Nuclear bremsstrahlung and its radiation effects in fusion reactors

Nie Luo, Magdi Ragheb, George H. Miley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nucleons, i.e. protons or neutrons, are emitted in many fusion processes of light nuclei. The fusion-generated nucleons can in turn fuse with or be captured by an un-reacted nuclear fuel, for example deuterium. The fusion reaction occurs at an average center of mass (COM) energy of 10 keV (thousand electron volts) or more in a typical fusion reactor. At such a relative low COM energy, the proton and deuteron are in a state where the relative angular momentum approaches zero, or an s-wave state. The single gamma radiation process is thus suppressed due to the conservation of parity. Instead, the gamma ray (typically of the order of a few MeV or more) released is likely to be accompanied by soft x-ray photons from a nuclear bremsstrahlung process, which generates continuous x-ray radiation peaked around a few hundred eV to a few keV. The average photon energy and spectrum properties of such a process is calculated with a semiclassical approach. This phenomenon may cause additional parasitic issues to a fusion reactor, while also opening up the possibility of new plasma diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035003
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 29 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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