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Encyclopedia > Cold fusion
Cold fusion cell at the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego (2005)

Cold fusion, sometimes called low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) or condensed matter nuclear science, is a set of effects reported in controversial laboratory experiments at ordinary temperatures and pressures, which some researchers say are caused by nuclear reactions. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Cold Fusion is an original novel written by Lance Parkin and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ... Image File history File links Spawar1stGenCFCell. ... Image File history File links Spawar1stGenCFCell. ... A testing facility at SPAWAR San Diego Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego (SSC San Diego) is the U.S. Navys research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for command, control and communication systems and ocean surveillance. ... In nuclear physics, a nuclear reaction is a process in which two nuclei or nuclear particles collide to produce products different from the initial particles. ...


In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons reported producing a tabletop nuclear fusion reaction at the University of Utah.[1] In their press conferences and papers, they reported the observation of anomalous heating ("excess heat") of an electrolytic cell during electrolysis of heavy water using palladium (Pd) electrodes. Lacking an explanation for the source of such heat, they proposed the hypothesis that the heat came from nuclear fusion of deuterium (D). The report of their results raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.[2] Martin Fleischmann (1927-) is a chemist at the University of Southampton who, while working with Stanley Pons of University of Utah, announced the discovery of cold fusion on March 23, 1989. ... Stanley Pons was a chemist at University of Utah who, while working with Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton, announced the discovery of cold fusion on March 23, 1989. ... In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a method of separating chemically bonded elements and compounds by passing an electric current through them. ... Heavy water is dideuterium oxide, or D2O or 2H2O. It is chemically the same as normal water, H2O, but the hydrogen atoms are of the heavy isotope deuterium, in which the nucleus contains a neutron in addition to the proton found in the nucleus of any hydrogen atom. ... For other uses, see Palladium (disambiguation). ... Look up Hypothesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reaction is considered the most promising for producing sustainable fusion power. ... Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ...


Cold fusion gained a reputation as pathological science after other scientists failed to replicate the results.[3] A review panel organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 1989 did not find the evidence persuasive. Since then, other reports of anomalous heat production and anomalous Helium-4 production have been reported in peer-reviewed journals[α] and have been discussed at scientific conferences.[4][5] Most scientists have met these reports with skepticism.[6] In 2004 the US DOE organized another review panel (US DOE 2004) which—like the one in 1989—did not recommend a focused federally-funded program for low energy nuclear reactions. The 2004 panel identified basic research areas that could be helpful in resolving some of the controversies in the field. It stated that the field would benefit from the peer-review processes associated with proposal submission to agencies and paper submission to archival academic journals. Irving Langmuir coined the phrase pathological science in a talk in 1953 Pathological science is the process in science in which people are tricked into false results . ... The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. ... Helium-4 is a non-radioactive and light isotope of helium. ... Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... This article is about the psychological term. ...


Since 2004, two peer-reviewed literature reviews have concluded that cold fusion has been demonstrated by experiments that result in excess heat production and nuclear reaction products such as helium-4.[7][8] The reviews stated that although many explanations have been proposed, several of which do not use new physics, none is yet satisfactory. In nuclear physics, a nuclear reaction is a process in which two nuclei or nuclear particles collide to produce products different from the initial particles. ... Helium-4 is a non-radioactive and light isotope of helium. ...

Contents

History

Early work

The special ability of palladium to absorb hydrogen was recognized as early as the nineteenth century by Thomas Graham.[9] In the late nineteen-twenties, two German scientists, Friedrich Paneth and K. Peters, reported the transformation of hydrogen into helium by spontaneous nuclear catalysis when hydrogen was absorbed by finely divided palladium at room temperature.[9] These authors later acknowledged that the helium they measured was due to background from the air. Thomas Graham (December 21, 1805 – September 16, 1869) was born in Glasgow, Scotland. ... Friedrich Adolf Paneth (1887 - 1958) was an Austrian-British chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society. ...


In 1927, Swedish scientist J. Tandberg stated that he had fused hydrogen into helium in an electrolytic cell with palladium electrodes.[9] On the basis of his work, he applied for a Swedish patent for "a method to produce helium and useful reaction energy". After deuterium was discovered in 1932, Tandberg continued his experiments with heavy water. Due to Paneth and Peters' retraction, Tandberg's patent application was eventually denied.[9] // Electrolytic cells are composed of a vessel used to do electrolysis, containing electrolyte, usually a solution of water or other solvents capable of dissolving various ions into solution, and a cathode and anode. ... Heavy water is dideuterium oxide, or D2O or 2H2O. It is chemically the same as normal water, H2O, but the hydrogen atoms are of the heavy isotope deuterium, in which the nucleus contains a neutron in addition to the proton found in the nucleus of any hydrogen atom. ...


The term "cold fusion" was coined by Dr. Paul Palmer of Brigham Young University in 1986 in an investigation of "geo-fusion", or the possible existence of fusion in a planetary core.[10] , Brigham Young University (BYU), located in Provo, Utah, is a private coeducational school completely owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) and run under the auspices of its Church Educational System. ... The planetary core consists of the innermost layer(s) of a planet. ...


Fleischmann-Pons announcement

Fleischmann said that he began investigating the possibility that chemical means could influence nuclear processes in the 1960s.[11] He said that he explored whether collective effects, that would require quantum electrodynamics to calculate, might be more significant than the effects predicted by quantum mechanical calculations.[12][13] He said that, by 1983, he had experimental evidence leading him to believe that condensed phase systems developed coherent structures up to 10-7m in size.[12] In 1984, Fleischmann and Pons began cold fusion experiments.[14] For other uses, see Chemistry (disambiguation). ... Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is a relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. ... For a generally accessible and less technical introduction to the topic, see Introduction to quantum mechanics. ... Coherence is the property of wave-like states that enables them to exhibit interference. ...

Electrolysis cell schematic
Electrolysis cell schematic

In their original set-up, Fleischmann and Pons used a Dewar flask (a double-walled vacuum flask) for the electrolysis, so that heat conduction would be minimal on the side and the bottom of the cell (only 5 % of the heat loss in this experiment). The cell flask was then submerged in a bath maintained at constant temperature to eliminate the effect of external heat sources. They used an open cell, thus allowing the gaseous deuterium and oxygen resulting from the electrolysis reaction to leave the cell, along with some heat. It was necessary to replenish the cell with heavy water at regular intervals. The authors said that, since the cell was tall and narrow, the bubbling action of the gas kept the electrolyte well mixed and of a uniform temperature. Special attention was paid to the purity of the palladium cathode and electrolyte to prevent the build-up of material on its surface, especially after long periods of operation. A Dewar flask is a vessel designed to provide very good thermal insulation. ... In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a method of separating chemically bonded elements and compounds by passing an electric current through them. ... For other uses, see Gas (disambiguation). ... Heavy water is dideuterium oxide, or D2O or 2H2O. It is chemically the same as normal water, H2O, but the hydrogen atoms are of the heavy isotope deuterium, in which the nucleus contains a neutron in addition to the proton found in the nucleus of any hydrogen atom. ...


The cell was also instrumented with a thermistor to measure the temperature of the electrolyte, and an electrical heater to generate pulses of heat and calibrate the heat loss due to the gas outlet. After calibration, it was possible to compute the heat generated by the reaction.[1] NTC thermistor, bead type, insulated wires Thermistor symbol A thermistor is a type of resistor used to measure temperature changes, relying on the change in its resistance with changing temperature. ... An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that behaves as an electrically conductive medium. ... calibration refers to the process of determining the relation between the output (or response) of a measuring instrument and the value of the input quantity or attribute, a measurement standard. ...


A constant current was applied to the cell continuously for many weeks, and heavy water was added as necessary. For most of the time, the power input to the cell was equal to the power that went out of the cell within measuring accuracy, and the cell temperature was stable at around 30 °C. But then, at some point (and in some of the experiments), the temperature rose suddenly to about 50 °C without changes in the input power, for durations of 2 days or more. The generated power was calculated to be about 20 times the input power during the power bursts. Eventually the power bursts in any one cell would no longer occur and the cell was turned off.


In 1988, Fleischmann and Pons applied to the United States Department of Energy for funding towards a larger series of experiments. Up to this point they had been funding their experiments using a small device built with $100,000 out-of-pocket.[15] The grant proposal was turned over for peer review, and one of the reviewers was Steven E. Jones of Brigham Young University.[15] Jones had worked on muon-catalyzed fusion for some time, and had written an article on the topic entitled "Cold nuclear fusion" that had been published in Scientific American in July 1987. Fleischmann and Pons and co-workers met with Jones and co-workers on occasion in Utah to share research and techniques. During this time, Fleischmann and Pons described their experiments as generating considerable "excess energy", in the sense that it could not be explained by chemical reactions alone.[16] They felt that such a discovery could bear significant commercial value and would be entitled to patent protection. Jones, however, was measuring neutron flux, which was not of commercial interest.[15] In order to avoid problems in the future, the teams appeared to agree to simultaneously publish their results, although their accounts of their March 6 meeting differ.[17] The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. ... Out-of-pocket expenses are direct outlays of cash which are not reimbursed. ... Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... Steven E. Jones For other uses, see Stephen Jones. ... , Brigham Young University (BYU), located in Provo, Utah, is a private coeducational school completely owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) and run under the auspices of its Church Educational System. ... Muon-catalyzed fusion is a process allowing nuclear fusion to take place at room temperature. ... Scientific American is a popular-science magazine, published (first weekly and later monthly) since August 28, 1845, making it the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... For other uses, see Chemical reaction (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Patent (disambiguation). ... is the 65th day of the year (66th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In mid-March, both research teams were ready to publish their findings, and Fleischmann and Jones had agreed to meet at an airport on March 24 to send their papers to Nature via FedEx.[17] Fleischmann and Pons, however, broke their apparent agreement, submitting their paper to the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry on March 11, and disclosing their work via a press conference on March 23.[15] Jones, upset, faxed in his paper to Nature after the press conference.[17] is the 83rd day of the year (84th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Nature is a prominent scientific journal, first published on 4 November 1869. ... Federal Express redirects here. ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Reaction to the announcement

The press initially reported on the experiments widely, and due to the surmised beneficial commercial applications of the Utah experiments, "scores of laboratories in the United States and abroad" attempted to repeat the experiments.[18] The announcement raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.[2]


On April 10, 1989, Fleischmann and Pons, who later suggested pressure from patent attorneys, published a rushed "preliminary note" in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry.[1] This paper notably contained a gamma peak without its corresponding Compton edge, a discrepancy that triggered accusations of fraud.[19][20][21] Their "preliminary note" was followed up a year later in July 1990, when a much longer paper, going into details of calorimetry but without any nuclear measurements, was published in the same journal.[16] is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... In spectrophotometry, the Compton Edge is a feature of the spectrograph that results from the Compton scattering in the scintillator or detector. ...


Also occurring on April 10, a team at Texas A&M University published their results of excess heat, followed up by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology who observed production of neutrons.[22] Both results were widely reported on in the press, although both Texas A&M and the Georgia Institute of Technology withdrew their results for lack of evidence.[22] For the next six weeks, additional competing claims, counterclaims and suggested explanations kept what was referred to as "cold fusion" or "fusion confusion" in the news.[23] is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Texas A&M University redirects here. ... The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly known as Georgia Tech, is a public, coeducational research university, part of the University System of Georgia, and located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia, Metz, France, Shanghai, China, and Singapore. ...


On April 12, Pons received a standing ovation from about 7,000 chemists at the semi-annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. The University of Utah asked Congress to provide $25 million to pursue the research,[24] and Pons was scheduled to meet with representatives of President Bush in early May. is the 102nd day of the year (103rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a learned society (professional association) based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. ... George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. ...


Then on May 1, the American Physical Society held a session on cold fusion, which included several reports of experiments that failed to produce evidence of cold fusion. A second session began the next day with other negative reports, and eight of the nine leading speakers stated that they considered the initial Utah claim dead.[25] Dr. Steven E. Koonin of Caltech described the Utah report as a result of "the incompetence and delusion of Pons and Fleischmann."[25] Dr. Douglas R. O. Morrison, a physicist representing CERN, called the entire episode an example of pathological science.[3]Nature published papers critical of cold fusion in July and November.[26][27] is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The American Physical Society was founded in 1899 and is the worlds second largest organization of physicists. ... California Institute of Technology The California Institute of Technology (commonly known as Caltech) is a private, coeducational university located in Pasadena, California, in the United States. ... CERN logo The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: ), commonly known as CERN (see Naming), pronounced (or in French), is the worlds largest particle physics laboratory, situated just northwest of Geneva on the border between France and Switzerland. ... Irving Langmuir coined the phrase pathological science in a talk in 1953 Pathological science is the process in science in which people are tricked into false results . ...


1989 DOE panel

In November, a special panel formed by the Energy Research Advisory Board, under a charge of the United States Department of Energy, said that it was not possible to state categorically that cold fusion has been convincingly either proved or disproved.[28] The experimental results of excess heat from calorimetric cells reported to them did not present convincing evidence that useful sources of energy will result from the phenomena attributed to cold fusion. These experiments did not present convincing evidence to associate the reported anomalous heat with a nuclear process. Current understanding of hydrogen in solids gives no support for the occurrence of cold fusion in solids. Nuclear fusion at room temperature, of the type discussed in this report, would be contrary to all understanding gained of nuclear reactions in the last half century; it would require the invention of an entirely new nuclear process. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. ...


The panel "recommended against the establishment of special programs or research centers to develop cold fusion", but was "sympathetic toward modest support for carefully focused and cooperative experiments within the present funding system." The Panel recommended that "the cold fusion research efforts in the area of heat production focus primarily on confirming or disproving reports of excess heat" and stated that "investigations designed to check the reported observations of excess tritium in electrolytic cells are desirable.". [29]


Further developments (1989-2004)

The first published replication of excess heat was reported by Richard Oriani while he was professor of physical chemistry at the University of Minnesota, in December 1990. The results were published in his paper, "Calorimetric Measurements of Excess Power Output During the Cathodic Charging of Deuterium Into Palladium", in Fusion Technology.[30] This article is about the oldest and largest campus of the University of Minnesota. ...


In 1991, Dr. Eugene Mallove stated that the negative report issued by the MIT Plasma Fusion Center in 1989, which was highly influential in the controversy, was fraudulent because data was shifted without explanation, obscuring a possible positive excess heat result at MIT. In protest of MIT's failure to discuss and acknowledge the significance of this data shift, Mallove resigned from his post as chief science author at the MIT news office on June 7, 1991. He maintained that the data shift was biased to support the conventional belief in the non-existence of the cold fusion effect as well as to protect the financial interests of the plasma fusion center's research in hot fusion.[31] Taken at an ICCF sometime in the mid-nineties. ... PSFC logo The Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a research laboratory for the study of plasma physics and nuclear fusion. ... Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT, MapúaTech or simply Mapúa) is a private, non-sectarian, Filipino tertiary institute located in Intramuros, Manila. ... is the 158th day of the year (159th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar. ...


The late Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger (1918 - 1994) also stated in 1991 that he had experienced "the pressure for conformity in editor's rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous reviewers," and that "the replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science."[32] He resigned as Member and Fellow of the American Physical Society in protest of its peer review practice on cold fusion. Julian Seymour Schwinger (February 12, 1918 -- July 16, 1994) was an American theoretical physicist. ... The American Physical Society was founded in 1899 and is the worlds second largest organization of physicists. ...


In 1992, workers at General Electric challenged the Fleischmann-Pons 1990 report in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, stating that the claims of excess heat had been overstated.[33] The challenge concluded that the Fleischmann and Pons cell generated 40% excess heat, more than ten times larger than the initial error estimate. Despite the apparent confirmation, Fleischmann and Pons replied to General Electric and published a rebuttal in the same journal.[34]


Fleischmann and Pons relocated their laboratory to France under a grant from the Toyota Motor Corporation. The laboratory, IMRA, was closed in 1998 after spending £12 million on cold fusion work. By comparison, research on the proven hot fusion reaction has run into the billions.[35] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


By 1991, 92 groups of researchers from 10 different countries had reported excess heat, tritium, helium4, neutrons or other nuclear effects.[36] Over 3,000 cold fusion papers have been published including about 1,000 in peer-reviewed journals (see indices in further reading, below). In March 1995, Dr. Edmund Storms compiled a list of 21 papers and articles reporting excess heat published in peer reviewed journals such as Naturwissenschaften, European Physical Journal A, European Physical Journal C, Journal of Solid State Phenomena, Physical Review A, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, and Journal of Fusion Energy. Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... Physical Review is one of the oldest and most-respected scientific journals publishing research on all aspects of physics. ... Japanese Journal of Applied Physics (JAPP) is scientific journal, established in 1962; publication of the Japan Society of Applied Physics. ...

Michael McKubre working on a deuterium gas-based cold fusion cell used by SRI International

The generation of excess heat has been reported by (among others): Image File history File links Gas-ColdFusionCell-SRI-Intl-McKubre. ... Image File history File links Gas-ColdFusionCell-SRI-Intl-McKubre. ...

Many of these researchers continued their research in the phenomena after retirement. Osaka University (大阪大学 Ōsaka Daigaku; abbreviated to 阪大 Handai) is a public coeducational research university in Suita, Osaka, Japan. ... Stanford redirects here. ... SRI Internationals main campus on Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California SRI International is one of the worlds largest contract research institutions. ... Hokkaido University ), or Hokudai ), is one of the leading national universities of Japan. ... This article is about the oldest and largest campus of the University of Minnesota. ... Giuliano Preparata, (Padova, Italy, 1942 - Frascati, Italy, 2000) was an Italian physicist. ... ENEA is an Italian Government sponsored reasearch and development agency. ... Los Alamos National Laboratory, aerial view from 1995. ...


Researchers share their results at the International Conference on Cold Fusion, recently renamed the International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. The conference is held every 12 to 18 months in various countries around the world, and is hosted by The International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, a scientific organization that was founded as a professional society to support research efforts and to communicate experimental results. A few periodicals emerged in the 1990s that covered developments in cold fusion and related new energy sciences (Fusion Facts, Cold Fusion Magazine, Infinite Energy Magazine, and New Energy Times).

A cold fusion calorimeter of the open type, used at the New Hydrogen Energy Institute in Japan. Source: SPAWAR/US Navy TR1862

Between 1992 and 1997, Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry sponsored a "New Hydrogen Energy Program" of US$20 million to research cold fusion. Announcing the end of the program, Dr. Hideo Ikegami stated in 1997 "We couldn't achieve what was first claimed in terms of cold fusion." He added, "We can't find any reason to propose more money for the coming year or for the future."[37] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (730x856, 117 KB) Summary Fig. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (730x856, 117 KB) Summary Fig. ... A calorimeter is a device used for calorimetry, the science of measuring the heat of chemical reactions or physical changes as well as heat capacity. ... The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (通商産業省 Tsūsho-sangyō-shō or MITI) was the single most powerful agency in the Japanese government during the 1950s and 1960s. ...


In 1994, Dr. David Goodstein described cold fusion as "a pariah field, cast out by the scientific establishment. Between [cold fusion] and respectable science there is virtually no communication at all. Cold fusion papers are almost never published in refereed scientific journals, with the result that those works don't receive the normal critical scrutiny that science requires. On the other hand, because the Cold-Fusioners see themselves as a community under siege, there is little internal criticism. Experiments and theories tend to be accepted at face value, for fear of providing even more fuel for external critics, if anyone outside the group was bothering to listen. In these circumstances, crackpots flourish, making matters worse for those who believe that there is serious science going on here."[38] David L. Goodstein (born 1939) is a U.S. physicist and educator. ...


Cold fusion researchers said that cold fusion was being suppressed, and that skeptics suffered from "pathological disbelief".[39] They said that there was virtually no possibility for funding in cold fusion in the United States, and no possibility of getting published.[40] They said that people in universities refused to work on it because they would be ridiculed by their colleagues.[41] Pathological Skepticism is closedmindedness with deception: it is an irrational prejudice against new ideas which masquerades as proper Skepticism. ...


In February 2002, a laboratory within the United States Navy released a report[42][43] that came to the conclusion that the cold fusion phenomenon was in fact real and deserved an official funding source for research.[44] Navy researchers have now published more than 40 papers on cold fusion.[45]


2004 DOE panel

In 2004, the DOE organized another panel to take look at cold fusion developments since 1989 to determine if their policies towards cold fusion should be altered.[46]


It concluded: "While significant progress has been made in the sophistication of calorimeters since the review of this subject in 1989, the conclusions reached by the reviewers today are similar to those found in the 1989 review." "The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers in the 2004 review was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments that address specific scientific issues relevant to the question of whether or not there is anomalous energy production in Pd/D systems, or whether or not D-D fusion reactions occur at energies on the order of a few electron volts (eV). These proposals should meet accepted scientific standards and undergo the rigors of peer review. No reviewer recommended a focused federally funded program for low energy nuclear reactions." "The reviewers believed that this field would benefit from the peer-review processes associated with proposal submission to agencies and paper submission to archival journals."[47] An electronvolt (symbol: eV) is the amount of energy gained by a single unbound electron when it falls through an electrostatic potential difference of one volt. ...


Recent developments

The reports of excess heat and anomalous tritium production[α] have met by most scientists with skepticism,[48] although discussion in professional settings still continues. The American Chemical Society's (ACS) 2007 conference in Chicago held an "invited symposium" on cold fusion and low-energy nuclear reactions, and thirteen papers were presented at the "Cold Fusion" session of the 2006 American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting in Baltimore.[49][50] This article is about the psychological term. ...


In 2008, the government of India reviewed the field.[51] Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India said: "There is some science here that needs to be understood. We should set some people to investigate these experiments. There is much to be commended for the progress in the work. The neglect should come to an end".[52] On May 22, 2008, Arata and Zhang publicly demonstrated what they say is a cold fusion reactor at Osaka University.[53][54] The Atomic Energy Commission is a governing body functioning under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India. ...


Summary of evidence for cold fusion

Cold fusion experiments have been conducted with many types of apparatus. The main constituents are:

  • a metal, such as Palladium or Nickel, in bulk, thin films or powder;
  • heavy or light water, hydrogen or deuterium gas or plasma;
  • an excitation in the form of electricity or magnetism, of temperature or pressure cycle, of laser beam, or of acoustic waves.[55]

Cold fusion has remained controversial, but observations have been reported in experiments in electrolytic cells. Some experiments report excess heat, helium-4, low-level neutron production, X-ray emission, and transmutation of elements. A review of experiments with a solid palladium cathode and an electrolyte with deuterium or D2 gas loading of palladium powders showed that a third of the experiments reported excess heat.[7] No experiment has unequivocally produced a particle emission spectrum matching that predicted by observations in nuclear science and high-energy physics. There is still no satisfactory theory explaining condensed matter nuclear science but many explanations have been proposed, several of which do not require new physics. As of 2007, the scientific community did not acknowledge this field as a genuine scientific research theme.[8] For other uses, see Palladium (disambiguation). ... Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ...


Excess heat

The excess power observed in some experiments is reported to be beyond that attributable to ordinary chemical or solid state sources; proponents attribute this excess power to nuclear fusion reactions.[46]


The cold fusion researchers who presented their review document to the 2004 DOE panel said that "the hypothesis that the excess heat effect arises only as a consequence of errors in calorimetry was considered, studied, tested, and ultimately rejected".[56] They said that experiments conducted by SRI International showed excess power well above the accuracy of measurement.[57] The researchers also said that the amount of energy reported in some of the experiments appeared to be too great compared to the small mass of the material in the cell for it to be stored by any chemical process. They said that their control experiments using light water did not show excess heat.[58][8][7][59][60] SRI Internationals main campus on Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California SRI International is one of the worlds largest contract research institutions. ...


Nuclear products

A CR-39 detector showing possible nuclear activity in cold fusion experiments at SSC San Diego.
A CR-39 detector showing possible nuclear activity in cold fusion experiments at SSC San Diego.[61]

The cold fusion researchers who presented their review document to the 2004 DOE panel on cold fusion said that there are insufficient chemical reaction products to account for the excess heat by several orders of magnitude.[62] They said that independent studies have shown that the rate of helium production measured in the gas stream varies linearly with excess power. Bursts of excess energy were time-correlated with bursts of 4He in the gas stream. Extensive precautions were taken to ensure that the samples were not contaminated by helium from the earth's atmosphere (5.2 ppm). They say that numerous studies have reported that 4He was produced at levels above that of the concentration in air.[63] However, the amount of helium in the gas stream was about half of what would be expected for a heat source of the type D + D -> 4He. Searches for neutrons and other energetic emissions commensurate with excess heat have uniformly produced null results. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... A testing facility at SPAWAR San Diego Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego (SSC San Diego) is the U.S. Navys research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for command, control and communication systems and ocean surveillance. ... Air redirects here. ... Parts per million (ppm) is a measure of concentration that is used where low levels of concentration are significant. ... Properties In physics, the neutron is a subatomic particle with no net electric charge and a mass of 940 MeV/c² (1. ...


In 2007, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego reported their observation of pits in CR-39 detectors during D/Pd codeposition experiments in the European Physical Journal. They said that those pits have features consistent with those observed for nuclear-generated tracks, that the Pd cathode is the source of those pits, and that they are not due to contamination or chemical reactions. They attributed some pits to knock-ons due to neutrons, and said that other pits are consistent with those obtained for alpha particles. They said that the experiment is reproducible.[64] A testing facility at SPAWAR San Diego Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego (SSC San Diego) is the U.S. Navys research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for command, control and communication systems and ocean surveillance. ... CR-39, or allyl diglycol polycarbonate, is a plastic polymer commonly used in the manufacture of eyeglass lenses. ... The Zeitschrift für Physik (Journal of Physics) was a German academic journal published from 1920 until 1997. ... An alpha particle is deflected by a magnetic field Alpha radiation consists of helium-4 nuclei and is readily stopped by a sheet of paper. ...


Nuclear transmutations

In nuclear reactions, a chemical element may be transmuted into another. There are reports of nuclear transmutations and isotope anomalies in cold fusion experiments.[65] Cold fusion proponents say that it is generally accepted that these anomalies are not the ash associated with the primary excess heat effect.[62] The periodic table of the chemical elements A chemical element, or element, is a type of atom that is distinguished by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. ... Nuclear transmutation is the conversion of one chemical element or isotope into another, which occurs through nuclear reactions. ... For other uses, see Isotope (disambiguation). ...


Tadahiko Mizuno was among the first to contribute a paper[66] and a book on the subject.[67] Dr. Miley, who also developed a process for making small inertial electrostatic confinement devices to serve as portable fusion neutron sources,[68] wrote a review of these experiments.[69] Some report the creation of only a few elements, while others report a wide variety of elements from the periodic table. Calcium, copper, zinc, and iron were the most commonly reported elements.[70] Inertial electrostatic confinement (often abbreviated as IEC) is a concept for retaining a plasma using an electrostatic field. ... The Periodic Table redirects here. ...


Iwamura and associates published what they believe to be further evidence of transmutations in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics in 2002.[71] Instead of using electrolysis, they forced deuterium gas to permeate through a thin layer of caesium or strontium deposited on calcium oxide and palladium, while periodically analyzing the nature of the surface through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. They said that as the deuterium gas permeated over a period of a week, cesium appeared to be progressively transmuted into praseodymium while strontium appeared to be transmuted into molybdenum with anomalous isotopic composition representing an addition of four deuterium nuclei to the original nuclide. When the deuterium gas was replaced by hydrogen in control experiments, no transmutation was reported to be observed.[72] The experiment was replicated by researchers from Osaka University, using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry to analyze the nature of the surface.[73] Permeation, in physics, is the penetration of a substance (permeate) through a solid. ... General Name, Symbol, Number caesium, Cs, 55 Chemical series alkali metals Group, Period, Block 1, 6, s Appearance silvery gold Standard atomic weight 132. ... General Name, Symbol, Number strontium, Sr, 38 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 5, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight 87. ... Calcium oxide (CaO), commonly known as burnt lime, lime or quicklime, is a widely used chemical compound. ... Basic components of a monochromatic XPS system. ... General Name, Symbol, Number molybdenum, Mo, 42 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 6, 5, d Appearance gray metallic Standard atomic weight 95. ... ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) is a type of mass spectrometry that is highly sensitive and capable of the determination of a range of metals and several non-metals at concentrations below one part in 1012. ...


Criticism

The skepticism towards cold fusion results from four issues: the precision of calorimetry, the lack of consistently reproducible results, the absence of nuclear products in quantities consistent with the excess heat, and the lack of a mainstream theoretical mechanism.[74]


Precision of calorimetry

The efficacy of the stirring method in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment, and thus the validity of the temperature measurements has been disputed by Browne.[75] The experiment has also been criticized by Wilson.[76] Other experiments using open cells have been criticized by Shkedi[77] and Jones.[78] Other experiments using mass flow calorimetry have been criticized by Shanahan.[79]


Cold fusion researchers find these critique unconvincing, and not applicable to other experimental design.[80][81][82][83]


The 2004 DOE panel noted that significant progress has been made in the sophistication of calorimeters since 1989. Evaluations by the reviewers ranged from: 1) evidence for excess power is compelling, to 2) there is no convincing evidence that excess power is produced when integrated over the life of an experiment. The reviewers were split approximately evenly on this topic.[46]


Many of the reviewers noted that poor experiment design, documentation, background control and other similar issues hampered the understanding and interpretation of the results presented to the DOE panel. The reviewers who did not find the production of excess power convincing said that excess power in the short term is not the same as net energy production over the entire time of an experiment, that such short-term excess power is only a few percent of the total external power applied and hence calibration and systematic effects could account for the purported effect, that all possible chemical and solid state causes of excess heat had not been investigated and eliminated as an explanation, that the magnitude of the effect had not increased after over a decade of work.[46] calibration refers to the process of determining the relation between the output (or response) of a measuring instrument and the value of the input quantity or attribute, a measurement standard. ... The magnitude of a mathematical object is its size: a property by which it can be larger or smaller than other objects of the same kind; in technical terms, an ordering of the class of objects to which it belongs. ...


Lack of reproducibility of excess heat

The cold fusion researchers who presented their review document to the 2004 DOE panel on cold fusion said that the observation of excess heat has been reproduced, that it can be reproduced at will under the proper conditions, and that many of the reasons for failure to reproduce it have been discovered.[84] Contrary to these assertions, most reviewers stated that the effects are not repeatable, the magnitude of the effect has not increased in over a decade of work, and that many of the reported experiments were not well documented.[85]


In 1989, the DOE panel noted that "Even a single short but valid cold fusion period would be revolutionary. As a result, it is difficult convincingly to resolve all cold fusion claims since, for example, any good experiment that fails to find cold fusion can be discounted as merely not working for unknown reasons."[28]


Missing nuclear products

The fusion of two deuterium nuclei usually produces either a tritium nucleus and a proton, or a helium-3 (3He) nucleus and a neutron. The level of neutrons, tritium and 3He actually observed in the Fleischmann-Pons experiments have been well below the level expected in view of the heat generated, implying that these fusion reactions cannot explain it. If the excess heat were generated by the fusion of two deuterium nuclei into helium (4He), a reaction which is normally extremely rare, gamma rays and helium (alpha particles) would be expected. In 1989, insufficient levels of helium (alpha particles) and gamma rays were observed to explain the excess heat.[86] Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ... Tritium (symbol T or ³H) is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. ... For other uses, see Proton (disambiguation). ... Helium-3 is a non-radioactive and light isotope of helium. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ...


When asked about evidence of low energy nuclear reactions, twelve of the eighteen members of the 2004 DOE panel did not feel that there was any conclusive evidence, five found the evidence "somewhat convincing", and one was entirely convinced. The evidence of D+D fusion was taken as convincing or somewhat convincing by some reviewers; for others the lack of consistency was an indication that the overall hypothesis was not justified. Contamination of apparatus or samples by air containing 4He was cited as one possible cause for false positive results in some measurements.[87]


Lack of theoretical explanations

Temperatures and pressures similar to those in stars are required for conventional nuclear fusion. The 1989 DOE panel said that such "nuclear fusion at room temperature [...] would be contrary to all understanding gained of nuclear reactions in the last half century" and "it would require the invention of an entirely new nuclear process."[29] but it also recognized that "the failure of a theory to account for cold fusion can be discounted on the grounds that the correct explanation and theory has not been provided",[28] that is, the lack of a satisfactory explanation could not be used to dismiss experimental evidence. This article is about the astronomical object. ...


Cold fusion observations are contrary to the conventional physics of nuclear fusion in several ways :

  • The average density of deuterium atoms in the palladium rod seems vastly insufficient to force pairs of nuclei close enough for fusion to occur according to mechanisms known to mainstream theories. The average distance is approximately 0.17 nanometers, a distance at which the attractive strong nuclear force cannot overcome the Coulomb repulsion. Deuterium atoms are closer together in D2 gas molecules, which do not exhibit fusion.[88]
  • There is no known mechanism that would release fusion energy as heat instead of radiation within the relatively small metal lattice.[89] The direct conversion of fusion energy into heat is not possible because of energy and momentum conservation and the laws of special relativity.[90]
  • Transmutations introduce additional discrepancies between observations and conventional theory because of the increased Coulomb barrier.

Cold fusion researchers acknowledge these issues and have proposed various speculative theories (for a full review, see Storms 2007) to explain the reported observations, but none has received mainstream acceptance.[8] A nanometre (American spelling: nanometer) is 1. ... The strong nuclear force or strong interaction (also called color force or colour force) is a fundamental force of nature which affects only quarks and antiquarks, and is mediated by gluons in a similar fashion to how the electromagnetic force is mediated by photons. ... This box:      Coulombs torsion balance Coulombs law, developed in the 1780s by French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb, may be stated in scalar form as follows: The magnitude of the electrostatic force between two point electric charges is directly proportional to the product of the magnitudes of each... This article is about momentum in physics. ... For a generally accessible and less technical introduction to the topic, see Introduction to special relativity. ...


Notes

References

  1. ^ a b c Fleischmann & Pons 1989, p. 301.
  2. ^ a b Browne 1989, para. 1.
  3. ^ a b Browne 1989, para. 29.
  4. ^ Van Noorden 2007, para. 2.
  5. ^ Chubb et al. 2006.
  6. ^ Feder 2005,Hutchinson 2006,Kruglinksi 2006
  7. ^ a b c Hubler 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d Biberian 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d US DOE 1989, p. 7.
  10. ^ Kowalski 2004, II.A2.
  11. ^ Fleischmann 2003, p. 1.
  12. ^ a b Fleischmann 2003, p. 3.
  13. ^ Leggett 1989.
  14. ^ Lewenstein 1994 p. 21.
  15. ^ a b c d Crease & Samios 1989, p. V1.
  16. ^ a b Fleischmann et al. 1990, p. 293
  17. ^ a b c Lewenstein 1994, p. 8
  18. ^ Browne 1989, para. 13.
  19. ^ Tate 1989, p. 1.
  20. ^ Platt 1989.
  21. ^ New Energy Times.
  22. ^ a b Broad 1989.
  23. ^ Bowen 1989.
  24. ^ Browne 1989, para. 8.
  25. ^ a b Browne 1989
  26. ^ Gai et al. 1989, pp. 29-34.
  27. ^ Williams et a. 1989, pp. 375-384.
  28. ^ a b c US DOE 1989, p. 36
  29. ^ a b US DOE 1989, p. 37.
  30. ^ Oriani et al. 1990, pp. 652-662, cited by Krivit 2005..
  31. ^ Mallove 1999.
  32. ^ Schwinger 1991.
  33. ^ Wilson 1992, p. 1, cited by Krivit 2005.
  34. ^ Beaudette 2002, pp. 188, 357-360.
  35. ^ Voss 1999.
  36. ^ Mallove 1991, p. 246-248.
  37. ^ Pollack 1997, p. C4.
  38. ^ Goodstein 1994.
  39. ^ Josephson 2004.
  40. ^ Feder 2004, p. 27.
  41. ^ Rusbringer 2005
  42. ^ Szpak & Mosier-Boss 2002a
  43. ^ Szpak & Mosier-Boss 2002b
  44. ^ Szpak & Mosier-Boss 2002a, p. iv-v
  45. ^ Szpak & Mosier-Boss 2002a, p. 113
  46. ^ a b c d US DOE 2004, p. 3.
  47. ^ US DOE 2004, p. 5.
  48. ^ Feder 2005
  49. ^ Van Noorden 2007, para. 2.
  50. ^ Chubb et al. 2006.
  51. ^ Jayaraman 2008
  52. ^ Srinivasan 2008
  53. ^ Cartwright 2008
  54. ^ Cartwright 2008b
  55. ^ Storms 2007, p. 144-150
  56. ^ Hagelstein et al. 2004, p. 1.
  57. ^ Hagelstein et al. 2004, p. 22.
  58. ^ Storms 2007.
  59. ^ Krivit 2008, p. 854-857.
  60. ^ Srinivasan 2008
  61. ^ Mosier-Boss, Szpak & Gordon 2007, slide 7
    reported in Krivit 2007, p. 2.
  62. ^ a b Hagelstein et al. 2004, p. 7.
  63. ^ Hagelstein et al. 2004, p. 10.
  64. ^ Mosier-Boss et al. 2007.
  65. ^ Storms 2007, p. 93-95.
  66. ^ Mizuno 1996
  67. ^ Mizuno 1998, cited by Britz 2008
  68. ^ Prow 2001.
  69. ^ Miley & Shrestha 2003
  70. ^ Miley & Shrestha 2003.
  71. ^ Iwamura, Sakano & Itoh 2002, pp. 4642-4650.
  72. ^ Iwamura, Sakano & Itoh 2002, p. 4648-4649.
  73. ^ Higashiyama et al. 2003, p. 1.
  74. ^ US DOE 1989, pp. 6-8.
  75. ^ Browne 1989, para. 16.
  76. ^ Wilson 1992
  77. ^ Shkedi et al. 1995.
  78. ^ Jones et al. 1995, p. 1.
  79. ^ Shanahan 2002.
  80. ^ Fleischmann 1992
  81. ^ Will 1997, p. 177.
  82. ^ Storms 2007, p. 195.
  83. ^ Storms 2006.
  84. ^ Hagelstein et al. 2004, p. 14.
  85. ^ US DOE 2004, p. 3.
  86. ^ US DOE 1989, pp. 5-6.
  87. ^ US DOE 2004, p. 3-4.
  88. ^ US DOE 1989, pp. 6-7.
  89. ^ Goodstein 1994, p. 528.
  90. ^ Kee 1999, p. 5.

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A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Frank Close OBE is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. ... Martin Fleischmann (1927-) is a chemist at the University of Southampton who, while working with Stanley Pons of University of Utah, announced the discovery of cold fusion on March 23, 1989. ... Professor Peter L. Hagelstein is a principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Taken at an ICCF sometime in the mid-nineties. ... is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Robert L. Park is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. ... Julian Seymour Schwinger (February 12, 1918 -- July 16, 1994) was an American theoretical physicist. ... Gary Taubes is a science writer. ...

Further reading

  • Recent papers on cold fusion listed on New Energy Times
  • New Energy Times book index Extensive index of books on cold fusion
  • Britz's cold nuclear fusion bibliography: An extensive overview and review of almost all available publications on the subject of cold nuclear fusion.
  • A student's guide to Cold Fusion: a technical introduction to the field by Edmund Storms.
  • Low energy transmutation reactions in deuterium loaded thin film metal hydrides ISIS Report.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Whatever happened to cold fusion? - physicsworld.com (2182 words)
Work on cold fusion continued in several countries, notably Japan, and this was often cited by cold-fusion believers as evidence that that US would be left in the dust when the new world energy order finally dawned.
Cold fusion lives on in other ways too: there is a software product called Cold Fusion for hooking databases to Web sites, a rock band with that name in the US, and a sports equipment company that makes snowboards.
Because cold fusion is the phenomenon that dare not speak its name, CETI is careful to distance itself from the original Pons and Fleischmann work.
Cold fusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6971 words)
Cold fusion researchers say that it could have a substantial economic impact, and help resolve global issues such as global warming or the risk of energy crisis.
Cold fusion researchers have proposed several theoretical hypotheses to explain the effect (see low energy nuclear reaction), while there are partial theories, no complete theory has been found that explains all the experimental results.
Cold fusion researchers claim that cold fusion is suppressed, and that skeptics suffer from pathological disbelief.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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