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Ab initio predictions for polarized deuterium-tritium thermonuclear fusion

In an ab initio study based on the fundamental interaction between neutrons and protons, a team involving IPNO was able to test the validity of a 50-year-old working hypothesis that opens the way to enhanced yield for thermonuclear reactors of the future. At the ITER facility in France, a consortium of nations is trying to generate energy from the fusion of deuterium (D) and tritium (T). It turns out that fundamental properties of quantum mechanics may be exploited to boost the yield of the reaction (D+T->n+4He) by as much as 50% if the spin of the reactants are aligned.

This work, published in Nature Communications, validates this hypothesis from first principles, and contributes to essential nuclear data for fusion based on fundamental science. The fruit of the latter will lead to a better understanding of DT fusion in a plasma, and more generally to low energy nuclear reactions involved in nucleosynthesis. Both IPNO and CSNSM laboratories are heavily involved in this topic.

G. Hupin (IPNO), S. Quaglioni (LLNL) et P. Navrátil (TRIUMF)

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