Alpha-radiation impacting deuterons to cause DD fusion

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Real name: Grigory Heaton
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Alpha-radiation impacting deuterons to cause DD fusion

Post by Grigory_Heaton » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:32 pm

I've been thinking about a way to possibly produce a very small amount of deuterium fusion reactions using high energy alpha particles. As an example, Americium-241 emits 5.5 MeV He-4 nuclei. You can get 37,000 decays per second of this from a $5 smoke detector, as I have done. If fired into a heavy water solution, some of the alpha particles should be able to transfer some of their energy to deuterons. If using the Gamow factor formula for this application is correct, energies at around 100 keV produce a pretty decent fusion probability (~4%) if that deuteron were to then directly collide with another deuteron, and alpha-deuteron impacts should produce a range of energies. So far the big issue I can see with this is that it may be incredibly unlikely for the alphas to directly hit deuterons, and then for these high energy deuterons to then directly hit another nucleus.

Another issue is detection. Even if you get fusion, the only radiation besides minimal bremsstrahlung that the alphas produce anyway should be Tritium decays (undetectable) and a tiny, insignifcant quantity of neutrons and protons (the latter of which I doubt would even escape the water). I'm not sure it would be possible to detect the minute amount of fusion reactions that would occur here, since the He-4/gamma product from DD fusion is so unlikely and that gamma would be the easiest thing for me to pick up on my geiger counter.

Thoughts? Is this setup sound, even if the products are undetectable due to tiny quantities? I'm not sure it's possible to calculate the probabilities of something like this occurring without some serious simulations due to it requiring multiple steps.

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Richard Hull
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Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Alpha-radiation impacting deuterons to cause DD fusion

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:53 pm

Not effectively possible due to cross sectional probabilities and the near zero penetration and degradation of alpha energies in the liquid. In some ideal theoretical situations, yes, but limited to near zero! However, in any real measurable, practical sense, absolutely no fusion!

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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