Nuclear fusion driven by Coulomb explosion of methane clusters

Isidore Last, Joshua Jortner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multielectron ionization and Coulomb explosion of methane clusters (CA4)n, A = H, D, and T, in very intense (I = 1018-1019 W cm-2) laser fields were studied using classical dynamics simulations. The products of Coulomb explosion involve light A+ ions (p, d, and t nuclei) with energies up to 20 keV, C4+ ions at I = 1018 W cm-2, and C6+ ions (carbon nuclei) with energies up to 110 kev at I = 1019 W cm-2. Important advantages of nuclear fusion driven by Coulomb explosion of methane (C4+A4+)n and (C6+A4+)n heteronuclear clusters pertain to energetic effects, with the heavy multielectron ions driving the light H+, D+, or T+ ions (d or t nuclei) to considerably higher energies than for homonuclear deuterium clusters of the same size, and to kinematic effects, which result in a sharp high-energy maximum in the light-ion spectrum for the (C4+A4+)n and(C6 A4+)n clusters. We studied the energetics of Coulomb explosion in conjunction with isotope effects on the product A+ and Ck+ ions energies and established the cluster size dependence of dd and dt fusion reaction yields from an assembly of Coulomb-exploding clusters. The C6+ nuclei produced by Coulomb explosion of (C6+D4+)n (n = 5425) clusters are characterized by an average energy of Eav = 65.2 kev and a maximum energy of EM = 112 keV. A search was undertaken for the 12C6+ + 1H+ fusion reaction of astrophysical interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10877-10885
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number45
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Nuclear fusion driven by Coulomb explosion of methane clusters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this