Aneutronic H+B11 nuclear fusion driven by Coulomb explosion of hydrogen nanodroplets

Isidore Last*, Shlomo Ron, Joshua Jortner

*Corresponding author for this work

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We consider a reaction design for table-top nuclear fusion between two distinct nuclei, with high-energy nuclei being produced by a Coulomb explosion (CE) of homonuclear nanodroplets of one reagent reacting with a solid target of a second reagent. This scheme was applied for a theoretical-computational study of the table-top aneutronic p+11B→3α+8.7MeV reaction generated by a source of high-energy (0.3-6MeV) protons produced by a CE of hydrogen nanodroplets driven by ultra-intense, femtosecond, near-infrared laser pulses and which penetrate into a solid B11 target. The averaged reaction probability and the yield for 11B(p,α)2α fusion were calculated from the energy-dependent reaction probability, which was obtained from the ratio of the large fusion cross sections and the stopping power of the protons, and by the proton kinetic energy distribution function, which was obtained from scaled electron and ion dynamics simulations. The fusion yields were determined in the nanodroplet size range and in the laser intensity domain, satisfying the conditions of weak laser intensity attenuation within a single nanodroplet and within an assembly of exploding nanodroplets in the macroscopic plasma filament. The highest values of the fusion yield of 108 per laser pulse were attained for the largest nanodroplets with initial radii of 200 nm at the laser peak intensity of 1019 W cm-2. The 11B(p,α)2α fusion yields for the exploding hydrogen nanodroplet source-solid B11 cylindrical target are higher by three to four orders of magnitude than the yields of 104-105 per laser pulse from a laser-irradiated mixed boron-hydrocarbon solid and from a CE of boron-hydrogen heteronuclear nanodroplets. The high efficiency for fusion within the exploding nanodroplets source-cylindrical solid target design provides guidelines for the optimization of yields for table-top nuclear fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043202
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2011


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