Fusion in a flash?

The embargo on this research by Taleyarkhan et al., and the associated Perspective by Becchetti, has been lifted by the AAAS News & Information Office.

Please Note: Important updated information on super-hot collapsing bubbles is now available. Click here, or contact Lisa Onaga at 202-326-6440, lonaga@aaas.org or scipak@aaas.org.

Whenever additional information on forthcoming papers is made available to the AAAS News & Information Office, an update is posted to EurekAlert!, within the Science Press Package site. Journalists are encouraged to check the site again for any updates before finalizing stories.

The dramatic flashing implosion of tiny bubbles--in acetone containing deuterium atoms--produces tritium and nuclear emissions similar to emissions characteristic of nuclear fusion involving deuterium-deuterium reactions. This finding was reported in the 8 March issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Shock wave simulations also indicate that temperatures inside the collapsing bubbles may reach up to 10 million degrees Kelvin, as hot as the center of the sun. Although the high temperatures and pressures within the bubbles would be sufficient to generate fusion, the overall results of the study only suggest, but do not confirm, nuclear fusion in the bubbles collapse.

Nuclear fusion joins together light atoms, such as hydrogen, in a reaction that creates a third heavier atom and converts some of the original atoms mass into energy. Nuclear fission, the type of reaction currently used in commercial power plants, splits heavy atoms like uranium and releases some of the excess energy stored as mass in the uranium atoms. Scientists have been eager to harness fusion as an energy source, because

Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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