### Gamow peak

(relative speed most likely to cause atoms to fuse within a gas)

The **Gamow peak** is a peak in the probability that atoms moving at
some speed within a gas will fuse, i.e., that fusion will take
place. It is a factor in nucleosynthesis, such as fusion within
stars. The probability, called the **Gamow factor**, is the combination
of two probabilities: the probability that two atoms will a particular
relative speed (based on the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution),
and the probability of quantum tunneling given that relative
speed, a probability that quantum mechanics provides. Fusion
primarily takes place through quantum tunneling of a particle
through the electric field of another (repelled by the
Coulomb force), to get sufficiently close that the strong force
holds them together.

The *Gamow factor* and *Gamow peak* of a gas are dependent upon its
temperature as well as its constituents. Tunneling is more
likely with higher the speed, but at a given temperature, there are
fewer atoms as you consider higher speeds, and the combination of
the two probability distributions features a maximum probability
of tunneling, the Gamow peak. The **Gamow window** refers to a general
range around the peak within which the majority of the fusion will
take place.

(*physics,nucleosynthesis*)
**Further reading:**

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamow_factor

http://www.phys.unm.edu/~gbtaylor/astr421/lectures/16_A421_StellarInteriorsIInew.pdf

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