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Classification: Non-metallic
Atomic Mass: 2.01
Density: 0.168 kg/m3
Boiling Point: -249.6 °C
Melting Point: -254.6 °C
Critical Temperature: -234.8 °C


American physical chemist Harold Urey discovered Deuterium in 1931 for which he received a Nobel prize.


Deuterium was created with normal hydrogen and helium just after the big bang and, due to deuterium’s mutation in stars, its level of abundance has reduced since then. Although produced in stars through nuclear fusion, deuterium particles are quickly fused into helium atoms.

Uses of Deuterium:

Heavy hydrogen, as Deuterium is sometimes called, is used to create heavy water which has many uses in the field of nuclear power and uranium refinement for nuclear weapons.

Hydrogen in its basic form contains one proton within its nucleus where as deuterium, which is a stable isotope of hydrogen, contains one proton and one neutron. Due to the extra neutron its atomic mass is doubled hence its nickname of heavy hydrogen.

Applications of Deuterium:

  1. Nuclear Fusion:

    One of the most significant applications of deuterium is in nuclear fusion reactions. Nuclear fusion, the process of combining atomic nuclei to release energy, often involves the fusion of deuterium nuclei. This reaction releases an immense amount of energy, making it a potential solution to the world’s energy crisis.

  2. Aerospace Propulsion:

    Deuterium has also found use in aerospace propulsion systems. Its high energy density and efficiency make it an ideal choice for powering spacecraft, ensuring longer and more efficient space exploration. The utilization of deuterium as a fuel source in rocket engines has the potential to revolutionize space travel.

  3. Power Generation:

    Deuterium holds promise as a fuel source for power generation on Earth. When used in a fusion reactor, deuterium can produce vast amounts of energy without harmful emissions or the generation of radioactive waste. This clean and sustainable energy solution could greatly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Deuterium: Is it Safe?
Safety is a crucial consideration when exploring new energy sources. Deuterium, being a stable isotope, does not pose significant risks when handled properly. Its use in fusion reactors generates minimal waste and does not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. However, precautions must be taken for the handling and storage of deuterium due to its flammability.

The Future of Deuterium

With its potential to revolutionize energy production, deuterium holds the key to a sustainable future. Advancements in fusion technology and research are bringing us closer to harnessing the full potential of deuterium as a clean energy source. As we continue to explore its capabilities, this powerhouse fuel may pave the way for a greener and more efficient world.

Deuterium in Stars

Deuterium in StarsIn stars, deuterium is formed from the nuclear fussion of two hydrogen particles. The proton in one of the hydrogen atoms becomes a neutron as the two particles fuse together. As the atom now only has one proton (positive charge) it can only hold one electron (negative charge) in its shell. A positron (an electron with a positive charge) and a neutrino are released in the reaction. The deutronium produced in the stars is quickly fused into a hellium atom releasing a further neutrino.

Energy Production through Nuclear Fusion

When the atoms fuse together in the sun their combined mass is slightly less than that of its separate parts.

For example a Hydrogen atom has an atomic mass of 1.00794. If two combined to produce a Deuterium atom you should expect its atomic mass to be about 2.01588 but what we find is that Deuterium actually has an atomic mass of 2.014102. This may not sound like a lot but it is a difference in mass of 0.001778u and even taking away the minute mass of an electron (0.00054u) we have a lost mass of 0.001238u.

Einstein’s famous equation ‘E=Mc2’ shows that mass and energy are interchangeable and this is exactly what happens to the lost mass. Every time atoms are fused together mass is lost and converted into energy. In fact 1 gram of Deuterium can produce 275, million kcal (1012 joules) of energy which is more than enough to heat the water of 3,430 average household baths (275,000 litres) by 1 degree centigrade. In comparison the most that can be produced through fossil fuels is 10 kcal per gram of fuel which would only heat 10ml of water by 1 degree centigrade.

Nuclear fusion is the dream of many scientists as a new energy source for mankind but it requires huge amounts of energy to start the process. In fact all attempts to produce enough energy to ignite fusion have proved inadequate.

Ultra Dense Deuterium

One answer may be found in Ultra dense Deuterium which has been produced at the University of Gothenburg. Ultra Dense Deuterium has greater density than found in the core of the sun and this property would make it vastly more efficient. Speculation as to the existence of Ultra Dense Deuterium remains but, if it can be produced, then fusion should be possible. This would mean potentially limitless fuel without pollution.

Shell Structure


Protons = 1

Neutrons = 0

Electrons = 1

Electron Orbit of Deuterium













Absorption Lines


Emission Lines


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