Fr.: combustion du deutérium
The fusion of a deuterium nucleus with a proton which produces the lightest isotope of helium: D + H → 3He + γ. Deuterium burning occurs in stellar cores at a temperature exceeding 106 K. The onset of deuterium burning marks the end of the → protostellar collapse. It is the only → nuclear reaction that occurs in → brown dwarfs. In normal stars, it is the second step in the → proton-proton chain which leads to the formation of 4He, allowing stars to arrive on the → main sequence.