, and 2...
  19. A

    Energy for photodisintegration of deuterium?

    Is there a logical method to calculate the energy of a photon that would be needed for photodisintegratio? Could one simply use the difference in binding energy between the initial atom and products, are there more factors that need to be considered, can it only be determined experimentally? If...
  20. neilparker62

    What is the Atomic Mass of Deuterium According to Parthey's Measurements?

    In the same article which describes the accurate measurement of the Hydrogen 1s-2s transition at: 2 466 061 413 187 035 (10) Hz, CG Parthey also measures the frequency difference between Hydrogen and Deuterium which he gives as: 670 994 334 606(15) Hz. Assuming that the transition...
  21. F

    Equation for neutron proton-fusion, and deuterium photodiss.

    Homework Statement Write the equations for neutron and proton fusion to form deuterium and for deuterium photodissociation. Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution There is plenty on proton-proton fusion to form deuterium, but not much on proton-neutron. Is it simply p + n -> D ? Is...
  22. neilparker62

    Questions on the Lyman Alpha Profile

    A few questions about the solar Lyman Alpha profile as presented here. 1) This is from a 1978 study - are there more recent (higher resolution) profiles ? 2) The scale at the bottom is confusing - how does it relate to a wavelength scale ? 3) Where in the profile is the actual Lyman alpha line...
  23. mooncrater

    What's with deuterium? an organic problem

    Homework Statement I did a question in which positive charge was unstable near to ##-CD_3## group but was stable near to ##CH_3## group. Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution Why is it like that? Is deuterium less active for hyperconjugation or it causes more steric hindrance? What's...
  24. T

    Comets' High Deuterium-to-Hydrogen Ratios Explained

    Comets have high Deuterium to Hydrogen ratios. They are enriched with extra neutrons. Comets periodically plunge close to the sun. And, the sun generates flares, which generate neutrons. Separately, I wonder if those neutrons come from fusion of solar corona gas, trapped on magnetic field...
  25. Y

    Question about formation of deuterium

    I wanted to ask about the formation of deuterium in a star. I read that two protons will join together and that one of the protons will transmute to a neutron due to quark transformation via the weak interaction that will generate a W boson which decays to a positron and a neutrino. It is not...
  26. T

    Deuterium Bulb Safety - What Happens if it Breaks?

    Hi Folks, We use a UV bulb in my workplace which contains deuterium gas. The bulb is safely contained within a housing unit inside a machine so there are no direct hazards with UV radiation etc. I was however wondering, what would happen should such a bulb break? I have checked some MSDS...
  27. S

    Reaction of tritium and deuterium

    Homework Statement ##_{1}^{2}\textrm{D}+_{1}^{3}\textrm{T}\rightarrow _{4}^{2}\textrm{He}+n## How much energy releases? Homework Equations Semi empirical mass formula that we use: ##W=-w_0A+w_1A^{2/3}+w_2\frac{Z(Z-1)}{A^{1/3}}+w_3\frac{(a-2Z)^2}{A}+w_4\frac{\delta...
  28. T

    Formation of Deuterium: Exploring the Building Blocks of the Universe

    Hi, quite new in chemistry.. I would like to know the beginning of the atoms in the universe. Therefore I must understand the process from Hydrogen to Helium. But to create Helium you need the isotope(#2) "Deuterium" from Hydrogen. But how did the Deuterium form? From two Protons...
  29. S

    Deuterium + Antideuterium Annihilation

    Does anyone have a reference for the details of energy and by-products produced in an annihilation reaction of a matter deuterium atom [np]e- with anti-matter antideuterium atom [p^{\overline{}}n^{\overline{}}]e+ (note: is there a better Latex code for putting bar to show antimatter ?) As I...
  30. S

    Deuterium vs Deuteron and Pauli Exclusion

    Deuterium atom is an isotope of hydrogen [NP]e- that is a fermion. Would it be correct the model the deuteron [NP] nucleus as a boson, given that it has even number of particles ? That is, would it be correct to say that two deuteron [NP], as bosons, could occupy the same particle state...
  31. A

    Archived Binding energy and deuterium nucleus

    Homework Statement a) Calculate the average binding energy per nucleon in the deuterium nucleus. b) The energy that binds an orbiting electron to the hydrogen nucleus is 13.4eV. Calculate the ratio of the binding energy per nucleon to the binding energy per electron in deuterium. Which...
  32. P

    Beta decay of deuterium and triterium

    Homework Statement Explain why deuterium cannot undergo beta decay or produce a stable nucleus, while tritium can. Homework Equations n/a The Attempt at a Solution There was nothing in the lesson that really explained this, and the only reason I can find online is because deuterium...
  33. A

    Question re: Deuterium Emission Spectrum

    Deuterium Spectrum (nm) 410.07, 433.93, 486.01, 656.11 I came upon these figures on a commercial product site for Deuterium lamps. So, question: Are they correct? If so, then... 364.5068222*(3^2/(3^2 - 4)) = 656.11 364.5068222*(4^2/(4^2 - 4)) = 486.01 364.5068222*(5^2/(5^2 - 4)) = 433.93...
  34. nukeman

    What does deuterium do to our bodies?

    This may seem like a pretty broad question, but ill try and narrow it down the best I can. Lets say, Me, or a insect, drink some Deuteriuim oxide (under the leathal dose). How does it(d20, deuterium oxide)) interact without bodies, and what does it do to our bodies compared to regular...
  35. nukeman

    Exploring the Variations of Deuterium in Water Molecules

    I know you can order deuterium oxide (d2o), but can anyone tell me how I can get different permutations of heavy water? Semi heavy water? And so on...? Thanks
  36. nukeman

    Can anyone explain to me how Deuterium slows down neutrons?

    Hey all, First off, am I correct in saying (generally) that Deuterium slows down neutrons? That's why nuclear reactors use it because its easier to catch neutrons that are going slower. ?? Does this apply to all neutrons? Example, let's say I drank a nice tall glass of delicious Heavy...
  37. nukeman

    Question about vibrational quality of a molecule (like Deuterium Oxide) ?

    I can't seem to find an answer to this. The question is: If I obtained Deuterium oxide from let's say a plant that manufactured it in some part of the world, and then obtained Deuterium from another plant manufactured from some other place in the world, is it possible for them to have...
  38. nukeman

    Question about Deuterium Oxide and feeding it to flies? (Some general questions)

    Questions about "Heavy Water" and vibration...Thank you! Hey everyone, I am hoping someone can help explain something to me. Some biology students wanted to conduct research, and I don't quite understand a few things (as I think they are not correct, but I am not a biology student)...
  39. S

    Density and deuterium lifetime

    The lifetime of a deuteron in the ground state of HD molecule has been calculated as 10^47 years. Obviously, at zero pressure and temperature it is slightly shorter, because hydrogen is solid at these conditions - but not much shorter, because in solid hydrogen at zero pressure the other...
  40. L

    Is Muon-Catalyzed fusion possible with room temperature, gaseous Deuterium?

    I've been reading about the more or less discarded study of LEFR (Low-Energy Fusion Reactions) and I've read that the only repeatable LEFR process has been Muon-Catalyzed Fusion -- whereas the muon replaces an electron in a deuterium atom and overcomes Coloumb's barrier by attracting itself...
  41. B

    Why does deuterium burn at lower temperature than H

    In general, nuclear fusion happens at a higher temperature for heavier elements. In my astrophysics class we derived an equation for probability of nuclear reactions, and without quoting it exactly, it boils down to have this probability proportional to exp(-mrZ1Z2), where mr is the reduced mass...
  42. I

    Electronic Transitions in Protium vs. Deuterium

    What causes the differences between the atomic spectra of deuterium and the atomic spectra of protium? Are there any important considerations other than the difference in the spin of the nucleus? Also how exactly do the selection rules play out differently?
  43. edpell

    When two deuterium nuclei are shot at each other they have some

    When two deuterium nuclei are shot at each other they have some probability of fusing into a He nuclei. At the start we have a proton and a neutron in a potential well 1 MeV deep and another proton and neutron in another well 1 MeV deep. At the end we have two protons and two neutrons all in a...
  44. D

    Calculating Average Binding Energy per Nucleon in Deuterium

    Homework Statement Calculate the average binding energy per nucleon in the deuterium nucleus. Homework Equations Average binding energy= total binding energy/mass number The Attempt at a Solution Would i first have to find the mass of the nucleus and then the difference in mass? My...
  45. R

    Atomic Mass of Tritium Deuterium - Caveman Logic

    someone told me that tritium deuterium has 47 times less mass than U-235 but, tritium's atomic mass is 3 and deuterium's is 2. myself being a caveman decided to add those together to get the atomic mass of tritium deuterium. any insight this would be appreciated
  46. A

    Fusion Reaction of Hydrogen and Deuterium into Helium

    Homework Statement In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of two atoms join to form a single atom of a different element. In such a reaction, a fraction of the rest energy of the original atoms is converted to kinetic energy of the reaction products. A fusion reaction that occurs in the Sun converts...
  47. A

    Calculating Binding Energy of Deuterium Nucleus

    Homework Statement {a} Calculate the average binding enrgy per nucleon in the deutrium nucleus {b} The energy that binds an orbiting electron to the hydrogen nucleus is 13.4 eV. Calculate the ratio of the binding energy per nucleon to the binding energy per electron in deutrium. Which...
  48. Simfish

    Could you gain A LOT of weight by drinking LOTS of deuterium water?

    You could gain a lot of weight and still have very little body fat! Of course, you'd need to do it for a very long period of time (for the D2O to replace all the H2O in your body). But would there be health risks? haha.
  49. S

    Quantum Tunneling and Deuterium Fusion

    How close do two room temperature deuterium nuclei need to be to each other to have a one-in-a-quintillion chance of "tunneling" into each other so that the nuclear forces bind them together despite the repulsive effect of the positively-charged protons?
  50. V

    Calc Electric & Gravitational Potential Energy of Deuterium Nuclear

    1. Is it possible to caculate the electric potential energy and the gravitational potential energy between two nucleon of deuterium (1 proton, 1 neutron), if we know the binding energy of deuterium is 2.23 (MeV), and the distance between them is 1 (fm)? Please help me! I'm really confused about...