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Requirements for Fusion Energy The basic requirements for a fusion reactor follow from the nuclear physics of the reactions. Figure 1 shows cross sections for the processes listed above versus the kinetic energy of an incident nucleus. The reaction rates peak at energies above 100 keV and are negligible below 5 keV. A comparison of cross sections with those for coulomb (elastic) scattering is also shown. Unlike the scattering rate, which diverges at low tem- 10–24 Coulomb scattering Cross section (m2) 10–26 10–28 τE = W/P D–T fusion 10–30 D–D fusion 10–32 1 10 peratures, the fusion rates peak at very high temperature and are always smaller by at least a factor of 10.

Strong electric and magnetic fields are not only of interest under laboratory conditions but also in quest of observed optical absorption structures of compact astronomical objects. For example, for magnetic white dwarf stars additional electric fields (13) of the order of 108 V/cm occur, which give rise to an observable shift of the spectral lines. Stark effects are not only due to external electric fields. Atomic beams with the beam direction not in coincidence with the magnetic field axis of an external magnetic field give rise to the so-called motional Stark effect.

All states are quasibound since they can tunnel through the potential barrier into the continuum and hence the eigenenergies are associated with a complex energy value the real part of which Er, gives the energy and the imaginary part the halfwidth, Ϫ⌫/2, of the decaying state. For time-independent quantum systems the time development of a state is given by ͉r, t͘ ϭ exp(ϪiEt/ប)͉r͘ with E ϭ Er Ϫ ⌫/2 and hence ⌫ is the transition rate given by Fermi’s golden rule (4). The complex energies can be directly obtained by the complex coordinate rotation (11).

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