Alpha reactions

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(Redirected from Alpha process)

The alpha reactions is one of two class of fusion reactions by which stars convert helium into heavier elements, the other being the triple-alpha process. In contrast with the triple-alpha process which only require helium to occur, once some carbon is produced, other reactions that consume helium are possible:

12C + 4He 16O + γ
16O + 4He 20Ne + γ
20Ne+ 4He 24Mg + γ


All these reactions have a very low rate and therefore do not contribute significantly to the energy production in stars; with elements heavier than Neon (atomic number > 20) they occur even less easily due to the increasing Coulomb barrier.

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