About this Research Topic
The hydrogen-boron fusion (HB11) reaction creating 3 alphas was attractive from the beginning of research into terrestrial fusion energy applications because no neutrons are produced in this case. However, the rate <σv> (where σ is the cross-section and v is the relative velocity between H and B11) of HB11 at temperatures of 20 keV is five orders of magnitude less than that of deuterium-tritium fusion (DT). The <σv> of HB11 at about 600 keV reaches a comparable rate to that of DT at 20 keV. The 600 keV temperature is an extremely high temperature for a laboratory reactor. This is perhaps the main reason why the pB11 clean fusion was neglected while most research and development has focused on DT.
It is interesting to summarize the experimental development of the number of alphas, Na, created in HB11 nuclear fusion in laser-solid target interactions:
- 1st experiment (Moscow, 2005)1: Na ~103;
- 2nd experiment (Prague, 2013)2: Na ~108;
- 3rd experiment (France, 2014)3: Na ~109;
- 4th experiment (ELI Conference Report, 2018): L. Giuffrida et al., Na ~1011.
As is evident from these experiments, the changes in the laser system and the target are crucial for our understanding the theoretical explanations of HB11 fusion.
Recently, it has been suggested4 that for the HB11 case we do not need to reach a local thermal equilibrium (LTE) in order for this fusion to become viable. Thanks to recent advances in the lasers, we can effectively accelerate protons in a plasma inducing the HB11 interactions at its maximum cross-section about 600 keV (center of mass of H-B11 energy). The number of created alphas in this reaction increases significantly without reaching extremely high temperatures.
The acceleration of particles to achieve the 600 keV center of mass energy is a crucial issue. It was recently suggested5 that a large number of particles can achieve the desired energy (600 keV) by the acceleration of a plasma block with a laser beam with the power and time duration of the order of 10 petawatt and one picosecond respectively.
It was also suggested6 that the avalanche may play an important role in increasing the number of nuclear fusion reactions on the road to achieving a clean and safe solution of the energy problem. However, the role of avalanche in this case is controversial7,8 and therefore more research is needed on the road to fusion of HB11.
Subjects of interest for this Research Topic on HB11 nuclear fusion include:
- Non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) plasma physics
- Laser induced acceleration of particles
- Nuclear collisions avalanche
- Shock waves
- Collective phenomena
- Target design and fabrications
- Direct conversion to electricity from the alpha particles created in HB11 fusion
- Economic considerations
1. V. S. Belyaev et al., Phys. Rev. E, vol. 72, 026406 (2005)
2. C. Labaune et al, Nature Commun., vol. 4, 2506 (2013)
3. A. Picciotto et al., Phys. Rev. X, 031030 9 (2014)
4. H. Hora, S. Eliezer, G. J. Kirchoff, N. Nissim, J. X. Wang, P. Lalousis, Y. Xu, G. H. Miley, J. M. Martinez Val, W. McKenzie and J. Kirchoff, "Road map of clean energy using laser beam ignition of boron-hydrogen fusion", Laser and Particle Beams 35, 730-740 (2017). 36000 abstract views until Feb 2018 (Cambridge University Press Metrics)
5. P. Lalousis, H. Hora and S. Moustaizis, Laser and Particle Beams 32, 409 (2014)
6. S. Eliezer, H. Hora, G. Korn, N. Nissim, and J. M. Martinez Val, "Avalanche proton-boron fusion based on elastic nuclear collisions", Physics of Plasmas 23, 050704 (2016)
7. Mikhail L. Shmatov, “Comment on “Avalanche proton-boron fusion based on elastic nuclear collisions””, Phys. Plasmas 23, 050704 (2016)
8. F. Belloni, D. Margarone, A. Picciotto, F. Schillaci, L.Giuffrida, “On the enhancement of p-11B fusion reaction rate in laser-driven plasma by α → p collisional energy transfer”, Physics of Plasmas 25, 020701 (2018)
Keywords: Nuclear fusion, Clean energy, Shock wave, Avalanche, Non LTE (Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium)
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.