Can electrons ever collide with other electrons during nuclear fusion?

Jaydan Aguirre

Jaydan Aguirre

Answered question


Can electrons ever collide with other electrons during nuclear fusion? Or do they repel each other because of Coulomb's law?

Answer & Explanation

Salma Bradley

Salma Bradley

Beginner2022-07-16Added 13 answers

Nuclear fusion happens when two nuclei on the left side of the rising binding energy per nucleon curve scatter off each other with enough energy to overcome the coulomb barrier, so that the stronger attractive nuclear forces can act.
This means that the nuclei are bare of electrons, and the way that this can happen is in a plasma , a gas of ions and electrons which happens at very high temperatures.
This means that there are energetic electrons in a fusion plasma, but electron+electron can only give interesting results at very high energies, creating new particle-antiparticle pairs in the process. No fusion as lepton number is conserved. Electrons just scatter off each other according to the coulomb solution of the quantum mechanical scattering .
How to manipulate plasma to bring it to the energies needed for enough fusion of nuclei to get a positive result in energy spent versus energy output is a research project the world over.

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