Cold Fusion Now! podcast with ISCMNS Chief Exec William Collis

March, 2018 — The Cold Fusion Now! podcast presents William Collis, the Chief Executive of the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, the association that serves cold fusion/LENR scientific researchers globally.

William has a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and is an expert in atomic weights. After a career in embedded software, his passion for nuclear physics led him to investigate the theoretical aspects of the LENR reaction.

He is part of the original group that founded the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science in 2003 to organize the global group of researchers with conferences, a journal, and scientific paper archive

William Collis talks with Ruby about the plans for the Society, and where experimental LENR research should target to bring a theoretical model into focus.

Listen to episode 006 at our website or subscribe in iTunes.

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Hagelstein and Tanzella’s Vibrating Copper Experiment

Read original article by Marianne Macy on

Hagelstein and Tanzella’s Vibrating Copper Experiment
by Marianne Macy

MIT’s Prof. Peter Hagelstein, longtime contributor of cold fusion experimental and theoretical work, knows a thing or two about X-rays. In the 1980s he was a 24-year old-prodigy when he worked for hydrogen bomb creator Edward Teller at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in what became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative— Star Wars. Hagelstein had discovered a way to make a nuclear X-ray laser that would become the basis for the program, calculating that the electrons of a metallic atom, pumped repeatedly from an exploding bomb, could produce scores of X-ray photons. His work postulated that metals with a higher atomic number on the periodic table such as gold, mercury, platinum and bismuth would have shorter wavelengths and make for a more energetic laser. After successful early tests, Hagelstein became one of the chief scientists of a program that essentially was based on his idea. He was the recipient of the E.O. Lawrence Award for National Defense from the Department of Energy in 1984, and at the time was the youngest recipient of that honor.

Dr. Alexander Karabut, who passed away on March 15 and whose background is detailed in a memorial obituary, spent years studying and working on X-ray effects. David Nagel, a physicist and former Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Division head who himself has a patent on a system for studying the effects of soft X-rays for lithography, considered the work by Karabut and his colleagues at LUCH to be very important. “The center of gravity of Karabut’s work is transmutation and radiation measurements. Karabut’s X-ray measurements got attention in the U.S. because of the interest of people like myself and Peter Hagelstein, who have a background of experience in X-rays.”

Nagel credits Karabut with making a tremendous contribution to this area of research. “I found 20 papers on ISCMNS and on [search Karabut] there are 33 papers by him covering this area. He produced a large body of information.”

Alexander Karabut’s glow discharge experiments are considered some of the most significant in the field. In 2007 he was awarded the Preparata Medal for this work. One of his longtime LUCH colleagues, Irina Savvatimova, said at his memorial that she and Karabut had published their first paper on cold fusion shortly after Fleischmann and Pons (F&P) had. She said they had observed the effect of excess heat long before F&P but had not paid attention as they’d been more focused on transmutation.

Karabut’s work in X-ray effects is significant on many fronts, including the “fastest recorded evidence from LENR experiments of any kind,” as David Nagel put it. Recent work confirms that Karabut did indeed produce soft X-rays, which is a very big deal. It’s important in terms of understanding nuclear mechanisms and making related technology work. It’s a great scientific breakthrough with significant potential for industrialization.

An update on the results of a collaborative research effort between MIT’s Prof. Peter Hagelstein and SRI International’s Dr. Fran Tanzella will be presented at ICCF19 in Padua, Italy. The experiment studies the possible up-conversion of vibrational energy in order to understand Karabut’s X-ray effects, not with glow discharge but with a vibrating copper foil. One of the most striking things about the results is that the very different thinking, backgrounds and disciplines of the participants—an unusual amalgam of disciplines—when put together have resulted in a new kind of experiment.

Tanzella explains that for starters, he and Hagelstein were looking at the problem through a different lens. “Physics and chemistry have a difference of nomenclature,” Tanzella says. “Physicists think of all low energy radiation as X-ray’s regardless of its source. To a chemist, a photon ejected from an atom with low energy is an ‘electronic X-ray,’ while a low energy particle ejected from the nucleus is a ‘nuclear X–ray’ and they are considered different phenomena. Classically excess angular momentum from a nuclear reaction expresses itself as a photon (i.e. a gamma ray). Peter’s hypothesis, the last step of which is present in some LENR theories, is that when a nuclear reaction occurs inside a lattice the excess angular momentum interacts with that lattice’s vibrations. Therefore instead of yielding photons (gammas) it leads to a vibrating lattice, which thermalizes resulting in heat with no ionizing radiation. So Peter thought of vibrations exciting nuclei to get low energy gammas, and calling them X-rays. (We don’t argue over the different nomenclature anymore). Peter’s lossy spin boson model theory deals with massive up-conversion and down-conversion. In high temperature fusion, deuterons normally fuse to make n+3He and p+t, but with low probability can make 4He plus a gamma. So in Peter’s theory for LENR to occur, that nuclear energy needs to be down-converted to phonons. If you vibrate a lattice you get heat but not ionizing radiation. The way I view our experiment is we are looking at the final step in the LENR process backwards: we’re exciting phonons mechanically, and which interact with nuclei to give off low energy gammas as X-rays. In Peter’s model the energy goes from the nuclei to the vibrations for excess heat production, where here the idea is to go the other way and start with the vibrations to produce nuclear excitation. In the models the two processes are just two sides of the same coin.”

Despite, or perhaps because of their different perspectives, they came up with an experiment both were happy with, after some rounds of refinement.

The person whose work they were springing off from, Alexander Karabut, was coming from yet another world entirely. Hagelstein, who had traveled to Russia in the 1990s to see Karabut’s work in the early stages, explains that “Karabut is an experimentalist, not a theorist or someone involved in quantum mechanics. He lived in a last century world. His world is one of power supplies, discharges, working with others on hardware to do some diagnostics on it, and generating lots of data that didn’t make any sense but that he tried to understand.”

Hagelstein mused that he tried repeatedly to tell Alexander Karabut how influential the Russian’s work had been on his thinking and the very direction of Hagelstein’s work. Karabut had asked Hagelstein to collaborate with him on a book, a book that Hagelstein would still like to complete if Karabut was able to make enough progress to leave a manuscript. Hagelstein hopes his appreciation of Karabut had came through to him. This was not just a matter of their method of communication with each other. Neither spoke the other’s language so they were using Google Translate on emails, with linguistic idiosyncrasies indubiously causing major pieces of communication to fall between the cracks. Both men were very busy, Hagelstein reporting that his last term’s work at MIT was “the worst I’ve had in twenty years” and Karabut was working in a new space in Moscow he had put together. Hagelstein also attributed any glitches to their very different life views.

“I think the ideas I’m pursuing are not the most obvious ideas. To think what I am suggesting is plausible requires suspension of disbelief, or someone understanding how coherent processes in quantum mechanics works,” Hagelstein says. “I am going to imagine from his point of view that he would think I’ve lost my mind—which would be a natural reaction of an experimentalist interacting with a theorist like me!” Hagelstein laughs. “He wouldn’t appreciate the amount of ongoing effort to untangle what he did. But Karabut’s work has provided the foundation of pretty much most of the major issues I’ve been working on since 2011. I’ve come to view his experiment as seminal. If you say the Fleischmann-Pons experiment is Number 1 in all this business, I’m of the opinion that his collimated X-rays, if it is not Number 2 then it is in the top five.”

Hagelstein and Tanzella set out to reproduce the Karabut effect. . .not with a glow discharge, as Karabut did, but with vibrating foils and resonators. Would it be possible to produce soft X-rays that were collimated? The distinction being that “soft” here means X-rays in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In the X-ray region, the radiation ranges from hard and energetic which will penetrate surfaces (like your broken arm) all the way down to a region—soft—that will not penetrate much material. It has to do with wavelength. The collimated part is more like a laser than a light bulb. If an electric bulb scatters light in all directions, a collimated beam is in a narrow format like a laser. Ordinary X-rays are usually born going in all directions but Karabut found the X-rays from his source were more like a laser, directional.

Hagelstein takes this as extremely significant. If the X-rays are directional, then there has to be a pretty fundamental reason for it. Phase coherence among the emitters could result in collimation, but then how could this phase coherence come about? Hagelstein’s conclusion was that the most likely way it could happen would be through up-conversion of vibrational energy to produce phase coherent nuclear excitation. If so, this would bring Karabut’s experiment into alignment with mechanisms Hagelstein thinks are involved in producing excess heat in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment.

So Hagelstein and Tanzella set out to reproduce the collimated X-ray effect that Alexander Karabut first saw back in 2002. Hagelstein says, “Even before 2002 there were precursors to the effect. Karabut saw X-ray beamlets at higher energy. Karabut was convinced he had made an X-ray laser back in those days.”

Peter Hagelstein visited Russia’s LUCH Institute in 1995. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, physicist Yan Kucherov was the head of a group at LUCH that included Alexander Karabut and Irina Savvatimova. Kucherov had already emigrated to the United States but stayed in touch with his colleagues. David Nagel, then at NRL, said he wished for a more comprehensive understanding of what LUCH was like. He believed the institute functions like the United States’ Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. “You can see they did lab work on materials and systems that have to do with nuclear power and propulsion,” Nagel says.

Hagelstein relates that at MIT they tried to replicate the Karabut, Kucherov and colleague’s experiments. A version of their experiment was constructed and shipped to MIT, where Lou Smullin and Peter Hagelstein worked on it for four years altogether. During this effort, travel was arranged for Hagelstein to go to Moscow to visit the LUCH Institute. “I got to see Karabut there. I witnessed the discharge,” he says. “I asked him a lot of questions. We worked to understand the large voltage spikes in their system better, and for me to get better acquainted with the experiment.”

Hagelstein notes, “In those days we focused on the claim of gamma emission. Kucherov and colleagues had claimed to see gamma emission around 129 keV. The goal of the experiment was to set things out, put a gamma detector on it and see if we could see the same thing. After a very long time and a huge amount of work we saw exactly what they saw. The headache was that the gammas at 129 keV were statistical noise.”

One researcher Hagelstein knew had experimented with glow discharges and tried to do an experiment related to Karabut’s collimated X-rays. “That researcher, someone with an awful lot of experience with glow discharge experiments, failed,” says Hagelstein. “I scratched my head thinking, why? And then I thought, well, obviously Karabut had these sharp voltage spikes, sub-nanoseconds 50 kV or higher in sub-nanoseconds. When I say 50 kV or higher, he was claiming up to a megavolt. That was one of the reasons why I went to Russia, to see these voltage spikes with my own eyes.”

In Moscow, Hagelstein found the ingenious nuts and bolts experimenter at work. “Karabut set up this insane resistance ladder voltage divider. He had like 100 resistors stacked up! So he was able to get a sufficiently low voltage across one of the resistors and so he could measure it without frying the electronics. He claimed his measurements were consistent with getting well over 100 kV out of his voltage spikes. They were shorter than he was able to measure with the scope. He was of the opinion they were sub-nanosecond. We looked for them in our system, which was supposed to be a copy of his. The discharge hardware was an exact copy of Karabut’s system.”

“Although,” Hagelstein continues, “what we had at MIT was a twin to their system. . . except for the electronics. We built our own electronics, different from Karabut’s electronics. We saw voltage spikes but 10, 15, 20 kV also shorter than we could measure, they were under a nanosecond but not of the amplitude that the Russians were getting. I am of the opinion that these voltage spikes are connected with the collimated X-ray emission and electron emission effects. The voltage spikes would only be present if you do something interesting in your drive electronics—for example, he had inductors. When I went to Moscow he said at the time he was using an inductive ballast…but I think to understand his experiments you have to understand the electronics and that is going to play a key role in the effort of sorting out what it is he did.”

So it was that Peter Hagelstein, upon learning of Karabut’s death, sent word to his Russian colleagues that it could be important for Karabut’s electronics to be preserved. “I am of the opinion that the key to Karabut’s experiment glow discharge experiments was in his electronics. He had a report where he documented some aspect of his electronics for a system that was similar to his glow discharge which had some inductors on the other side of power transistors, which is an unusual thing to do. His glow discharge showed very short, high amplitude voltage spikes, which is very unusual for glow discharge. In my view it would be connected to his electronics. If his electronics or notes exist it would be a tremendous loss for them to be to discarded so we don’t figure out his electronics.”

Hagelstein notes, “One thing I had hoped to do in connection with writing the book, was that I was going to twist his arm to write out a circuit describing his driving electronics so it would be there in black and white for the world. I think someone technical who knows about circuits should make an effort to look through his notes and electronics to make a diagram of his driving circuit. If that is done then it would be possible to pursue his life research. If it gets lost then no one will ever be able to go back to what he was doing.”

Hagelstein offered that he would host the experiment at MIT in the future when he could raise the resources and manpower to do it. “It would be nice if his experiment were preserved because it’s such an important and fundamental experiment, but what’s important would be if someone could recover the circuit diagram in as much detail as physically possible; that’s what would make a giant difference to me. There are two separate issues. One is the circuit diagram, the other is the preservation of the experiment. That should be talked about, to make a home for it, possibly in this country—at the University of Missouri Kimmel Institute or LENR research director Rob Duncan’s center at Texas Tech. Our place in MIT is a possibility. In Russia, one question is if Roussetski and company could take it over. In France, researcher Jean Paul Biberian might be a candidate.”

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND KARABUT: THE SRI/MIT Experiment by Hagelstein and Tanzella (The “Hellish Beast”)
Tanzella and Hagelstein agreed on the importance of Karabut’s X-ray effects and the great scientific and practical industrial potential. “We all agreed it was not an X-ray laser,” Tanzella states. “An X-ray laser needed a population inversion, which was thought impossible under the conditions of the experiment.”

At SRI, Hagelstein and Tanzella were faced with the need to make an experiment that was inspired by Karabut’s experiment but would be executed in a way that was completely different. They recognized that Karabut’s glow discharge was sufficiently complex that it was unlikely they would be able to build something to replicate what he had done because they would need his circuits. “In my view, his glow discharge is a hellish beast,” Hagelstein says. “Karabut and the LUCH Institute had a lifetime of experience with glow discharges before he built and worked on it. There was no way I wanted to get into a program where we’d have to basically become experts like Karabut. The idea was that if Karabut’s ideas worked it would work in a certain way. I have models and the models say that the only way Karabut’s model would really work would be if one of these voltage spikes on the cathode produced vibrations. The only way it would work would be, if there was mercury on the surface would we get the X rays.” Hagelstein had noted earlier that 201Hg is special among nuclear because it has the lowest energy transition (at 1565 eV) from the ground state of the stable isotopes.

Hagelstein suggested that instead of building Karabut’s glow discharge system, which looked like a real beast of a problem, they should attack the interpretation and build something simpler that would just vibrates some cathodes. It would be easier to explain to colleagues later on.

Tanzella suggested making them out of copper because mercury sticks to copper very well. Hagelstein explains, “If we got it to work we could put mercury on the surface and just watch for X-rays. That’s what we did. We got charge emission signals. We also got X-ray signals, which we initially thought were Karabut’s X-rays. When we went back to try to understand the data, it was clear. . .We had been fooled. Karabut didn’t get fooled because his diagnostics were very good and redundant, and he had taken the time to study the effect for many years. He had four different ways to test for his X-rays. But we were only using one X-ray detector. I am of the opinion our X-ray detector got fooled because of the large amount of noise present in the system. If real X-rays had been there we couldn’t tell the difference between it and the noise. We would like to follow up and try again either at SRI or MIT. At MIT we haven’t gotten that far yet but we are definitely interested in the X-rays.”

In that Hagelstein has been following the Karabut effect since the 1990s, his appreciation for SRI and Fran Tanzella is great. “Let me honor my friend Fran just a bit here,” he says. “When I approached Fran and SRI and said I’d like to set up a controlled Karabut experiment it was such a contrast to what would happen if I’d tried to do it here at MIT, where if I said, ‘I want to vibrate copper and see if X-rays come out,’ the door would immediately slam shut! But at SRI they said, ‘let’s just go do it and set it up!’”

“We talked about what we needed to do,” Tanzella says. “We need to excite a thin piece of metal. I got copper foils and cleaned them up. We made a simple apparatus. You can find details of this in our recent paper with figures and pictures. We put things together with steel washers. We spent months trying to make it work. The project proceeded in three phases. Peter wanted to find resonance by performing AC impedance experiments. We started that path but found that the noise was large and the signals too small to see in the presence of so much noise.”

Tanzella explains, “We then decided to make a solid cell that would hold the foil tightly, and resonate with the foil. We did that and got a large driver, which was a copper block, large so the acoustic energy wouldn’t go there. We brought in a collector plate in the back side of the resonator foil. You have a driver close to the foil so that it can drive it, and waves from the foil couple to the resonator. You have a collector plate to be able to measure electrons or any current. We were hoping they were electrons. The signals corresponded to negative charges, so we assumed they were electrons or negatively charged air molecules. We had an oscillator and linear amplifier so I could drive oscillations with high voltage and MHz frequencies. There were resonances in the signals. Peter thinks that the X-ray emission in the Karabut experiment is due to the 1565 eV transition in a mercury isotope, 201Hg. He recalled during his visit that they had at one time been using an old mercury-based diffusion pump. The amount of mercury needed on the surface to produce the emission was very small, and probably consistent with normal levels of ubiquitous mercury contamination. So we wanted to get copper vibrating so it could excite the mercury on the surface. Copper amalgamates with mercury so my colleague, Jianer Bao, deposited a thin layer of mercury on our copper foil. And we looked to see X-rays when we excited this coated foil. We saw charge emission signals that seemed to be correlated with the vibrational resonances. (If we let the foil sit for some time the mercury diffuses into the copper—it amalgamates—and the signals on the X-ray detector diminish, which we had attributed to the mercury atoms no longer being on the surface.)”

Tanzella notes, “Peter pulled out his credit card and bought a $7500 X-ray spectrometer. It fit in our resonator. We performed the excitation experiments with and without mercury. We saw something (a stronger signal in the X-ray detector) with mercury present. Because these results were potentially so important, the issue as to whether the signals were real or not came to be an issue. Peter decided to go through every scrap of data that had been taken, and we had to re-run all of the X-ray calibrations since there seemed to be some uncertainty in the calibration that had been used. Peter ended up not being convinced that the signals on the X-ray detector were not real because they didn’t seem to be absorbed by the Be window at the front of the detector. The X-ray detector was responding to something, but not to X-rays.”

Tanzella continues, “We needed to make a decision about presenting the charge emission results at ICCF19, since a charge emission effect correlated with acoustic vibrations would be big news and important to the community. At MIT some experiments had been started, and large amounts of RF noise was found in all of the detectors. So Peter wanted to see the charge emission experiment pass a ‘gold standard’ test to be sure that the charge was real, and not electrical noise. The idea was that RF noise might confuse some electronics, but Peter felt that a simple capacitor couldn’t be fooled. If the current was real, then it would charge a capacitor, and we would have much more confidence in the current measurements.”

So, Tanzella set up the “gold standard” capacitor measurement and took data. He found that the capacitor charged up when the driver was on, at a rate consistent with the earlier measurements. Also, the rate of charging was low off of resonance, and high on resonance, backing up the earlier electrometer measurements. With a successful “gold standard” test in hand, the abstract was e-mailed off.

Continued discussions about the severe noise problems in the experiments at MIT prompted Tanzella to repeat the “gold standard” capacitor test. This time, there would be no real-time monitoring of the capacitor. It would remain unconnected from the rest of the world (other than the collector and ground), and sampled only when the big high frequency and high voltage drive was off. This time no voltage could be seen on the big microfarad capacitor. The measurement was repeated with a small picofarad capacitor, and a signal could be seen. This signal was seen to grow roughly linearly with more running and subsequent interruption type measurements.

Hagelstein notes, “A conclusion from this test is that all of the earlier charge emission measurements were called into question as most likely being due to noise. Critics of the field have speculated that all positive measurements of excess heat and other anomalies are nothing but artifacts, so doing more tests to be sure of a result is always important.” Hagelstein has observed that if the charge in this new test were real, it would be very important. He says, “Unfortunately, we don’t know very much about this new version of the experiment, whether the result is an artifact or not, or whether the charge has anything to do with the vibrations.”

So, the question could be asked, after going through all of this, how do the results connect with Karabut’s experiment, based on all that has been learned?

Tanzella says, “I view the importance here is that you can excite phonons and show nuclear excitation as a way to prove LENR nuclear excitation relates to phonons to get heat without gammas.” Tanzella said that if successful, this research “could validate the concept that you can have nuclear reactions without ionizing radiation.”

Hagelstein has observed philosophically that knowing what doesn’t work is important, because it allows you to focus on things that have a better chance of working. However, he says that the results so far have been extremely valuable to him in his interpretation of the Karabut experiment, and of the models he has been working on. He explains that one of the big headaches in the theory end of things has been to find a regime in the models that might allow for an X-ray emission effect that involves a small sample. For years the numbers just wouldn’t work, even after repeated tries. Last year he found an obscure regime of the model where it was possible to have the numbers work, but this corresponded to a very strong coupling regime of the model only available if coupling to transitions with negative energy states of the nucleus were responsible for the fractionation. Not a regime that he was happy with, and one that would not go over well with colleagues. But a regime that the model would be forced into if one concluded that a small foil had the power to up-convert lots of small quanta to make 1.5 keV X-rays.

According to Hagelstein, they “did drive small samples pretty hard, and when driven hard they didn’t seem to do very much (although with so much noise present it has been hard to be sure).” Tentatively the conclusion he is coming to is that a revision in his interpretation of the Karabut experiment is needed. In experiments by Kornilova and Vysotskii and coworkers, a 3 mm thick steel plate near a high pressure water jet has been seen to produce X-ray signals on film under conditions where the X-rays are collimated. Peter thinks that this effect is closely related to Karabut’s collimated X-rays. He says, “Steel is interesting in that it contains 57Fe, and there is a nuclear transition at 14.4 keV in 57Fe that is like the 1565 eV transition in 201Hg. The cathode holder in the version of the glow discharge experiment that we worked with at MIT had a very heavy steel holder that could be interpreted as an acoustic resonator. Strong acoustic excitation of this resonator, resulting from the very short and very high voltage spikes that occur in Karabut’s discharge, might be responsible for the up-conversion of the vibrational energy. If so, the model would probably be much happier with it in the normal regime of the model. And if so, we could test it, by working with a big steel resonator instead of a copper resonator.”

So, a work in progress. Hagelstein and Tanzella are advancing their ideas about Karabut’s collimated X-rays by investigating a physics experiment which they think is closely related.

Peter Hagelstein and his collaborator Irfan Chaudhary produced a paper last year that focused on generic issues of the Karabut experiment and Hagelstein’s model. This paper discusses the model in the different regimes, trying heroically to connect the model to experiment under the assumption that the small cathode is up-converting the vibrational quanta. Hagelstein notes, “The ultimate conclusion is that a connection is made only if the system operates in an anomalous regime, which is interesting but not appealing. These days I am moving to a different interpretation that says the large steel cathode holder plays a major roll. The thought is that the model will be much happier connecting with experiment in the normal regime. This will make life much simpler, as the normal regime is much better understood, much easier to analyze, and behaves qualitatively much more like the experiments. One possibility is that the Fe-57 transition and the few other long-lived low energy nuclear transitions might be important for up-conversion in the eV-keV range, while more common long-lived transitions at higher energy are important for the down-conversion in the MeV regime.” In all of this the Karabut experiments, Hagelstein claims, “Have been key in my thinking and that of some of my associates as well.”

What is the potential of a working technology coming out of the Karabut-inspired experiments Hagelstein and Tanzella are doing?

“Let me back up a bit,” Hagelstein responds. “Some years ago, when Karabut first found this he wondered how efficient it could be. So he tinkered with it, trying to make it as efficient as possible. He had conversion efficiency of 20% from input electrical energy to output collimated X-rays. That is wild. It is amazing. Some of my colleagues have explained to me that this would be a candidate for commercialization. I don’t think you’d like to do it with glow discharge. Nothing wrong with it. If you debug it that would be useful. But I was thinking if we could get surfaces to be vibrated and give out collimated X-rays if this happened efficiently that would be a ridiculously useful technology. One of my friends who is involved with X-ray lithography said that would be the cat’s meow for a source for lithography for the semiconductor industry. Whether or not it turns out to be true, it conveys how important X-ray sources are in this day and age.”

—Marianne Macy and Infinite Energy will continue with this reporting, with interviews from Alexander Karabut’s colleagues from LUCH detailing the history and future of related work there.

Read original article here.

Crack hypothesis gets community response

Today’s successes in cold fusion energy generators have been hard-won by trial and error, with each system developed by a select criteria amassed over years of painstaking success and failure.

Ironically, the many labs with commercial prototypes each follow a different mental model of how their system works, a problem for developing a technology, as the criteria to enable the anomalous effects of excess heat and transmutations are not universal over all cells.

Prototypes appear to suffer from either one of two extremes: i) there is control of the reaction, but not high-enough power output, or ii) there is plenty of thermal output, but engineering control and/or stability are at issue. No definitive theory describing how to make cold fusion happen on-demand with maximal efficiency exists, for any type of system.

When an accurate model of the reaction is finally articulated, it will spell-out exactly how to build energy-dense, ultra-clean batteries charged for life.

While there are many researchers in condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS) modeling the reaction, few can agree on what the features of a theory should be, and the lack of consensus is keeping a revolutionary new-energy technology from a world in need of a solution.

The names given to cold fusion over the years reflect various streams of focus:

  • low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) differentiates the phenomenon from hot fusion and is the most commonly used term today.
  • lattice-assisted nuclear reactions (LANR) focuses on the crystal-lattice structure as enabling excess heat.
  • quantum fusion attempts to describe the reaction using 20th-century physics.
  • nickel-hydrogen exothermic reactions describe the elements involved in generators being developed for commercial use.
  • anomalous heat effect (AHE) labels a reaction without any reference to cause.

Finding the recipe

“This is the most ideal energy you could possibly imagine,” says Dr. Edmund Storms, a former-Los Alamos National Lab nuclear chemist and long-time researcher in cold fusion.

Describing the conditions needed to make the reaction happen is essential to producing a usable technology. To move forward, “what are the basic theoretical criteria that we can collectively agree upon?”

iecover108Issue #108 of Infinite Energy magazine attempts to answer that question by gathering leading researchers and moderating a discussion on the properties a theory should have.

Edmund StormsCold Fusion from a Chemist’s Point of View begins the process by asking the community to justify where the location of the reaction is.

David J. Nagel, Xing Zhong Li, Jones Beene, Vladimir Vysotskii, Jean-Paul Biberian, Andrew Meulenberg, and Ed Pell all responded to the call, each writing their thoughts with various focus.

But for all that brain power, and a seemingly simple question – where does the reaction occur? – there is little agreement on the answer.

The NAE is something special

Storms notes that nuclear reactions don’t generally spontaneously erupt in ordinary materials. He asks, what changes occur in the chemical environment of a regular piece of metal to make a reaction happen? He describes those special conditions as the Nuclear Active Environment (NAE).

An array of atom constitutes a solid.
An array of atom constitutes a solid.

Many theories today apply to only one system, either Pd-D or Ni-H, and put the reaction within the metallic lattice. Mathematics is utilized to explore how enough energy might accumulate at one spot to overcome the Coulomb barrier, or initiate electron-capture.

Storms asks these theories to explicitly state how it is that enough energy can spontaneously accumulate locally in the lattice without first affecting the chemical bonds that hold the atoms together, or, violating the laws of thermodynamics? Justifying all theoretical assumptions is essential to weeding out dead-end ideas and accelerating those that appear more promising.

Whereas Storms sees physicists by-and-large concentrating on the cause of the reaction, asking ‘what possibilities exist that could start a nuclear reaction inside a metal?’, he differentiates his chemist’s approach to modeling by remaining tethered to the known chemical properties of solids, and how materials are witnessed to behave in the lab.

“Any theory of cold fusion must begin and end with the experimental results,” says Storms. “A theory that does not explain what we see and measure in the lab must be abandoned.”

Where does the reaction occur?

In palladium-deuterium systems, which have been most studied, and for which there is the most publicly available data, measurements of nuclear products helium, tritium, and transmutation products point to origins within a few microns of the metal’s surface.

Ni surface on which Cu was deposited
Ni surface on which Cu was deposited
Following a chain of reasoning commanded by the experimental data, Storms hypothesizes that the NAE are cracks that form on the surface of bulk metals due to stress. Expanding the idea of cracks to apply to all types of systems, he includes the tiny nano-spaces that exist within metallic powders and biological organisms.

Nano-sized cracks and spaces satisfy the criteria that puts the reaction near the surface in metal-hydrides and they can be found in all types of systems. In addition, a nano-space provides a special environment separate from the rest of the solid, relieving the burden that the chemical environment imposes, allowing the space to respond differently from the lattice, subject to appropriate stimuli.

Still, questions remain. For instance, David J. Nagel asked how could these cracks be formed so perfectly as to be just the right-size for a string of hydrons to form? And where is the mathematics to quantitatively model this hypothesis?

The nuclear mechanism

Getting these questions out in the open and discussed is the point of IE’s exercise and Storms plans to respond in the next issue, but he has made clear he does not find it fruitful to provide a mathematical argument before first describing the location of the NAE.

“If you don’t know what the initial conditions are to make the reaction happen, how can you describe what is actually happening quantitatively?”

Storms believes if theorists first focus on finding the location of the reaction, and can describe the initial conditions that make the reaction happen, then a theory of the nuclear mechanism will begin to take shape.

Supposing Storms’ idea of the NAE is confirmed, he does speculate qualitatively on the nuclear mechanism by first having the tiny cracks and spaces become filled with hydrogen to form hydrotons.

Subject to some stimulus, the hydrotons in the crack resonate, beginning a process whereby mass is slowly turned to energy according to Einstein’s E=mc2 without the dangerous radiation associated with hot fusion. This nuclear mechanism would be a new type of reaction not yet understood in the context of conventional theory.

Testing theory

Only experimental results will confirm or deny any proposed theory. However, the lack of coordinated research programs amongst the community, exacerbated by an absence of funding and patent-protection, is a huge problem.

Peter H. Hagelstein has attempted to model cold fusion since 1989, chewing through multiple versions of ideas, and abandoning them when they are no longer feasible. For all his work, he has endured two-and-a-half decades of isolation from mainstream science.

In IE#108, he opens the series on theory with a guest editorial On Theory and Science Generally in Connection with the Fleischmann-Pons Experiment [.pdf], available free compliments of Infinite Energy and

If his closing statement to The Believers movie was a devastating admission of defeat by SNAFU, this new essay shows a wit that won’t back down despite the massive challenges. With unblunted satire, Hagelstein deconstructs the scientific method, updating the hallowed steps-to-discovery for 21rst century conditions.

While the scientific method might lead to unambiguous data, its effectiveness is lost in an atmosphere of hostility.

Storms’ hypothesis on the NAE leads to twelve new predictions, providing a rubric to test the idea. The simplest test is to detect deuterium from Ni-H systems; a mass spectrometer on an active cell would suffice for that one. But who with access is willing to perform these experiments? Money is now being raised by interested parties to pay for co-operation.

Infinite Energy magazine is undertaking this effort to bring theorists together over a model of cold fusion with a series of issues. Jean-Paul Biberian, a researcher from Universite Sciences de Luminy and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science will be leading the next issue focused on theory this winter. We hope it begins a productive renaissance in collaborative science on the greatest scientific question of our time.

A world is waiting.

Cold Fusion Now!

Related Links

Nature of energetic radiation emitted from a metal exposed to H2 by Edmund Storms and Brian Scanlan [.pdf]

An Explanation of Low-energy Nuclear Reactions (Cold Fusion) by Edmund Storms [.pdf] from Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science 9 (2012)

An Explanation of Low-energy Nuclear Reactions video interview with Edmund Storms by Ruby Carat summer 2012.

The Nuclear Active Environment and Metals That Work video interview with Edmund Storms by Ruby Carat summer 2011.

Electron capture by a proton – Where would the energy come from?

Library David standing IMG_1798
In this posting, David French makes excursion outside his field: patent law, to speculate on possible aspects relating to the physics and mechanism of the cold fusion phenomena.

One of the theories to explain the ColdFusion excess energy effect is based on the premise that a proton can capture an electron, become a neutron, and then all sorts of magical things can happen. However, a neutron is heavier than the combined weight of a proton and an electron. The relative masses are:

Neutron = 1
Proton = 0.99862349
Electron = 0.00054386734

When you do the addition and subtraction it works out that a neutron is heavier than the proton-electron combination by a mass-energy equivalent of about 780 kilo electron volts ( keV). This amount of mass-energy must be found to make a neutron out of a proton and an electron. Here are some thoughts on that point.

Structure of an Atom
Structure of an Atom
A neutron does not have a proton and electron within it. The basic structure of a neutron is three quarks: 1 up, 2 down. A proton has three quarks: 2 up, 1 down. An up quark and a down quark are not the same thing. A neutron is a new entity. And it requires energy to produce it from combining a proton with an electron, or does it?

When an electron falls from infinity towards a proton it acquires 13.6 electron Volts of energy to reach the ground state “orbital” around the proton. I have always wondered why it does not go all the way. Apparently, its Debroglie wavelength has to fit” around the “orbit radius” for it to occupy a stable state.

Perhaps another explanation is that an electron can only arrive in an atom and occupy an orbital by dissipating its arrival energy in the form of a photon. All the light we see originates from electrons settling into an empty slot in the shell of permitted orbitals around nuclei. If atomic dynamics do not permit the emission of such a photon, then an electron cannot settle into a stable orbital but must move on.

But what if an electron acquired enough energy to crash through the base orbital and proceed onward into a proton? How much more energy could the electron acquire hurtling towards the nucleus of a hydrogen atom? I have a suspicion that this might be a very large value if the radius of a proton is small enough.

Let us start by an analogy. Here is the formula for gravitational potential energy for a small mass “m” coming in from infinity to arrive at a radial distance “r” from a large mass M:

E = – GmM/r

This formula has an extraordinary consequence: if a mass were to fall to a point source where “r” drops to zero the energy would be infinite! This does not happen in the Sun, or even in the case of a penny being dropped down a very deep hole in the Earth. This is because as you go below the surface of the Sun or Earth the mass above you starts to cancel the gravitational force below you. Newton showed that there is no gravitational force at the center of the Sun or the Earth. The formula stops working when you reach a surface.

Let us turn to the potential energy associated with an electrical field. By integrating the energy acquired as an electron falls in from infinity, the amount of energy that it acquires as it approaches a proton is given by the following formula:

E = kQq/r

where Q and “q” are the sizes of the respective charges and “k” is a constant.

It will be seen directly that this formula parallels the one for energy acquired through gravitational attraction.

Again we are presented with the possibility that “r” might go to zero. Why is this important?

Well, Widom & Larsen postulate that an electron can be captured by a proton in order to become a neutron. But this requires approximately 780 keV, the mass difference between a neutron and the total mass of a proton and electron.

(I note that it has been said in Wikipedia about electron capture: “A free proton cannot normally be changed to a free neutron by this process; the proton and neutron must be part of a larger nucleus.” No reference is given for this statement.)

This large energy gap which is based on the mass difference between a neutron and a combined proton and electron has always seemed to me to be a barrier to electron capture by a proton. Since an electron only acquires 13.6 V falling from infinity to its ground state, it has got to acquire a lot more energy to get up to 780 keV. On the other hand, when “r” gets small, this kind of energy could be acquired quite quickly if the formula for potential electrostatic energy does not break down.

The gravity we experience from the Sun is the accumulation of force from the distributed mass contained in a body having substantial dimensions. It is not a point source. (Maybe a black hole is a point source!) But a proton is very nearly a point source. What does this size say about the potential energy that could be associated with the electrical attraction that extends between a proton and electron? Now let me take you on a little excursion concerning Blacklight Power and Randell Mills.

Randell Mills has his theory that electrons can occupy orbitals that are below the normal base orbital for a hydrogen atom. Randell calls such a special hydrogen atom a “hydrino”. Perhaps he has part of the explanation. I have met with Randell back in 1980’s and here is what he explained to me.

Electrons cannot fall below the base level in the normal hydrogen atom because they cannot emit a photon on their own. For his hydrinos to form there has to be a resonant absorption of energy from a nearby atom in order to permit an electron to drop below the normal base state. When falling through energy levels into an atom from infinity, an electron emits a photon to dissipate its acquired energy.

Apparently, once an electron reaches the base orbital, it is no longer capable of emitting photons as a way of losing energy. But according to Randell if a nearby atom is able to eject an electron, acting as a “catalyst”, it may serve to allow a proximate electron that is in the base orbital of a proton to fall to a lower energy level, closer to the proton. The energy that is associated with the electron falling through the electric field towards the proton is released through the resonant absorption of that energy by the nearby “catalyst” atom which disposes of the energy by ejecting one of its electrons. Here is a description of his theory from the web:

“According to Dr. Mills, when a hydrogen atom collides with certain other atoms or ions, it can sometimes transfer a quantity of energy to the other atom, and shrink at the same time, becoming a Hydrino in the process. The atom that it collided with is called the “catalyst”, because it helps the Hydrino shrink. Once a Hydrino has formed, it can shrink even further through collisions with other catalyst atoms. Each collision potentially resulting in another shrinkage.”

From the same source:

“For those of you with a mathematical bent, the formula is ((2 x n) -1) x 13.598 eV, where “n” is the level number. (BTW the maximum level number is certainly no larger than 137, and may well be less than that, not least because when a Hydrino gets very small, it may undergo fusion reactions with other atoms.) Of course, the numbers can be added up. IOW if you start with a Hydrogen atom, and end up with e.g. a level 5 Hydrino, then you get a total of 41 + 68 + 95 + 122 = 326 eV. The total for any level can be calculated with the formula (n^2 -1) x 13.598 eV.”

[End of quotation]

Well, 137 x137 = 18769 electron Volts and (n^2 -1) x 13.598 eV gives 18769 – 1 × 13.598 = 255,207.264 eV.

This is a value which is well on its way to 780keV!! I do not know why the limit in the above formula is 137, but let us accept that for the moment. Using the formula for the potential energy that becomes available when two electrically charged bodies are brought into close proximity to each other, namely E = kQq/r , it may be that this requisite energy condition is within reach of some force or effect originating from within the proton. At that moment, the magical conversion into a neutron may occur.

Maybe having fallen to level 1/137 an electron is able to fall further into a proton, eventually contributing the additional energy that it acquires into a quark conversion that changes the proton into a neutron of higher mass, and then the electron simply disappears!

On the other hand, there may be some other principle or limitation that would forbid such an event. Still, it is interesting to muse on the consequences an energy formula that includes the remarkable factor: 1/r.

Persons wishing to make comments on this posting are invited to visit the Cold Fusion Now website where this article is posted.

Peter Hagelstein Intro to Excess Power (with Enhanced Audio)

Introduction to Excess Power in Fleischmann-Pons Experiments lectures by Dr. Peter Hagelstein now with enhanced audio compliments uploadJ.

What follows are Jeremy Rys‘ classroom video series with the processed audio track by uploadJ.

Watch the second week’s lectures with JET Energy engineer and co-teacher Dr. Mitchell Swartz, who describes experimental results on their NANOR technology here.

ALSO: Gayle Verner‘s Synopsis of Cold Fusion 101 courtesy Infinite Energy Magazine.