Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

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Doug Browning
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Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Doug Browning » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:21 pm

I would like to suggest a possible method for overcoming the repulsive barrier between fusion ion species.

First, just what is a nuclear isomer needs to be addressed. The various models of the internal nuclear structure include models using shell like structure, much like the electron orbitals of more commonly understood atomic physics, although there are further complications here. A nuclear isomer is any nucleus within a class having the same constituent nucleons (with some minor exceptions at the ground level), and with various levels of excitation of the constituents above ground level (typically quark like currents). These can be considered equivalent to the optical transitions in atomic electron orbitals, but are more like 10's of Kev to Mev for nuclear isomers.

Like atomic species, the nuclear isomers can exist in various excitation forms, but the usual stable nuclei we think of are generally at the ground state levels with a few exceptions, since excited states are generally not remotely stable (actually by definition here). But some excited nuclear states do have longer decay times or half lives, and there is some arbitrary distinction for those longer than microseconds(?) to be called meta stable states of isomers. There are even rare examples of isomers with half lives longer than the estimated time since the "Big Bang" which are naturally occuring.

The internal nuclear orbitals have quantum numbering rules and often produce various altered spin states. The overall isomer states are generally enumerated simply by increasing energy level and overall spin state instead. Typically the ground state will have the lowest if not zero spin status. Presumeably a Pauli Exclusion principle applies to the internal orbital quantum states similar to the external electron case.

Now lets get to the fusion angle here. A new set of quantum orbitals must be established for all of the combined constituent nucleons (the quarks really). With the increase in constituents, higher orbital states must be occupied by some of the quarks (like at least 1/2 of them anyway) and spin states may require alteration too.

Now to the proposal. Knowing the final internal construction of the fused nucleus, would there be some advantage in raising the isomer status of the initial reactants so that their internal energy and spin states better coincide with that of the final fused nucleus? Something of an "expansion" of the initial states (an analogy in the atomic electron regime: like raised atomic orbitals, Rydberg atoms as an extreme example.) The excited nuclear orbitals are likely to be "enlarged" somewhat in a semi classical sense so that "room" is provided in each nucleus for the merger or overlap of states when combined by the fusion. It could simply be thought of as making the two pieces "fit together", lowering the barriers. (non conflicting complementary Pauli states) Like shuffling two decks of cards to get them fitted together.

Now it may not be possible to directly map from the final fusion product back to the elevated complementary states available in the reactants, so some judicious choice may be required, to get easy down transitions or decays of the available states that will result in the final product. Worst case would be in keeping to the smallest up transitions needed.

The big hope here (and it is just that at this point, no solid theory underpinning this) is that this preparation might reduce the barrier to fusion, maybe a lot. This could be particularly advantageous for heavier ion fusion ( these special cases being attractive due to a lack of neutrons emitted or purely charged particle emissions) It is also quite possible (even most likely) that the two fusion reactants will need separate preparation, since they need to occupy complementary isomer sub states of the final product, and not identical interfering states. So two preparation sequences will likely be called for with two slightly different final reactants.

A processing sequence along a particle beam may be required, using ultra thin stationary targets of varius nuclei as the Coulomb transition exciters. (possibly of specific crystaline symmetry for exciting specific multipole transitions)

The energy put into the preparation is not lost however (likely to be similar to the direct barrier energy threshold), since the fusion energy output yielded will be increased in this scenario. (ie., conservation of energy applies here, what went in comes back out)

It could boil down to just two opposed beam pipes with selected ultra thin membrane excitation filters along the pathes.

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Carl Willis
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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Carl Willis » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:42 pm

Don,

Let me see if I can distill the essence of a 2000-word discourse into about twenty. You have a hypothesis--that the different reactivity of a nuclide's excited states versus the ground state might be exploited to facilitate fusion. Does that sum it up?

To advance this raw idea (the general premisses of which look de rigueur on their face but favorable specifics being the big 'what-if') can you pick out a better example to ponder than D-T? If you avail yourself of an online chart of the nuclides, like the one at www.nndc.bnl.gov, and look at the level schemes for either of these, you'll immediately see why the following is baloney:

>for a typical deuterium + tritium reaction, one would likely be looking at something on the order of 120 Kev total isomer pump up (60 Kev each, or something adding up to about that level), but hopefully done in sequential smaller steps for each nucleon."

You opened with a defense against crackpottery. The BEST defenses against dismissal as a crackpot get suggested routinely here: link or cite reliable sources for your background information, favor a succinct and focused style (e.g. trim the expository fat, leave out the diversions about batteries and K-40, try to get this word-salad to somewhere south of 500 words), and critically evaluate your own suggestions in advance rather than just tossing up a bunch of stuff to "see what sticks." If you have the chops to talk about how common photon dipole excitations are, then you can surely go through a chart of the nuclides and write about a specific example that at least has a chance of employing the proposed idea.

-Carl
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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Doug Browning » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:24 pm

I can't seem to find anything readable or useful from END/F for deuterium or helium 4.
Photonuclear reactions brings up zilch. Lots of isotope stuff, but zilch isomer data.

The 120 Kev figure came from an article I read somewhere that said there was a resonance there for deuterium plus tritium which accounted for that reaction having the best cross section of all fusion reactions. But I have no idea where I saw it now.

Deuterium plus deuterium fusion would be the easiest case to consider I guess with just a single reactant type. One would think that just one of the nuclei in that case would require the promotion to the next higher isomer to avoid Pauli exclusion interference between the two during fusion. Or possibly the 2nd isomer level if there are two internal nucleon states that have to be shifted.

I'm an electronics engineer, physics is a hobby for me. Trying to decipher the obtuse physics data on some national lab sites, which aren't even readable with normal PC formats, and don't even seem to give the relevant units when they are readable, is not going to progress quickly.

And yes, the basic hypothesis is to use an excited state (of at least one of the nuclei) to lower the fusion barrier. My basic concept is that this will prevent Pauli exclusion conflict between the two source components when combined into one nucleus, but this may be a flawed idea. If so, then I will drop the matter. That simple.

My lengthy write up was simply to help overcome the communication divide between an electronics background and a physics background. I have found from other technical forums that inexperienced visitors often cannot speak or understand the technical jargon, and although there ideas may seem rather half baked, often there is some element of genius to their proposed scheme which would never occur to the experienced practitioner, it is simply so far removed from the usual professional practice. Seeing as how fusion is always 50 years away, and the price of gasoline is going up steadily, some fresh ideas may be needed.

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Carl Willis
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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Carl Willis » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:49 pm

Don, I think the information you should look at is displayed in the chart of the nuclides:

http://www.nndc.bnl.gov/chart/

Click on the nuclides of interest. Look at the list of states for D, T, etc. Or the level diagrams. My point from earlier is that there are NO excited states! If you hit these nuclei with enough energy, they simply come unglued; the energy needed to do that is found by setting the Sn or Sp button on the display (e.g. deuterium is unbound with the addition of 2.2 MeV). You can look at a range of light, fusible nuclei the same way. For the idea you're talking about to even be possible, at least one reactant nucleus has to have bound excited states. Other criteria might include having states that are close enough to the ground state to be easily excited, or having states that live long enough for nuclei to interact after formation, or that have a certain spin and parity. All this info can be surfed through in a straightforward way.

I haven't done that thoroughly, so I can't dismiss the idea or endorse it. But it's abundantly clear from ten seconds on the chart page that it's not applicable to DD (or DT, or other hydrogen or helium reactions). Does it have a chance with other speculative fusion fuels, Li-6 or B-11? The first excited states are above 2 MeV on either of those and that seems a bit of a stretch practically... Maybe some heavier isotopes are worth considering. Anyway, you get the point.

I believe that a lot of the folks who bring crazy, iconoclastic ideas aren't stupid. There may well indeed be a kernel of brilliance to a few of those ideas. But nobody is going to do these people's homework for them. Nobody is going to spend his own 99% perspiration on someone ELSE's 1% inspiration, at least not in the hobby world. Jargon? If it's important to communicate concepts, a self-directed learner can pick it up, and if it's not important, it isn't necessary to communicate. I really don't think you have a problem learning jargon, with all this talk of Pauli states and multipolarity. I <i>do</i> think you didn't sufficiently flesh out this thought in advance, with reference to simple data at your virtual fingertips. (But in that respect, you're in the company of nearly everyone else who has posted a pure-idea contribution here, par for the course.)

-Carl
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Doug Browning
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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Doug Browning » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:08 am

OMG!

No wonder I couldn't find any info. Thank you so much for checking, I apologise for the wild goose chase. At least I learned something today. But I don't give up easily.

Could the quantum internal states possibly be shifted by some means? Say by attaching a flux quantum, h/e, or something to the nucleus (somehow, unspecified at this point, I have no idea how to do it yet, but I want those quantum indexes shifted somehow, so the two Fermionic states don't interfere. )

Suppose the nuclei are orbiting a flux quantum someway. I seem to recall that technique as a means to shift the spin indices. Maybe it all needs to operate in a superconducting background. Just throwing some ideas out at this point. Then maybe a magnetic or thermal phase transition of the superconductor to slam the nuclei together by induction. A fusion while spinning around a flux quantum axis essentially. A two nucleus pinch state maybe, if the nuclear repulsion were to really evaporate under those conditions.

In fact, I think orbit around a flux quantum is supposed to be able to convert Fermions to Bosons. Would at least sound like a promising start for overlapping two Fermionic fields. I just don't see how it would continue to operate though once the nuclei got closer than the superconducting metal lattice spacing. Perhaps two monoatomic tipped points like an atomic force microscope with a tunneling current between them to generate the field. h/(e x e) impedance of a tunneling current has a certain connection with a Planck like cross section, should be small enough to fit into a nucleus as it fuses. But the magnetic flux has a different closed orientation there than the simple linear flux quantum thing.

Could be a prettly low power output too with one fusion at a time, but maybe it shows up conveniently in the the atomic force microscope current. I think fusion might be solved accidentally by someone working on something else and an unexplainable phenomenon will occur. Could this be what the CF (unmentionable, I know) people have been seeing as the metal electrodes crumble away with current thru them? OK, I won't say any more on that subject, I promise.

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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Chris Bradley » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:04 am

Don Bowen wrote:
>I have found from other technical forums that inexperienced visitors often cannot speak or understand the technical jargon
>>>>
> Could the quantum internal states possibly be shifted ... by attaching a flux quantum ...
> Suppose the nuclei are orbiting a flux quantum someway. I seem to recall that technique as a means to shift the spin indices. ...
> A two nucleus pinch state maybe, if the nuclear repulsion were to really evaporate ...orbit around a flux quantum is supposed to be able to convert Fermions to Bosons.
> Would at least sound like a promising start for overlapping two Fermionic fields. ..... h/(e x e) impedance of a tunneling current has a certain connection with a Planck like cross section.....But the magnetic flux has a different closed orientation there than the simple linear flux quantum thing.

:?

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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Doug Browning » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:29 pm

I was reaching out for a different tool set here, in desperation, to modify the internal nuclear quantum indices.

The magnetic flux quantum thing comes from superconductivity theory and also high energy theoretical physics. Superconductors will not tolerate any old magnetic flux passage thru the material, so any incident magnetic flux either gets expelled altogether or squeezed down to tiny quantized tubes of flux (multiples of h/e total flux, actually h/2e for paired electron superconductors) thru the metal lattice spacing, which allow the paired superconducting electrons to still maintain phase coherence if they oribit or pass around one or more of them. (the theoretical, but still missing, magnetic monopole has h/e flux too)

The quantum Hall effect uses this phenomenon too, with a crygenic, ultra tiny superconducting metal ring, only certain multiples of flux are allowed thru the ring. Any where you have stationary phase of particles in orbits this quantized flux thing will be important, including electron orbits around atoms, and presumeably also quark orbits in nuclei. Superfluids like He3 or ... have similar rules.

Interestingly, orbits around quantized flux can also be used to alter Spin statistics: Fermion and Boson rules. Fermions (electrons, protons, quarks) refuse to overlap their wave functions, and Bosons (photons are an example) don't mind, maybe even prefer it. With Bosons you can get Lasers, with Fermions you get things that refuse to fuse. Spin is intimately connected with angular momentum, and comes up in electron orbits, internal particle properties, and nuclear internal indices too (quark orbit currents as well as the quark internal spin and probably gluons too).

So a flux quantum tool set would be of some interest in modifying Fermions to behave better. Usually this modification is thought of in the context of some composite molecule or particle set, with the external properties of the set being modified as such. (and is generally associated with cryogenic conditions seeing as this is dealing with particle wave phases) But if you had some source for a flux tube small enough to penetrate a nucleus, the internal indices could be modified, and the behavior altered. Unfortunately, superconductiong flux tubes are only on the order of the metal lattice spacing.

The atomic force or tunneling microscope (AFM, ATM ?) uses single atomic points to perform very localized electron tunneling. The tunneling process causes particles to be probabilistically elongated (wavelength extended) along a path between the two end points. And Heisenberg's uncertainty rules require the locality of the electron to be shrunk to a tiny filament when it is stretched in the other direction. This gives the AFM better resolution than just the atomic diameter of its point I think.

It would probably require magnetic monopole tunneling to produce a flux tube of the tiny size required here. So maybe in the usual 50 years from now?

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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Edward Miller » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:22 am

The title of your post is wrong.

There are proposed designs to use nuclear isomers to start fusion in Fourth Generation Nuclear Weapons (FGNW). http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0510071.pdf

Doug Browning
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Re: Nuclear Isomer Assisted Fusion?

Post by Doug Browning » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:18 am

An interesting paper. But I think if you look at my postings more carefully, there was no orientation toward an explosive device. Quite the contrary, the orientation was toward reducing the fusion threshold to a series of smaller energy level steps that would be more practical to perform. I am not aware of any isomers found yet than can be triggered by less energy than they emit (ie., chain reacting), but then these probably would not be publicly published if they were found. And then too, the weapons researchers are looking at heavy ion isomers besides, while I was considering the light ions of typical fusion fuels. The lack of isomers in the light ions makes the whole issue mute anyway.

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