EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the p-B reaction that could be harnessed to provide fusion power. In this reaction, a proton (red) collides and fuses with a boron-11 nucleus, which splits to form three helium-4 nuclei. There have been several attempts to harness nuclear fusion to produce energy, but there are several technical obstacles. The production of neutrons is one of the most serious. Neutrons are electrically neutral they can escape the confinement field, carrying off energy and rendering the reaction chamber radioactive, which is why this aneutronic reaction is being investigated. However, this reaction requires extremely high temperatures and more complicated containment when compared to deuterium- and tritium-based reactions (see clips K003/3974-3976). For this reason, reactions that do not produce neutrons are also being investigated, such as the H-B reaction in clip K003/3973.
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