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Do supersolids or BECs have higher fusion cross sections?

  1. Aug 2, 2015 #1
    The Lawson criterion suggests that a chain fusion reaction will only occur in a confined plasma. Since it's a product of temperature and pressure (or density) a chain reaction would be virtually impossible in a cold target at pressures attainable in a lab.

    Likewise, the Coulomb barrier makes it very unlikely that simply shooting a high-energy nucleon at a nuclear target will actually fuse instead of scattering. I.e., the reaction "cross section" is very small.

    But exotic states of matter do not have "typical" density behaviors. Is the fusion cross section of a supersolid or Bose-Einstein condensate much higher than that of plasma or conventional matter? Could a small target in those states conceivably sustain a fusion chain reaction through the entire target if a single nuclear fusion were triggered?

    (The obvious motivation for the question: If the cross section can be sufficiently amplified then net-positive beam-target fusion might possible.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2015 #2


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    The Coulomb barrier is still there. For low-energetic reactions a BEC can behave differently due to coherent effects, but once you look at high-energetic interactions they are incoherent anyway.
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