Which one takes more energy to produce?

I ask as I theorize that keeping the plasma in a fusion reactor is very expensive.

Muons, while useful, are too short lived.

Maybe... Keeping the plasma at close but not actually passed the fusion threshold, and a steady gamma laser to push a small section over that edge would be more feasible.

Or heck, have in the plasma itself trace amount of thorium.


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    $\begingroup$ Have I missed the invention of a gamma laser? $\endgroup$ – Lewis Miller Jan 14 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ What's the relevance of muons to fusion? And how would thorium help? $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Jan 14 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ As I mentioned in your other post on the topic, this is how existing fusion reactors work. They use electrical current in the plasma to heat it up to below fusion temps, around 1 million K. They the use other methods to heat it up to the 50 million K they need. One common solution is to inject radio frequency photons, which work just as well as gammas but are a whole lot easier to make. $\endgroup$ – Maury Markowitz Jan 24 at 19:22

A muon has a rest energy of 106 MeV, so it takes this much energy to produce.

Gamma photons are usually defined to be photons with an energy of at least 100 keV. They have been measured up to something like 1000 TeV.

So there are gamma photons a thousand times less energetic than a muon, and also gamma photons billions of times more energetic than a muon.

The plasma in most fusion reactors is contained by magnetic fields, not by particles like muons or radiation like gamma rays.

Some fusion reactors use a completely different approach where strong lasers shine from all directions to heat and confine the plasma, but the photons coming out of these lasers do not need to have gamma-ray energies.


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