Question #d01ef

Dec 21, 2014

This reaction is part of the proton-proton chain reaction, one of the fusion reactions by which stars convert Hydrogen to Helium.

The reaction chain consists of three steps and concludes with the creation of a Helium-4 nucleus (the most common Helium isotope), also called an $\alpha - p a r t i c l e$. Without going into detail, the proton-proton chain reaction is

1. Two protons fuse into heavy Hydrogen (deuterium);
2. A proton fuses with the deuterium nucleus forming Helium-3 and releasing a Gamma Ray;
3. Two Helium-3 nuclei fuse into Helium-4 and 2 protons are released:

(3/2)He + (3/2)He -> 2(1/1)H + (4/2)He

This process represents the most likely pathway to produce Helium-4.

Here's a chart of the proton-proton chain reaction: