A material that is a hundred thousand times heavier than water and more dense than the core of the Sun is being produced at the University of Gothenburg. The scientists working with this material are aiming for an energy process that is both more sustainable and less damaging to the environment than the nuclear power used today. Ultra-dense deuterium may be a very efficient fuel in laser driven nuclear fusion. Ultra-dense deuterium is a million times more dense than frozen deuterium, making it relatively easy to create a nuclear fusion reaction using high-power pulses of laser light. “If we can produce large quantities of ultra-dense deuterium, the fusion process may become the energy source of the future. And it may become available much earlier than we have thought possible”, says Leif Holmlid. “Further, we believe that we can design the deuterium fusion such that it produces only helium and hydrogen as its products, both of which are completely non-hazardous. It will not be necessary to deal with the highly radioactive tritium that is planned for use in other types of future fusion reactors, and this means that laser-driven nuclear fusion as we envisage it will be both more sustainable and less damaging to the environment than other methods that are being developed.”
Ultradense deuterium is a material so heavy that a cube with sides of length 10 cm weights 130 tonnes, a material whose density is significantly greater than the material in the core of the Sun. It is being produced and studied by scientists in Atmospheric Science at the Department of Chemistry, the University of Gothenburg.
Only microscopic amounts of the new material have been produced. New measurements that have been published in two scientific journals, however, have shown that the distance between atoms in the material is much smaller than in normal matter. Leif Holmlid, Professor in the Department of Chemistry, believes that this is an important step on the road to commercial use of the material.
The material is produced from heavy hydrogen, also known as deuterium, and is therefore known as “ultra-dense deuterium”. It is believed that ultra-dense deuterium plays a role in the formation of stars, and that it is probably present in giant planets such as Jupiter.
High-density hydrogen is of great interest both as a fuel with the highest energy content of any combustion fuel, and as a target material for laser initiated inertial confinement fusion (ICF) [S. Badiei, L. Holmlid, J. Fusion Energ. 27 (2008) 296]. A much denser deuterium material named D(−1) can be observed by pulsed laser induced Coulomb explosions giving a well-defined, high kinetic energy release (KER). Neutral time-of-flight of the fragments from the material shows that the Coulomb explosions have a KER of 630 eV [S. Badiei, P.U. Andersson, L. Holmlid, Int. J. Hydrogen Energ. 34 (2009) 487]. By using ion time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) with variable acceleration voltages and a few different values of laser pulse power, we now prove the mass and charge of the particles as well as the KER. In fact, the ions are so fast that they must be H+, D+ or T+. By using two different flight lengths, we prove with certainty that the spectra are due to D+ ions and not to photons or electromagnetic effects. The results also establish the fragmentation patterns of the ultra-dense D(−1) material in the electric field. The energy release of 630 ± 30 eV corresponds to an interatomic distance D–D of 2.3 ± 0.1 pm. This material is probably an inverted metal with the deuterons moving in the field from the stationary electrons, which gives a predicted interatomic distance of 2.5 picometers, close to the measured value. Thus, we prove that an ultra-dense deuterium material exists.
Rydberg Matter is a state of matter of the same status as liquid or solid, since it can be formed by a large number of atoms and small molecules. So far, it has been formed by alkali metals K and Cs, by atoms like H, and by molecules like N2 and H2. It is possibly the most abundant state of matter in the universe, since interstellar and even intergalactic space seems to be filled with Rydberg Matter. In principle, Rydberg Matter is a condensed metallic phase formed from weakly interacting Rydberg species (Rydberg states).
The lowest state of Rydberg Matter in excitation state n = 1 can only be formed from hydrogen (protium and deuterium) atoms and is designated H(1) or D(1). This is dense or metallic hydrogen, which we have studied for a few years. The bond distance is 153 pm (picometer, one thousand times smaller than a nanometer), or 2.9 times the Bohr radius. It is a quantum fluid, with a density of approximately 0.6 kg / dm3.
A much denser state exists for deuterium, named D(-1). We call it ultra-dense deuterium. This is the inverse of D(1), and the bond distance is very small, equal to 2.3 pm. Its density is extremely large, >130 kg / cm3, if it can exist as a dense phase. Due to the short bond distance, D-D fusion is expected to take place easily in this material.
84. A. Kotarba and L. Holmlid, “Energy-pooling transitions to doubly excited K atoms at a promoted catalyst surface: enough energy for any chemical reaction”. Phys. Chem. Chem Phys. (2009) DOI: 10.1039/b817380j.
183. S. Badiei, P. U. Andersson and L. Holmlid, “High-energy Coulomb explosions in ultra-dense deuterium: time-of-flight mass spectrometry with variable energy and flight length”. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 282 (2009) 70-76.
182. L. Holmlid, “Nm interatomic distances in Rydberg Matter clusters confirmed by phase-delay spectroscopy”. J. Nanopart. Res. (2009) DOI 10.1007/s11051-009-9605-2.
181. L. Holmlid, “Light in condensed matter in the upper atmosphere as the origin of homochirality: circularly polarized light from Rydberg Matter”. Astrobiol. (2009) accepted.
180. L. Holmlid, “Nuclear spin transitions in the kHz range in Rydberg Matter clusters give precise values of the internal magnetic field from orbiting Rydberg electrons”. Chem. Phys. 358 (2009) 61–67.
179. S. Badiei, P. U. Andersson and L. Holmlid, “Fusion reactions in high-density hydrogen: a fast route to small-scale fusion?” Int. J. Hydr. Energy 34 (2009) 487-495.
178. L. Holmlid, “Clusters HN+ (N = 4, 6, 12) from condensed atomic hydrogen and deuterium indicating close-packed structures in the desorbed phase at an active catalyst surface”. Surf. Sci. 602 (2008) 3381–3387.
177. L. Holmlid, “Vibrational transitions in Rydberg Matter clusters from stimulated Raman and Rabi-flopping phase-delay in the infrared”. J. Raman Spectr. 39 (2008) 1364–1374.
176. S. Badiei and L. Holmlid, “Condensed atomic hydrogen as a possible target in inertial confinement fusion (ICF)”. J. Fusion Energ. 27 (2008) 296–300.
175. L. Holmlid, “The diffuse interstellar band (DIB) carriers in interstellar space: all intense bands calculated from He doubly excited states embedded in Rydberg Matter”. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 384 (2008) 764–774.
174. L. Holmlid, “Rotational spectra of large Rydberg Matter clusters K37, K61 and K91 give trends in K-K bond distances relative to electron orbit radius”. J. Mol. Struct. 885 (2008) 122-130.
Rydberg matter is a solid or liquid state of matter formed from highly excited atoms (see Rydberg atom ) or molecules (see Rydberg molecule ) of the circular Rydberg type. Rydberg matter was predicted around 1980 by E. A. Manykin et al. A circular Rydberg state has its outermost electron in a planar almost circular orbit around the atomic core, like a planet around the Sun. Such Rydberg states are the most long-lived ones, with lifetimes up to several hours in highly excited states in space. Direct studies by laser spectroscopy and emission spectroscopy show that Rydberg matter contains circular Rydberg states. Rydberg matter can be formed from many different atoms and molecules. It has been reported to be formed by Cs, K, H, H2 and N2. It is expected that Rydberg matter can also be formed by other alkali atoms like Na. Observational evidence of Rydberg matter formed by He atoms in space also exists, since the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) are well described by doubly excited circular He atomic states embedded in Rydberg matter. Theoretical studies have been made on the formation of Rydberg matter from atoms like Be, Mg and Ca