Muon catalyzed nuclear fusion might be our most promising way to efficiently produce clean and abundant energy through controlled nuclear fusion and does not require powerful lasers or high temperature plasmas.
A muon has the same negative electric charge and the same intrinsic angular momentum (spin-1/2) as an electron. The average rest mass of muons is about 206.76828 times greater than the average rest mass of electrons. The average lifetime of muons is about 2.1969811 ± 0.0000022 × 10−6 seconds.
In a diatomic molecule of hydrogen in which the two positively charged atomic nuclei are bound by two negatively charged electrons, the bond distance between the two nuclei is about 75 × 10−12 meters. In a singly ionized diatomic molecule of hydrogen bound by one electron, the bond distance between the two nuclei is about 106 × 10−12 meters.
In a singly ionized diatomic molecule of hydrogen bound by one muon, the bond distance between the two nuclei is about 200 times shorter than in a singly ionized diatomic molecule of hydrogen bound by one electron. The much shorter bond distance may result in fusion of the nuclei and conversion of mass to energy. The following nuclear fusion reactions may occur:
t + t → α + n + n + 11.332 MeV,
t + d → α + n + 17.589 MeV,
d + d → t + p + 4.033 MeV,
d + d → h + n + 3.269 MeV,
t + p → α + 19.814 MeV,
d + p → h + 5.493 MeV,
where p, n, d, h, t, and α stand for proton (protium nucleus), neutron, deuteron (deuterium nucleus), helion (helium-3 nucleus), triton (tritium nucleus), and alpha particle (helium-4 nucleus).
L. W. Alvarez, H. Bradner, F. S. Crawford, Jr., J. A. Crawford, P. Falk-Vairant, M. L. Good, J. D. Gow, A. H. Rosenfeld, F. Solmitz, M. L. Stevenson, H. K. Ticho, R. D. Tripp, The Catalysis of Nuclear Reactions by μ Mesons
, Radiation Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, 10 December 1956.
An article with the same title and authors appears in Physical Review 105, 1127-1128 (1957).
"Cold Nuclear Fusion
", Johann Rafelski and Steven E. Jones, Scientific American 257
, 84-89 (July 1987).
This article mentions that "In parallel with the experimental effort, a major theoretical program has been launched under the leadership of Hendrik J. Monkhorst and Krzysztof Szalewicz of the University of Florida and Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr., of Duke University. The workers hope to gain further understanding of the intricate resonance phenomena."
Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr., invited Mark Loewe to collaborate on theoretical research on muon catalyzed nuclear fusion.
"High Precision Study of Muon Catalyzed Fusion in D2 and HD Gas
D. V. Balin, V. A. Ganzha, S. M. Kozlov, E. M. Maev, G. E. Petrov, M. A. Soroka,
G. N. Schapkin, G. G. Semenchuk, V. A. Trofimov, A. A. Vasiliev, A. A. Vorobyov, N. I. Voropaev, C. Petitjean, B. Gartner, B. Lauss, J. Marton, J. Zmeskal, T. Case, K. M. Crowe, and P. Kammel, F. J. Hartmann, M. P. Faifman, Physics of Particles and Nuclei 42
, 185-214 (2011).
An article with the same title and authors is available here
; however, I consider all aspects of this article which differ from the published article unauthorized unless an author confirms authorship.
"Delivering the world's most intense muon beam
", S. Cook, R. D'Arcy, A. Edmonds, M. Fukuda, K. Hatanaka, Y. Hino, Y. Kuno, M. Lancaster, Y. Mori, T. Ogitsu, H. Sakamoto, A. Sato, N. H. Tran, N. M. Truong, M. Wing, A. Yamamoto, and M. Yoshida, Physical Review Accelerators and Beams 20
, 030101, 1-10 (2017).
(This article does not mention muon catalyzed nuclear fusion.)