Where does deuterium come from?

Where does deuterium come from? 1

Deuterium is a naturally occurring element. You acquire deuterium through the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe.

The deuterium isotope’s name is formed from the Greek deuteros, meaning “second”, to denote the two particles composing the nucleus. Deuterium was discovered and named in 1931 by Harold Urey.

When the neutron was discovered in 1932, this made the nuclear structure of deuterium obvious, and Urey won the Nobel Prize in 1934.

Soon after deuterium’s discovery, Urey and others produced samples of “heavy water” in which the deuterium content had been highly concentrated.

Deuterium is destroyed in the interiors of stars faster than it is produced. Other natural processes are thought to produce only an insignificant amount of deuterium.

Nearly all deuterium found in nature was produced in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, as the basic or primordial ratio of hydrogen-1 to deuterium (about 26 atoms of deuterium per million hydrogen atoms) has its origin from that time.



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