This chapter is devoted to the fundamental concepts of nuclear fusion. To be more precise, it is devoted to the theoretical basics of fusion reactions between light nuclei such as hydrogen, helium, boron, and lithium. The discussion is limited because our purpose is to focus on laboratory-scale fusion experiments that aim at gaining energy from the fusion process. After discussing the methods of calculating the fusion cross section, it will be shown that sustained fusion reactions with energy gain must happen in a thermal medium because, in beam-target experiments, the energy of the beam is randomized faster than the fusion rate. Following a brief introduction to the elements of plasma physics, the chapter is concluded with the introduction of the most prominent fusion reactions ongoing in the Sun.
KeywordsPlasma Parameter Plasma Frequency Fusion Reaction Fusion Rate Deflection Angle
The author would like to thank Dr. S. Zoletnik for valuable discussions and hints.
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