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Power Science

'Quark Fusion' Produces Eight Times More Energy Than Nuclear Fusion (futurism.com) 173

walterbyrd shares a report from Futurism: This new source of energy, according to researchers Marek Karliner and Jonathan Rosner, comes from the fusion of subatomic particles known as quarks. These particles are usually produced as a result of colliding atoms that move at high speeds within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where these component parts split from their parent atoms. It doesn't stop there, however, as these disassociated quarks also tend to collide with one another and fuse into particles called baryons. It is this fusion of quarks that Karliner and Rosner focused on, as they found that this fusion is capable of producing energy even greater than what's produced in hydrogen fusion. In particular, they studied how fused quarks configure into what's called a doubly-charmed baryon. Fusing quarks require 130 MeV to become doubly-charmed baryons, which, in turn, releases energy that's 12 MeV more energy. Turning their calculations to heavier bottom quarks, which need 230 MeV to fuse, they found that a resulting baryon could produce approximately 138 MeV of net energy -- about eight times more than what hydrogen fusion releases. The new study has been published in the journal Nature.
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'Quark Fusion' Produces Eight Times More Energy Than Nuclear Fusion

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The ability to generate sufficient quarks for such a thing to be sustaining is decades to centuries off but it's nice to know how it works.

  • This should be enough power, right?

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      138 MeV is only about 2*10^-11 joules of energy.

      For comparison, a typical AA battery has about 13,000 joules of energy when bought off the shelf.

      • Correct the single reaction is only 138 MeV. The whole point is that a single gram of material provides 6.02*10^23 reactions. That's 1.186 * 10^13 joules. 6.3 * 10^13 is roughly the energy in the Hiroshima bomb. However, I can be wrong about that, that's some serious back of the napkin math on a process I haven't really read up on, but it is Avogadro's number for the molar mass of a gram of hydrogen. Point being, while a single reaction is very weak, a single gram of material provides a massive amount

  • Oh, Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:06PM (#55511101)
    This means that ubiquitous fusion energy is 50 years away again!
    • This means that ubiquitous fusion energy is 50 years away again!

      Even better yet, we'll have 8 times as much fusion energy in 50 years!

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm using fusion power right now. It powers my car!

        No need to build more, the one we have is sufficient.

      • by Mkkby ( 4973999 )
        50 years is far too optimistic. With no working theories for energy gain, containment or collection, it really is infinity years away.
    • Minor energy problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @02:11AM (#55511897) Journal
      Unfortunately, unlike nuclear fusion where the things you want to fuse can be found lying around because they are stable, exotic baryons containing c or b quarks have to be created. Since their mass is several thousand MeV - even more if you are using baryons with b-quarks - this will require vastly more energy than this fusion will release.

      In fact, just the decay of these baryons releases far more energy that this fusion process so it's not the short lifetime that prevents practical application it's making the constituents in the first place and, even if you find someway to do that, you are better off just waiting for them to decay.
  • Don't get too exited (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:07PM (#55511111) Journal
    This is NOT a usable source of energy. The quarks are so short-lived that a sustained reaction is impossible
    • That just means we need to incorporate time manipulation into the reaction.

    • How old was Quark? He didn't seem short-lived to me.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:48PM (#55511249)

      Of course Quark fusion is unacceptably unstable. While not quite as good, there is an alternative which is much more stable. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for...

      PageMaker Fusion!

      • Of course Quark fusion is unacceptably unstable.

        I am now imagining Quark and the Grand Nagus doing that little dance, side by side, pointing their fingers in the air, leaning towards each other and shouting "Fu... sion.. HAA!"

        I'm not apologising.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @02:15AM (#55511905) Journal

      This is NOT a usable source of energy.

      More importantly, the energy required to create the baryons in the first place is 1-2 orders of magnitude more than the fusion releases and you get more energy just waiting for them to decay.

      • by slack_justyb ( 862874 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @04:19AM (#55512147)

        Exactly this! The whole reason nuclear fusion works is because we're tapping into the energy in a neutron. A star's massive size creates a sizable amount of gravitational energy. A small amount of this gravitational energy is used to transition a proton into a neutron via the weak force. This creates deuterium. That eventually flies away from a star and carries off the energy or stays put and gains more energy by converting into helium. In nuclear fusion, we bring two deuterium atoms and form either tritium or Helium-3. The process of doing so releases some of that energy that was used to originally bind the proton and neutron. Fusion isn't creating energy from nothing, it came from somewhere to begin with. It's just that we've got so many isotopes of hydrogen, helium, and lithium on this planet, that using them as a fuel is cheap. We don't have some magic well for doubly charmed or bottom quarks.

    • Famous last words. Lets wait a century or two and see.
  • by tyme ( 6621 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:11PM (#55511127) Homepage Journal
    The fusion isn't a fusion of quarks, but of baryons: two Lambda baryons fuse to form a Chi baryon and a neutron, which is analogous to Deuterium/Tritium nuclear fusion. The bottom form of the Lambda to Chi baryon fusion results in about 11x as much energy released as the charmed form.

    Anyone who knows anything about subatomic physics would know that you can't have fusion of individual quarks because quarks never occur individually outside of a baryon, so the summary is simply incoherent nonsense.

    • by markus ( 2264 )

      Where are my mod points when I need them?

      Thank you for the concise and accurate summary. The only isolated quark is a dairy product [wikipedia.org].

    • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @10:23PM (#55511359) Journal

      So if I happen to have a couple of charm or bottom Lambda bosons, I can do something clever to collide them and I can get energy. Alternatively, I could just wait about 10^-12 seconds until they decay of their own accord, and I can get energy.

      It got past the Nature reviewers, so I suppose there must be some point, but I'm not seeing it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It got past the Nature reviewers, so I suppose there must be some point, but I'm not seeing it.

        I assume the researchers and the Nature reviewers - being, unlike Slashdot submitters and editors, in possession of at least two brain cells each - were not treating it as a miraculous power source. Rather, they were publishing a description of the way certain exotic particles interact with one another, confirming or refuting the way theory says they should, like thousands of other papers examining the intricacies of particle physics.

      • I could just wait about 10^-12 seconds until they decay of their own accord

        What do you plan to do during all that time?

        • It happens that 10^-12 seconds is the average length of time a person on Slashdot spends reading the article and considering a reply before they begin posting about it. It would be much shorter, but people like OP keep skewing up the average.
  • Okay, but (Score:2, Offtopic)

    What about Rom Fusion?

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:28PM (#55511159)
    Since 99% of an atom's mass is the binding energy of the quarks, I would say that would be a great source of energy. But since we don't have a pile of loose quarks sitting around, I don't see how that would be much use. We would have to expend energy to break them apart first.
  • Eight times more? This is in line with rules of acquisition.

  • I'll take a pound of quarks please. Put it on my tab, I'm good for it.
    • I'll take a pound of quarks please.

      Here you have a 1-pound stone full of high-quality quarks. It is $1 for the stone and $1 trillion for the quarks. LOL.

  • by bunyip ( 17018 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @09:57PM (#55511287)

    Hmmm...

    Maybe that movie was prophetic and they'll produce a Q-bomb, with more power than all the A-bombs and H-bombs of the world combined...

    A.

    • by neoRUR ( 674398 )

      They were hesitant about publishing this because of the threat of making a Q-Bomb out of it, but they said that the Baryon's didn't last long enough to create a chain reaction.
      But I'm sure someone will figure out how to make them last longer also.

      • They were hesitant about publishing this because of the threat of making a Q-Bomb out of it, but they said that the Baryon's didn't last long enough to create a chain reaction.
        But I'm sure someone will figure out how to make them last longer also.

        That's simple; Accelerate all the baryons you plan to fuse to a significant fraction of C large enough to produce sufficient time-dilation effects.

        Of course, to achieve that kind of velocity you'll need large scale quark-fusion levels of energy.

        Strat

        • That's simple; Accelerate all the baryons you plan to fuse to a significant fraction of C large enough to produce sufficient time-dilation effects.

          I'm curious about this possibility. To my understanding, velocities of non-C particles are always in context (ie, relative) to an observer. Thus you don't need to accelerate the baryons at all, they're already traveling close to the speed of light relative to some other speedy observer -- who may or may not exist.

          This "velocity gap" is sometimes useful in use-cases like detecting high-speed short-lived muons falling through the atmosphere, when they would ordinarily decay long before hitting the ground had

          • To my understanding, velocities of non-C particles are always in context (ie, relative) to an observer. Thus you don't need to accelerate the baryons at all, they're already traveling close to the speed of light relative to some other speedy observer -- who may or may not exist.

            That would necessarily be in relation to the particle's space-time fabric within which it and the 'observer(s)' exist. Everything and everyone outside of that space-time fabric 'bubble' around the particles created by relativistic ef

            • Wow...Slashdot completely lost my hypertext quotes.

              Or maybe they simply entered a different space-time 'bubble'.

              Probably chilling with my MIA unmatched socks.

              Strat

  • 8 x The energy but at what cost?
    I wonder what the current Gold Pressed Latinum exchange rate is?
  • Why not instead of wording it so utterly retardedly go with something like:

    releases bigness that's 12 MeV more bigger

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @12:44AM (#55511721)

    This is very interesting from a theoretical / experimental point of view. Its an analog of nuclear fusion but done with quarks. That is fun and interesting and well worth a nature paper. It is NOT however in any way a possible source of energy. The quarks in normal matter are already in their lowest energy state. The lambda_c particles they are fusing have a half life of a fraction of a picosecond - not something you might find lying around. Making lambdas would take far more energy than comes out of the "fusion".

    So its an interesting example of a large binding energy between charmed quarks, but since you have to create the input particles out of energy, its not a path to net energy production. The abstract of the paper says as much.

  • Everyone knows that soft fresh cheese has fewer calories than aged hard cheese. Even Mascarpone is more energetic.
  • Is this the Solarmanite described in Plan Nine from Outer space?
  • ... and I'll agree that Quark fusion is even better. I tend to fuse it with fresh fruits or berries, some linseed and one drop of honey.

    Ref.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_(dairy_product)/ [wikipedia.org]

    Irradiated foods, on the other side, tend to wear me out, so the headline seems about correct.
  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @07:21AM (#55512525)
    ... but right now I can't think of a good source of quarks.
  • Not that surprising. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rothron the Wise ( 171030 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @07:48AM (#55512589)

    It's using the strong nuclear force rather than the weak one, but as long as you don't have a free supply of free quarks (you don't) it's not really a power source. Don't expect to see quark fusion reactors at any time in the future, sure you can make them in the LHC, but only by using vastly more energy than you'll get fusing the quarks back together again.

    • It's using the strong nuclear force rather than the weak one, but as long as you don't have a free supply of free quarks (you don't) it's not really a power source.

      Batteries are not a "power source" and yet we find them quite useful. Perhaps this discovery could lead to a battery that you can keep in your pocket and power your jetpack, personal AI super computers, and such for a lifetime? Sure, it may take an entire star worth of energy to charge that battery, but it could be useful...

  • ...that soon we'll hear that Iran and DPRK have both independently begun development of 'quark bombs'.

  • Whoops! Used the P-word! Sorry! Sorry!

    Still. Is this process any more manageable, efficient or economical than nuclear fusion?

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