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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Scientists have found new evidence of a new, theoretical power source that is eight times more powerful than nuclear fusion, and if the theory is proved it will prove to be a revolutionary power source.

 

This week a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and the University of Chicago found exciting evidence suggesting that fusing Quarks together can release much more energy than anyone first thought, and if their findings are borne out then they might have just found, albeit a still theoretical one, a revolutionary new energy source that would produce eight times more power than nuclear fusion.

 

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In their paper which was published in the journal Nature, the two lead researchers Marek Karliner and Jonathan Rosner describe their theory about the amount of energy produced when various types of quarks are fused together.

To learn more about subatomic particles, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) regularly accelerate atoms to extreme speeds and smash them together, causing them and their constituent parts to blow apart from one another, and it’s this activity that lets scientists study the fundamentals of things like the afore mentioned quarks. In addition to this though, previous experiments at the LHC have also shown that when atoms in the collider smash into each other, sometimes the pieces that come apart collide with other parts, fusing them into particles called “Baryons,” and other experiments have shown that energy is involved when quarks fuse together.

 

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By studying the properties of one such fusing, something called a “Doubly-charmed baryon,” the researchers found that it took 130 MeV to force the quarks into this particular configuration, but they also found that fusing the quarks together wound up releasing 12 MeV more than that.

Intrigued by their findings, they quickly focused on “Bottom quarks,” yes, I know ha ha, which are much heavier, and their calculations showed that it took 230 MeV to fuse them together but that doing so released approximately 138 MeV of energy, which is eight times more than the amount released during hydrogen fusion.

 

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Since hydrogen fusion lies at the heart of hydrogen bombs, at first the researchers were quite naturally alarmed at their findings, so much so that they considered not publishing their results. But subsequent calculations showed that it would be impossible to cause a chain reaction with quarks because they exist for too short a period of time, approximately one picosecond which isn’t long enough to set off another baryon chain reaction. They also decay into much smaller, less dangerous lighter quarks.

The researchers were keen to point out that their work is still purely theoretical, and that they haven’t tried to fuse bottom quarks, though they note it should be technically feasible at the LHC.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Among other things Matthew keeps busy helping the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers ideate the next five generations of smartphones, and what comes beyond, the world’s largest chip makers envision the next twenty years of intelligent machines, and is helping Europe’s largest energy companies re-invent energy generation, transmission and retail.

Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who has been featured on the BBC, Discovery and other outlets. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew helps them envision the future and helps them transform their industries, products and go to market strategies, and shows them how the combination of new, democratised, powerful emerging technologies are helping accelerate cultural, industrial and societal change.

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