Briefing on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Research

Working draft, for comment, not approved.

This is to be an Infusion Institute consensus document, a study of the briefing prepared in 2016 by the NRL for Congress. Comments are fully welcome and invited and facts and all arguments will be incorporated, directly or by reference. Correction of errors is especially welcome. Discussion here may be refactored for organizational purposes.

Comments by the editor, within the copied body of the report, are in indented italics. Some of these may not be appropriate in a final report. I have not copied all material, some that I considered heavily irrelevant I have left out. The original document pages may be read with the page links given.

The ultimate purpose is to write a cogent and focused briefing that could be used.

16-F-1333_ DOC_02_LENR_Briefing was our source document, we have removed the Black Vault inserted page 1, so that our page numbers correspond to those in the document. This is what we are working with:

DOD report to Congress

CONTENTS

I have categorized these pages based on relevance to the charge. Red is very low relevance, if any. Magenta is peripheral relevance, possibly worth a sentence in a cogent review, not a whole slide as was used.

1. Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research
2. House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request
3. Preparation of this Briefing
4. Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary
5. U.S. is Well Represented in LENR
6. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production
7. LENR proponents claim many potential military applications
8. Nuclear Physics and LENR
9. Physics of Nuclear Reactions
10. Types of Nuclear Reactions
11. Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion
12. Challenge for Nuclear Fusion
13. Energy Required for Fusion
14. Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion
15. Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood
16. MCF: Impractical for Energy Production
17. MCF: current research directions
18. Publications on MCF
19. Nations for MCF research
20. Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments
21. Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited
22. Lack Theoretical Foundation
23. SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products
24. Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results
25. Summary
26. Back up
27. Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion
28. In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System
29. Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)
30. Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties
31. Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results
32. Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group
33. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion
34. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations
35. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible


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Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research

A scientific survey of the international literature in response to the FY16 NOAA (report on HR4909, 4 May 2016)

Office of the ASD(R&E) I Research


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House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a “disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage.” The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development. To better understand the national security implications of these
developments, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.

The authors do not appear to have knowledgeably addressed the charge. What are the “recent developments” that the Committee mentioned? There is no clue in the briefing. Almost certainly, this would refer to the work of Industrial Heat, LLC, with Andrea Rossi’s technology.

Industrial Heat, in 2015, raised $50 million for LENR research (not for Rossi, for whom they invested about $20 million from a close group of investors, starting in 2012).

In 2014, a basic LENR research initiative at Texas Tech was funded with a $6 million private donation plus another $6 million in Texas state matching funds.

What is the current state of research in the U.S. and around the world?

This report is confused about what LENR is, and only looks at a few shards in the pile, with many irrelevancies and shallow, unbalanced assessments.

My opinion is that LENR is not close to ready for military or commercial applications; the authors here are correct on that, but … the point is to become ready or to be ready. That will require clear vision based on knowledge. The field is complex and the request deserved expert attention, which it did not receive.


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Preparation of this Briefing

• The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was tasked by OSD to conduct a comprehensive survey on the current state of research  on low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) in the US, and an assessment
of the type of military appliications for this technology.

• A comprehensive collection and analysis of international literature on LENR since 2004 (the last Department of Energy review) was conducted.


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Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary

• The United States is active in LENR research in universities, government labs, industry and private research
• The status of knowledge, evidence, and technology indicates that it is premature to increase investments in LENR research
• LENR research has been challenged by a lack of reproducibility of results, and many of the studies have not provided the necessary scientific and theoretical foundations
• Beyond the lack of reproducible positive results to date, scaling to meaningful energy production levels must still be addressed.
• If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and the underlying science can be established, it could lead to a broad variety of military as well as commercial applications such as
a compact, efficient, room temperature, energy source.


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U.S. is Well Represented in LENR

[chart showing First Authors by Function and National Affiliation. Given below is the number of papers by nation]

USA [47]
Japan [18]
China [9]
France [9]
Russia [9]
Italy [8]
India [4]
South Korea [2]
UK [2]
Ukraine [2]
Australia [1]
Finland [1]
Germany [1]
Malaysia [1]
New Zealand [1]
Switzerland [1]

That is 115 papers total. Standard for inclusion and period covered, not stated. This is far less useful than a proper study, which would state those things. It is possible that the period is since the 2004 DoE review. The conclusion (U.S. “well represented”) could be valid, but could also be invalid. One person or one small group might create that impression.

 


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Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production

TRL 9 Production
TRL 8 Full scale development
TRL 7
TRL 6 Exploratory development
TRL 5
TRL 4
TRL3
TRL2 Technology development
TRL 1
LENR research: [placed below TRL 1]

Most results have not been reproduced independently;
Lack scientific and theoretical foundations.

Waste of an entire page to make a short and confusing statement. “Most results.” Okay, there are lots of unconfirmed results, that is not controversial. However, some are confirmed to various degrees. There is no examination of the confirmed results in this study. This is all meaningless without a clear definition of “LENR.” Confirmed experimental results are a “scientific foundation” for a new and unexpected effect. Both U.S. DoE reviews recommended further research, which would not have been recommended if there were “no foundation” as claimed here. LENR is a mystery, and without basic research, is likely to remain so.

It seems clear that LENR would be in TRL Level 1. The collection of effects called “LENR” are controversial, and expert opinion has been divided, see the 2004 U.S. DoE review — and that was a flawed review, wherein blatant errors were made, leading to literal misreadings of the claims in the review document. Fundamental research has been poorly funded, generally, but is continuing. This review shows little or no awareness of that.

 


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LENR proponents claim many potential military applications

This betrays that the authors are considering this a political issue, with “proponents” and … what? “opponents”? In the following paragraph the authors claim what could be potential military applications. Are they “proponents”?

If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and
the science can be established, the following could result:
• Abundant, clean energy
• Compact, portable power source
• Inert and nonhazardous
• Processing of radioactive waste

The key word here is “could.” Claims of the characteristics of LENR applications are premature. It seems likely from what we know about LENR that it might be nonhazardous, but as the mechanism is not understood, it might actually be hazardous, it is not yet possible to test the effect adequately to rule that out. This review ignores what is actually known about the effects.

“Processing of nuclear waste” possibilities have been reported but are generally unconfirmed. This report makes no distinction between what is confirmed and unconfirmed. Unconfirmed results, if plausible (i.e., based on properly-done measurements, on the face, etc., deserve confirmation effort, but probably not governmental-level efforts yet, unless the reported techniques appear easy and inexpensive to confirm

Mosier-Boss et al. Final Report 2016

[link added. That is a 131 page pdf. What, exactly, is being cited? This is probably considered representative of what “LENR Proponents” write, but this is circular: if a researcher works on LENR, and reports positive results (i.e., indicating a nuclear effect) they will be considered, ipso facto, a proponent.] 

Energy Density of Fuels

[chart showing mass of fuel for a city of one million people, as 250,000 tons of oil, 400,000 tons of coal, and 60 kg. of “fusion fuel.” That fuel is stated as deuterium and lithium. The fusion reaction considered is deuterium-tritium fusion, and the neutrons that generates (dangerous radiation) converts lithium to tritium. However, D-T fusion is not LENR, this is high-energy fusion. There may be various LENRs; the most-confirmed reaction converts deuterium to helium (totally harmless) with a higher energy yield, experimentally found and confirmed. This clumsiness shows that the report is more or less a quick cut-and-paste.]

[chart from] http://fusionforenergy.europa.eu/understandingfusion/merits.aspx ]


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Nuclear Physics and LENR

• Physics of Nuclear Reactions
• Physical challenges for Nuclear Fusion
• Two LENR research areas:

– Muon-Catalyzed Fusion: Broadly accepted, based on well-understood physics

Yes, Muon-Catalyzed Fusion is well understood and accepted. But this is not what is referred to as LENR, even though it technically is “low-energy.” MCF is the same reaction as is found in high-energy fusion, but catalyzed by muons, so it happens at very low energies. It generates harmful radiation, but is not practical for reasons they cover. Adding all this MCF material, as they do below, simply confuses the report. Did they include MCF papers in their tally of “LENR” papers?

In the field, a more specific term is the Anomalous Heat Effect. MCF is not anomalous, it’s understood. The AHE is also called the “Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect.” (FPHE). However, AHE is a little more general, because gas-loaded palladium is not the FPHE, though the reaction appears to be similar in some ways. The FPHE is an electrolytic effect.

– Electrolytic Cell : Has not been reproduced independently and has
not provided the necessary technical information to provide a
scientific foundation for scalable research.

This (has not been reproduced independently) is utter nonsense, basically repeating a widespread rumor that became established in 1989-1990. The various reported experiments and confirmations have provided a level of scientific foundation, as to the nature of the effect, but not yet as to detailed mechanism. The material conditions are difficult to control, particularly in the electrochemical experiments that are most widely confirmed (in spite of this difficulty), and until the reaction is well under control, scaling up is dangerous and is generally not done.

These authors clearly are not familiar with the literature. It is not that they disagree with it, but that they flat-out don’t know it, so they make statements unlike what someone knowledgeable would make. How is it that this report, for which $50,000 was budgeted, does not involve at least one author with serious knowledge of the field, or at least some review process, with discussion and critique and then a report of the status (including varieties of opinion.) Instead, the Briefing is unattributed opinion, hardly better than rumor.

 


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Physics of Nuclear Reactions

• Definition: a process in which two nuclei, or a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle (such ,as a proton, neutron, or high energy electron) from outside the atom, collide to produce one or more nuclides.

This is an example of a common kind of nuclear reaction, not the definition. Nuclear reactions may involve more than one nucleus, as a theoretical possibility. In plasma reactions, that would be very rare, but there is experimental evidence that, in the solid state, multibody reactions (more than two nuclei) actually occur. As well, this description does not include nuclear decay processes. This is a plasma physics approach, betraying the thinking of the authors. As well, there are nuclear reactions that don’t involve two nuclei.

If LENR, they think, therefore two-body reactions. This is very old thinking that denies a world of possibilities. Most “impossibility” arguments regarding LENR involve that assumption.

• A nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one
nuclide to another.

That is better as one characteristic of “nuclear reactions.” It works if nuclear isomers are considered different nuclides. Better than saying “cause” would be “be.” However, nuclear isomers are normally considered the same nuclide at differing excitation levels. The delayed gamma decay of a neutron-activated nucleus is generally considered a nuclear reaction.

• In 1917, Ernest Rutherford demonstrated transmutation of
nitrogen into oxygen at the University of Manchester. This was
the first observation of an induced nuclear reaction, that is, a
reaction in which particles from one decay are used to transform
another atomic nucleus.
• The modern nuclear fission reaction was discovered in 1938 by
the German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann.

This is irrelevant to the topic.

 


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Types of Nuclear Reactions

Nuclear decay
Alpha Decay of a Uranlum-233 nucleus

This is an example. Some examples do not involve a second nucleus as does the U-233 example.

Nuclear fission

Shown is a very complex neutron-induced fission reaction (actually unreadable in the pdf I have). What is the value of this exposition wrt LENR?

Nuclear fusion

Shown is D-T fusion, collision energy not shown, products 4He + 3.5 MeV and a neutron at 14.1 MeV. While there is a SPAWAR report of 14 MeV neutrons, the levels are so low that this could be a very rare branch or secondary reaction of a different main reaction. And this is unconfirmed.

This has very little or nothing to do with the main topic here, LENR. If LENR is real, it is, as Pons and Fleischmann claimed in 1989, an “unknown nuclear reaction.”

 


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Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion

This page is a completely irrelevant collection of materials copied about hot fusion reactors and reactions, and fission reactors. I am not cleaning it up from the very messy OCR, it is more work than it’s worth.

 


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Challenge for Nuclear Fusion:

Squeeze two positive charges together (against the Coulomb repulsion)

This is the standard skeptical description, that LENR must accomplish this “squeezing.” LENR is a mystery, we don’t know how it works. The best evidence, most widely confirmed, strongly indicates that the reaction is converting deuterium to helium, but how this is done is unknown. “Squeezing two positive charges together” indeed seems unlikely, for the obvious reasons that they cover, but we don’t know that this is what is happening. They cover cluster fusion later, but don’t seem to realize that this possibility (shown mathematically to occur — that is, predicted to occur from standard physics — from an initial starting condition that might be possible, vide Takahashi) is contrary to what they are assuming here as foundational for “fusion.”

Range of Strong Nuclear Force

Again, not cleaned up. This is all assuming that LENR is a two-body reaction the same as with plasma fusion. The physics of the solid state is far more complex. The core issue with LENR at this point is that there is very strong evidence for the reality of a nuclear effect, but it is not understood. There are conditions where it will relatively reliably occur (say, measurably, 50% of the time) but no theory (other than ad-hoc, operational theories that do not address mechanism) has been successfully tested to distinguish it from other theories, and all theories have defects, unexplained aspects, which will be covered below to some degree.

 


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Energy Required for Fusion

Again, this all is about standard hot fusion. It could be considered to rule out some LENR theories, but LENR is basically an experimental field, not a theoretical one. This exposition is all theory, reasons to consider that LENR violates existing theory, except that an unknown reaction cannot be considered to violate theory, because theory cannot analyze an unknown reaction to determine expected rate. A deep report on the state of LENR research would look at what is known and confirmed from experimental work. This report wanders and considers much that is irrelevant — and obvious. Yes. LENR wasn’t expected! Nobody argues that! Pons and Fleischmann expected to find nothing. But then found something. What did they find? Science advances through curiosity over discovered anomalies.

LENR is an incredibly complex field, overall. What I see here would be embarrassing in an undergraduate-level student paper on LENR. They obviously did not consult experts in the field, at all, or if they did, they ignored them. (But there is no sign of consulting experts in the emails released in the FOIA request).

 


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Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion

Yes, probably. But this is all theoretical, and the reaction they show is p-p -> d fusion, with a probability of 0.001 at a collision energy of 10 Kev, and 10-1921 at room temperature. Yes, that is the claim, based on what calculation? I have seen a nuclear physicist claim that the rate predictions from hot plasma break down at lower temperatures, the actual rate is substantially higher. That ridiculously low rate is naive and not experimentally-based, obviously. There would be no way to measure a rate that low, so this is a pseudoscientific claim.

How is this remotely relevant? They give the probability of winning the Powerball lottery as 3 x 10^-10. True, but because this is irrelevant, this is deceptive polemic. Why is NRL creating deceptive polemic? How were these authors chosen?

There is a calculation in a cluster fusion model of tunnelling rate, showing, from a very low energy initial condition, tunneling at 100% within a femtosecond. They dismiss this basically because the theory is incomplete, not realizing that a counterexample to what they think necessary has been shown. This is a product of radical unfamiliarity with the field. My point is not that cluster fusion theory is necessarily a reflection of the reality, but that fusion is far less impossible than they think. This is a scientific mystery, and solving scientific mysteries does not begin with believing them impossible. They are, obviously, unexpected!

 


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Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood

Again, not relevant to the topic they were asked to research. This is something someone totally naive would do, not realizing that words (“LENR”) have meaning in context. This is interesting, though, because some naive analyses claim that nuclear fusion at low temperatures is “impossible”. In fact, they just gave it a rate of 10-1921 at room temperature! MCF is a counterexample. Bring that up and the pseudoskeptic will say, “but MCF isn’t practical.” Right. But wasn’t it just said that low temperature fusion was “impossible”?

They don’t realize the possible relevance. MCF is catalyzed by muons. Is some other form of catalysis possible? Theory might address specific ideas, but cannot address the general concept. It is impossible to prove a negative. Stated more positively, something that we haven’t thought of might be operating. How would we know? Well, we would see experimental results that we don’t understand. If we depend heavily on theory, as these authors are doing, we may reject those results as Probably Wrong, with no evidence other than our prior expectations.

 


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MCF: Impractical for Energy Production

Indeed. (Unless a way is found to handle the sticking problem, or another way to generate muons.) And this is not what is called LENR.

 


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MCF: current research directions

So they are spending much of the report covering what they were not asked to cover. MCF is not reported as LENR in the literature. Did they include MCF papers in that total above?

 


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Publications on MCF

All a complete waste.

 


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Nations for MCF research

Again, irrelevant.

 


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Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments

• In 1989, Pons and Fleischmann claimed to have observed excess heat
from an experiment involving the electrolysis of heavy water using a
palladium electrode

This is correct. It’s the original finding. It was prematurely reported — they were not ready — and they used the word “nuclear” based on artifact in neutron measurements, and their methods and actual findings were incompletely reported, leading to:

• Numerous attempts failed to replicate these results

This is highly misleading, appalling in this report. First of all, “replicate” can be used imprecisely. Few even attempted to “replicate” the FP experiment, for various reasons. The more general word is “confirm.” There was early work that failed to confirm. These were not generally exact replications, they were approximate and were based, often, on inadequate information. (They actually are part of the data set that establishes the conditions of the FP Heat Effect.) Later, there were many confirmations. I’ve seen analyses that, overall, there are more “positive” reports than negative, but I’m not sure that I’ve seen a thoroughly neutral analysis of this. It’s difficult to define the terms. But “failed to replicate” implies an isolated, unconfirmed result, which is preposterous, given the history of the field.

• No nuclear products were observed along with the excess heat

Again, simply not true. Pons and Fleischmann reported neutrons (which was error, later acknowledged), tritium, and helium. Those are nuclear products. (Technically, so is energy.) Helium was confirmed by Miles in 1991 and over the years, not merely as present (which would be a relatively weak report because it could be leakage) but as quantitatively correlated with anomalous heat, at levels consistent with the deuterium fusion value of 24 MeV/4He. That is, some of the helium is trapped and not released in the outgas, where it is measured, so less helium is found than would be expected from that ratio. Some later work took steps to release that helium and found values fully consistent with 24 MeV/4He. Helium is a nuclear product.

The briefing was requested to be about recent research. Did they review, say, the Current Science special section on LENR, published in February, 2015? I see no sign that they are aware of what is going on. Did they look at the collaboration, announced at ICCF-19 (2015), between Texas Tech and ENEA, to confirm the heat/helium ratio (and, as well, to study exploding wires, a technique thought to possibly aid in assessing materials for LENR activity). This work was funded by a charitable donation of $6 million plus Texas state matching funds, another $6 million, and is under way.

It is quite likely that the Congressional request had the work of Andrea Rossi in mind. Rossi was funded by U.S. companies, first Ampenergo, then Industrial Heat, at least $20 million total. By the time of the briefing request, the lawsuit Rossi v. Darden had been filed, so they could have covered it. Instead, they show no awareness that it exists.

Below, the authors will refer to SPAWAR work. SPAWAR has found substantial evidence for 14 MeV neutrons from a co-deposition cell. This has not been correlated with heat, however, and is not confirmed. A careful study will distinguish what is poorly reported, well-reported but not confirmed, and confirmed. This wasn’t a careful study at all.

As well, there are many reports of tritium, in particular, but the levels are such that tritium is probably a secondary reaction or otherwise rare product. The main product appears to be helium. This is extensively confirmed. Controversy still remains. However, there is a current effort in a joint project between Texas Tech and ENEA, the Italian alternative energy agency, to redo this work with increased precision and more extensive effort to recover all the helium. 

• Measurement errors in calorimetry may have contributed to observation of excess heat.

Sure. In fact, that happens on occasion. However, Pons and Fleischmann were among the world’s top electrochemists, and measuring heat was a specialty. If their report was isolated, this might be passed off as something that might never be confirmed. But it was confirmed. There are skeptics, presented with extremely careful work by experts, who simply say, “they must be making some mistake.” There is one published skeptic remaining who claims that behind all the massive findings showing excess heat there is a different anomaly, something also not expected, but chemical in nature. This is an isolated opinion and has had difficulty finding publication lately. A thorough study would look at this, at serious reasons to think there might be “some mistake.” However, it gets very difficult to explain the heat/helium correlation with that hypothesis. This report is depending on a vague and unspecified error, in the face of massive contradiction by experts and strong evidence, confirmed by many labs.

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/ article/ O_O_O/cold_fusion_03

is a shallow pop science piece that misreports what Pons and Fleischmann actually did and how they thought. Using this for a serious report is appalling.

They did not expect to see substantial heat. They had decided to test a reasonable hypothesis, that the approximations used to estimate fusion probability were causing error in the rate estimate. That is, in fact, practically certain, the issue would be *how much* error. They expected that the fusion rate would still be below anything they could detect. Then their experiment melted down, releasing energy that they could not explain by chemistry. So they scaled down, for safety, and continued exploring the effect. Five years later, they were still not ready to announce, but legal considerations led to it. It was a mess. They were actually wrong about some aspects of what they had found. They made this or that mistake. But their basic finding, anomalous heat, has not been impeached (by other than that isolated skeptic mentioned above, who, though previously published, has been reduced to ranting on the internet. I even think that’s unfair. But that’s what is happening.)

• Also in 1989, S. Jones of Brigham Young University using similar electrolytic cells observed neutrons, but no excess heat.

It was his work that caused the premature announcement. However, the Jones was not an electrochemist and his cells did not approach the high loading conditions that Pons and Fleischmann attained. He would not be expected to find heat, from what is now known about the reaction. As to neutrons, his levels were very low; in general, neutron findings have never been correlated with heat, so if those findings are real, they are not related to the primary reaction. Again, this is actually irrelevant to the major charge of the Committee.

 


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Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited

The page doesn’t support the headline.

• 2004 Review of LENR research by Hagelstein et al. claimed Helium production correlated with excess heat measurements

They did. However, the Panel, from the report, did not understand the data in a supplement provided for the Case gas-loading work (actually a different experiment from the FP Heat Effect) and read a clear correlation as an anti-correlation. This is easy to see in the 2004 Review report. So then they easily dismissed this as possibly leakage (a generic objection to helium results, even though in that work the helium levels rose above ambient. So then it’s claimed that maybe there was a helium source in the lab. However, the value of the ratio, then, becomes mysterious. Almost all work in this area shows a ratio that is within an order of magnitude, usually substantially closer, to the theoretical deuterium fusion value. 

• Review evaluated by Department of Energy in 2004, which recommended experiments to search for fusion events in thin deuterated foils , but not focused federally funded program for LENR.

The Report

… isn’t being fairly presented here. The actual recommendation:

The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers 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 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.

I agree. Notice “nearly unanimous opinion.” What is a “focused federally funded program?” There were hopes in 1989 and again in 2004 that some kind of major program might be funded. My opinion is that this would be premature. What is needed is, indeed, focused proposals designed to address basic issues. The DoE has never funded this, beyond massively unfocused work in 1989 and maybe 1990. Throwing money at LENR is a Bad Idea. A lot can be wasted.

However, the idea that the question is “D-D fusion reactions” or not is misleading. The real issue is what the cause is of the FP Heat Effect and other reported phenomena. My opinion is that straight-out “D-D fusion” is unlikely. Something else is happening. The confirmed effect shows a helium ratio to heat that is the same as “D-D fusion,” but that is simply a reflection of the laws of thermodynamics. Whatever converts deuterium to helium must show that energy. What is known is that the energy shows up entirely as heat, without high-energy radiation, which is very unexpected. Something mysterious is happening.

In general, the DoE reviewers did not understand what they were seeing, so their specific recommendations might be off. It reflects what those not familiar with the field might think, after a quite brief one-day review, with little interaction. Actual funding decisions would be worked out between researchers and funding agencies. 

But the DoE review was better than this NRL report. Both have a similar shortcoming: they don’t actually establish or recommend any specific actions to improve the situation, to actually answer those basis scientific questions.

• Sufficient deuterium loading required for excessive heat, suggested as reason for early negative results [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

This is weakly presented. It’s more than “suggested.” They do show a chart from the 2004 DoE review paper showing a substantial series of experiments, with many results at high loading, and few, declining to zero at loading of 80%. None of those early “negative results” had 80% loading. At the time, they did not know it was necessary — this had not been announced — and there is more: the Fleischmann-Pons work took many weeks of loading to begin showing the effect, and none of those early experiments waited long enough.

Is loading the issue? There are now some reasons to think that high loading is merely one of a number of conditions necessary to see the Heat Effect. High loading by itself isn’t enough. The critical factor, besides high loading at onset, is specific material conditions, and this is all well-known, and was even understood by the 2004 DoE review. The material shifts with time and repeated loading and deloading. Pons and Fleischmann believed that the effect was a bulk effect, happening inside the bulk. The helium evidence indicates otherwise. It’s a surface effect, from where the helium is found (released in the gas or in near-surface trapping). Instead of considering “conditions where the Heat Effect is found, this is often presented by some skeptics as some kind of an excuse, often with exaggeration of the unreliability.

• Even with large deuterium loading, negative results still observed [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

That’s right. However, with some materials and high loading and other conditions that have been correlated with heat, a majority of experiments do show excess heat; the amount varies greatly. The heat/helium ratio cuts through this noise, and the variation in heat then becomes a control. If helium were leakage, it would be unlikely to vary with the heat (the “heat” in these experiments is small, it is not a large difference in temperature, and in some experiments the temperature is constant. It can be complicated.)

Reported Excess Heat vs Deuterium Loading Ratio
Hageistein et al. 2004 DOE Report

This was the chart I mentioned above. There are charts published elsewhere that show SRI and ENEA experiments with heat vs. loading ratio and some major early “negative replications” plotted on the same chart. Low loading equals no heat results, it’s that simple.

 


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p. 22

Lack Theoretical Foundation

They show, again, a pop science presentation from a pop or high school level web site that misrepresents what Pons and Fleischmann thought they were doing.” As they have told the story (and who else would one get it from?), they were looking for possible deviations from the rate predictions of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. This is actually expected, some deviation, however what they found was not expected. They expected that they would not be able to measure anything, that the error introduced by the approximation would be too small.

What they were looking for was actually irrelevant, in the end. However, this idea that they were scientifically clueless is common. As has happened many times in science, they found something unexpected by looking where nobody had looked before (in palladium deuteride, at very high loading ratio).  Who predicted lots of neutrons? This was a prediction, not of Pons and Fleischmann, but of skeptics, who imagined that if they found something, it must be d-d fusion. They actually did not claim d-d fusion, if one reads their first paper, it was reported as an “unknown nuclear reaction,” precisely because levels of neutrons were very low (and, in fact, what they found was error, artifact, as to neutrons). This was truly a fiasco and one of the signs of “fiasco” is that what they did is still commonly misunderstood, because rumor, widely repeated, took the place of fact. This Briefing continues that.

They were also wrong about many things. They were not aware of how critical the material was, so, after announcing, they ran out of their first batch of palladium and ordered more. It didn’t work. This was totally embarrassing, but they then made a series of reactive errors. I won’t go into them all here, but this was a fiasco all around, assumptions made and actions taken on assumptions that led to more mess. The original meltdown in 1984: they didn’t photograph the damage and didn’t keep the material. They were afraid that the University Fire Department would shut them down. Fear leads to poor decisions. I would not expect a Briefing on cold fusion to cover all these historical details, but I would expect it to avoid those shallow “explanations.” 

Shown from the the page is :

Hypothesis/theory -> expected results -> actual results

Pons’ work

Lots of cold fusion is taking place in the palladium -> expect to see many neutrons released -> not many neutrons are released

This is not what happened. They did not start with that hypothesis. They started with an idea to explore. Exploratory research often does not proceed with the hypothesis/prediction/test process. They were looking where nobody had looked.

The mechanism of “cold fusion” is unknown: the prediction about neutrons would be valid for ordinary known hot fusion taking place, or even muon-catalyzed fusion, but not the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. The known product is helium, neutrons are absent or almost entirely absent. This is a common error: to take the word for a thing and then assume that this, then, creates predictability. With cold fusion, observation comes first. There are basic theories in place, verified and confirmed, but not a theory of mechanism. For example, the report here looks at an idea from some theories that deuterium is being converted to helium. That results in a prediction of 23.8 MeV (energy) produced for each helium atom. That is a confirmed observation, but was unknown until 1991, though predicted before then.

What they actually found was a lot of heat, that they could not explain with chemistry, and they were prominent chemists. From the context, they asked the question if it was fusion. They then pointed out (in tgheir 1989 paper) that there were not nearly enough neutrons for the known fusion reaction — and there actually were none or very few. The pop sci story is told as if they did not realize this.

As far as I know, the first anomaly was a meltdown with a lot of heat. Not just a little. Not some calorimetry error. It’s been claimed that this was deuterium/oxygen recombination. That chemistry would not have been adequate to explain what they saw, at least probably not. Remember, they didn’t keep their materials, the experiment had been destroyed. Obviously, this was not going to get the world excited about “cold fusion.” But they kept working and they found effects, and when they eventually announced, it took time — these experiments took time! — but others found a heat effect as well, and other related effects.

It is all still controversial, but a proper briefing would explore the controversy and explain why people still are working in the field, what results have they seen that keep them going?

• Spin-Boson Oscillator Theory1

the energy released in deuterium- deuterium fusion goes into large numbers of low energy phonons that heats the system

• Hydroton Theory2

formation of nuclear active environments in nano cracks resulting from electrolysis or gas loading

As above with what was falsely alleged to be “Pons theory,” these two is placed in apposition to a supposedly opposite result. A minor point: not enough is presented of Hydroton Theory to make the prediction, what is shown is only the theory of Nuclear Active Environment, the site of the reaction. The helium prediction, then, does not address what is presented of the theory.

Predicts excess heat should be 23.8 MeV/ He atom, which is not observed in experiments.

They are baldly and ignorantly denying the most widely-confirmed result in cold fusion research. The prediction must be understood in this way, if the main reaction taking place in PdD experiments is the conversion of deuterium to helium, and if the heat and the helium are measured, and there is no significant energy leakage through radiation, and as the precision of the measurements increases, the ratio will approach that value, it must, by the laws of thermodynamics. In most experiments, helium in electroytic outgas has been measured, and it is thought that about 40% of the helium is retained in the palladium, which is consistent with most experimental observations. In two experiments (as to what has been reported, there is more work under way), steps were taken to release all the helium, and results moved to within experimental precision of the theoretical value.

1 Hagelstein and Chaudhary Proceedings ICCF-14 (2008)
2 Storms J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2012)

• Cluster Fusion Theory – seeks to investigate multibody fusion for enhanced fusion rates.
Four deuterons arranged in a tetrahedral symmetric configuration yielding 4 He atoms.

is placed in apposition with:

No mechanism given to produce tetrahedral symmetric configuration

Takahashi J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2011)

While mechanisms have been proposed, Takahashi is not concerned with that level of analysis, his work is the application of quantum field theory or quantum electrodynamics to the possibility of multibody fusion, and he has mathematically predicted fusion if the TSC conditions arise. He previously did experimental work that showed elevated rates of multibody fusion with ordinary hot fusion from deuteron bombardment of PdD targets, but Takahashi has not predicted TSC formation rate, so this is, again, off, merely a sign of an incomplete theory.

There is no accepted cold fusion theory of mechanism, though some have a level of support. Theoretical analysis of cold fusion is likely to require far more experimental data than exists. A basic report on cold fusion, at this time, will summarize the mechanism as a mystery and not belabor the theories, which are largely irrelevant to the foundation of cold fusion research, which is experimental observation, with only the most basic theories being involved. (One of these would be the “deuterium/helium conversion theory”, which is readily testable and which has been extensively confirmed.)

 


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p. 23

SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products

• Research effort at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific began shortly after Pons and Fleischmann announcement and ended in 2012
• Used a palladium-deuterium co­-deposition process to prepare the electrodes, seeking more reproducible results
• Experiments focused on finding the nuclear products from nuclear reactions occurring in electrolytic cells
• Used CR-39 solid state track detectors to look for tracks left by energetic particles

Mosier-Boss Final Report 2016


Triple tracks caused by breakup of 12C into 3 He due to collision with a fast neutron.

SPAWAR analysis ends at visual inspection, similarity to deuterium-tritium fusion
• Experiments were able to replicate CR-39 tracks, but noticed striking differences when compared to CR39 exposed to fast neutron sources

What “striking differences”? Experiments don’t notice something, people do. Who? The image compares tracks from LENR experiments with DT neutron tracks, i.e., fast neutrons. They certainly look similar to me. Triple tracks, in particular, are quite distinctive.

SPAWAR CR-39 neutron measurements leave many unanswered questions.

Indeed they do. This work is generally unconfirmed (though it ultimately deserves confirmation, and low-level neutrons from CF conditions have long been reported) and what is not mentioned is that the apparent fast neutrons are at very low levels. They probably have little or nothing to do with the main reaction. There is no balance in this briefing, no distinction made between isolated work and theories and the overall state of the field. For a briefing on this topic, isolated and unconfirmed reports would properly be given very little attention. To be sure, SPAWAR was a quasi-governmental effort. SRI was often funded by government agencies. There are experts on LENR working for various national labs. They were apparently not consulted in preparing this report. It’s appalling.


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p. 24

Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results

McKubre Proceedings of ICCF (2009)

Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and Italian National agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) experiments try to address reproducibility using identically prepared samples from the same lot.
• 50% of trials showed no excess heat, while others showed variability of 500%

The reviewers show no sign of understanding the issues. 50% success was positive. From very early on, it was realized that excess heat depended on material conditions, and that even the same sample could give different results at different times, depending on its history. The dependence on material lot, where clearly shown (statistically) is powerful evidence for the reality of the effect.

But any LENR research program must accept the reality of the effect as-it-is, not as someone might want it to be. To develop control over the reaction, to improve reliability so that the level of the effect becomes predictable, are obvious goals for research, not claimed to already exist.

• Observations of excessive heat were still erratic.

They just repeated themselves.

Summary of Electrolytic Cell reports from 1998-2004
Storms, Naturwissenschaften (2010)

Plot above was used by [Storms 201 O] to demonstrate successes of LENR experiments
Most striking feature is the large number of null results

That is “most striking” to someone who is looking at failure instead of at success. Storms was interested there in the long tail. By the way, some skeptics claim the “file drawer effect,” that only positive reports are published. Obviously, the “believer” Storms forget to exclude the negative reports.

There are researchers who claim increased reliability, sometimes 100%, but so far such work has not been confirmed. However, there is a replicable experiment, extensively confirmed, which defines reliability in a different way. Set up the FP Heat Effect and measure helium. Some of the work on this has seen over 50% of cells with excess heat, and the no-heat cells serve as controls (good ones, because they are generally identical to heat-producing cells — except for the heat. And except for the measured helium, which is well-correlated with heat.

Predictability and reproducibility are still outstanding issues with LENR

In some ways, yes. The helium results are predictable. The specific heat release in specific cells is not so predictable; however, statistically, correlations are known. That is, while heat may vary, it does correlate with, as an example, deuterium loading ratio. 

What this briefing fails to do is to notice the progress that has been made.

 


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p. 25

Summary

• After almost 30 years, the same issues are still present with cold fusion or LENR claims

This is misleading. Issues have strongly shifted. Controversy remains, and some who claim that cold fusion is an illusion repeat the same claims. They are no longer publishable, the mainstream scientific literature, recently published, almost entirely assumes the reality of the effect. A “briefing,” I would think, would be an executive summary of a far deeper report that would establish the factual basis for what is in the briefing. There is no sign that these authors even did that deeper research.

• Interesting anomalous effects exist that are difficult to reproduce and control.

This is correct, but “difficult” is vague. The difficulty of reproduction and control has commonly been overstated, as if “easy” and “difficult” are clear and objective labels to apply. Plenty of science is “difficult to reproduce,” but can nevertheless by reproduced by those who follow basic replication protocols, and who have the same materials to work with. Substantial progress has been made with control.

• Lack of theoretical understanding for the underlying processes

In other words, it is an “anomaly.” But this is also misleading. There is theoretical understanding that is partial. The underlying mechanism, the actual “fusion” process — even the name is uncertain — has no widely-accepted theory, but various aspects are understood; for example, I can state with reasonable confidence that the FP Heat Effect is a surface reaction, not taking place deep within the palladium lattice. That can be tested, and has been tested and confirmed, from the helium evidence. (That is, by the way, quite good news if one is interested in eventual practical applications, because palladium is very expensive and usage for power generation would create high demand; if thin films can work as well as bulk, palladium LENR might be practical at far lower cost.)

• Lack of independent testing and substantiation

That’s a half-truth. There is a vast body of experimental work to “substantiate” the basic Pons and Fleischmann claim of anomalous heat. To distinguish this from the “file drawer effect,” substantial and fully-reported specific replications are needed. Those are rare, but are not “lacking.” Much SRI work was designed to replicate and confirm other reports.

•  U.S. is involved in LENR research at universities, government
labs, industry, and the private sector.

It is. This is not documented to present a coherent picture to Congress.

• It is premature to invest heavily in LENA research due to the status of knowledge, reproducible evidence, and technology currently available.

I agree, with a major caveat that shows what is completely missing from this report. Both U.S. DoE reviews generated a similar recommendation, but both also recommended modest support through existing programs. What is “modest support”? It was not stated, and the huge failure of those reviews was in not generating specific recommendations and a specific process for monitoring progress. Instead, in fact, the research recommendation was widely ignored in favor of opinion that these reports “rejected” cold fusion.

So, how much funding should be allocated, and through what programs? What process would make these decisions? There has never been, to my knowledge, a coherent plan.

I developed one, which was to encourage specific confirmations of specific results, already confirmed, to increase precision and confidence. That is the work under way in Texas to confirm the heat/helium ratio. This is guaranteed to produce useful information; and if it turns out that a widely-confirmed result is nevertheless some kind of artifact, they would find out. It has been, as they say, almost thirty years. Isn’t it time to find out, instead of relying on lack of “proof” — a moving target, apparently — as if that were evidence for something?

 


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p. 26

Back up

• This slide is intentionally left blank.

The biggest problem with LENR: minds intentionally left blank.

 


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p. 27

Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion

Ah, Steve Krivit must love this! This is Widom-Larsen Theory propaganda, repeated, depending on, first, an untested and apparently preposterous theory — widely rejected within the field — and, then, a constricted definition of “fusion.” The conversion of deuterium to helium is widely confirmed, and W-L theory then comes up with an ad hoc “explanation” of this through a series of neutron captures and beta or alpha (helium) decays that then roughly explain the heat/helium ratio. Very roughly, outside the error bars, but … not far outside. In other words, there is a fusion fuel (deuterium converted to dineutrons) and a fusion product (helium). But, hey, it’s not fusion!!!

This is a semantic trick to allow W-L theory to be accepted as a “not fusion” theory. Do they take notice of the substantial published criticism of W-L theory? Of the lack of any experimental confirmation?

• Transmutation changes an atom from one element to another, which is accomplished by altering the number of protons

What distinguishes elements is the number of positive charges in the nucleus, which is equivalent to the “number of protons,” though this is a simplistic model. This entire discussion is off the legitimate point of the review.

Free Neutron Decay
n → p+ + e + v(electron neutrino)

Not shown: the energy release, 782 KeV. Wikipedia.

Beta Decay

14C6 → 14N7 + e + ve

It’s not explained here, but the beta decay shown is equivalent to a neutron in the nucleus decaying to a proton and an electron plus a neutrino, thus bumping the atomic number up while keeping the mass almost the same (the mass must decline a little to release the energy of the two forms of radiation). The energy: 156 KeV, for this particular decay, if I’m correct. Wikipedia on 14C. Wikipedia on beta decay.

Inverse Beta Decay/ Electron Capture

26Al13 + e → 26Mg12 + ve

This is not “inverse beta decay” [Wikipedia article] but electron capture [Wikipedia article]. Wikipedia on 26Al. The reaction energy is carried off by the electron neutrino, but the transmuted nucleus recoils, it is not low momentum.

 

• For isotopes unstable to these reactions, they spontaneously occur and release energy

Right. The rate may be low, however. This is more or less the definition of “unstable.”

• Widom and Larsen posit that localized condensed matter electric fields in metallic hydride surfaces can create “heavy” electrons (- 20 × e rest mass)

How large are such electric fields? How much energy is required to create these “heavy electrons,” and what does “heavy” mean here? What is the experimental evidence for such electrons? Setting that aside, a negatively charged heavy particle could catalyze fusion, an example is muon-catalyzed fusion.

• The “heavy” electrons are captured by the metal and the resulting neutron is ejected.

This is not what W-L theory claims. If it were so, however, the neutron created would have substantial momentum. What is claimed (for PdD experiments) is an interaction between deuterons and heavy electrons, not an interaction with the host metal.

This entire excursion into an unconfirmed and largely rejected theory does not belong in the kind of field overview requested. 

• These low momentum neutrons catalyze chains of nuclear reactions, e.g.
6Li3 + n → 7Li3
7Li3 + n → 8Li3
8Li3 → 8Be4 + e + ve [obvious error in description, corrected]
8Be4 → 4He2 + 4He2

Why one would start with 6LI is beyond me. 7LI is the more common isotope. W-L claim “ultra low momentum neutrons,” because these will have very high capture cross-sections, necessary to explain the general absence of slow neutrons, which are otherwise penetrating. ULM neutrons would be voracious fusors, likely fusing with the first nucleus that they encounter. 8Li has a half-life of under one second, beta-decaying to 8Be, which will then immediately (half life about 6 × 10-17 seconds) decay into the two helium nuclei as shown. However, the excitation energy of the 8Be would be about 48 MeV, which would normally be expected to show up in the kinetic energy of the alpha particles (24 MeV each). This massively energetic radiation does not occur in LENR experiments. (The “Hagelstein limit” is about 20 KeV, above that secondary effects would have been readily observed.)

Looking at the case of 6Li neutron capture, however, fast neutrons generate an immediate decay of the 7Li to helium and tritium. What about slow neutrons? I don’t know. 6Li has a nuclear mass of 6.0151223(5). A neutron has a mass of 1.008664 u, and 7Li has a nuclear mass of 7.0160040(5) u. The mass defect leads me to expect a nuclear excitation of 1.75 MeV. If this does not result in the normal fission to helium and tritium, it would lead to gamma emission; this is essentially neutron activation. (see the Wikipedia article).

The copious slow neutrons required by W-L theory would produce a host of effects that are generally not observed. (W-L proponents commonly assert transmutations that may have been reported, but omit that the reported levels are miniscule, and other expected transmutations are absent. Intermediate products would be expected to exist at higher levels than final products, normally, and that is not seen.) The absence of activation gamma radiation is explained away by another hand-wave: the heavy electron patches allegedly make a fantastically efficient gamma ray shield. Would they? Is there experimental evidence for this? Richard Garwin asked that question (because it would be easy to test the “gamma shield”) and Larsen’s answer was, ultimately, “proprietary.”

(… and what about edge effects? Wouldn’t some gammas escape? What about delayed gammas? How long do the “patches” last?)

This is not science, it is commercial promotion disguised as science. This is just as crazy as would be promoting Andrea Rossi’s results — secret, never independently confirmed — in this briefing. It would be worthy of a sentence, perhaps, simply noting the claim and what is known, which is mostly nothing. Unconfirmed.

Electric fields to create “heavy” electrons would require E ≈ 1011 V/m
(ICF lasers produce electric fields up to ≈ 1013 V/m).

Hey, only a hundredth of the ICF laser power is needed! For whom is this presentation intended? If you want to snow people, inundate them with irrelevant facts, and for bonus points, make each fact, by itself, verifiable. Then slip in a few “unfacts”  — or unwarranted conclusions. Few will notice unless they already understand the topic.

 


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p. 28

In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System.

• Deuterium gas is permeated through a multilayer substrate of palladium and
calcium oxide at 343 K for a week
• A thin film of cesium was added to the substrate, and lwamura et al. report that the cesium layer decreased commensurate with an increase in praseodymium, along with x-rays from 10 to 100 keV, and excess heat

I’m looking at the 2002 paper, and there is no claim of heat — there was no provision for measuring it — nor any claim of X-rays.

• lwamura et al. propose an electron capture theory to create a di-neutron D + e- → 2n0 + ve

The 2002 paper refers to an earlier paper (1998) for an “EINR model” as a “working hypothesis.” Sure enough, the 1998 paper is for different work, and that is where the heat and X-ray claims come from. This is common in sloppy cold fusion review: results from different experiments are amalgamated as if there is one very specific effect being studied. There is an available copy of the 1998 conference paper with the same title.

• The di-neutron can then create an element unstable to beta decay via neutron capture

AXZ  + 2n0 → A+2XZ → A+2XZ+1 + e

• Via a chain of four of these reactions cesium could be converted to praseodymium
• No reported observations of the other elements in the chain

Chained reactions involving two relatively rare events with no intermediate products are radically implausible (this is also a basic problem with the similar W-L theory).

• No rigorous development of this theory to check if these reactions are energetically favorable

It is common for shallow reviews to focus on theories, and often the theories are misrepresented. There is no “developed theory” here, and the 2002 transmutation results show, with various target elements, +8 amu, not +2 (hence the idea of a chain). This could indicate a possible involvement of a cluster-fusion intermediate, perhaps formed by the Bose-Einstein collapse of four deuterons (per Takahashi theory). A BEC, which includes the electrons, would be very small and charge-neutral, and might be able to easily fuse with nuclei. That would produce the observed transmutations in a single step, explaining why there are no intermediate products. Di-neutron fusion is way unlikely, di-neutrons are very weakly bound. My opinion. And my basic point here is that cold fusion theory is way premature, so why inflict it on Congress?

• NRL was unable to independently reproduce these results (2009)
• [Hioki et al. 2013] was able to reproduce these results of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

What is important, if anything, about the Iwamura work, is experimental evidence, not theory that they may have had in mind, and this work differs from the rest of the field enough that, absent clear confirmation (it is presently murky, NRL put serious effort into replication and failed, but then there is Hioki, so … maybe), the importance is not high; what is relatively urgent is the confirmation of basic results already supported, or basic results relatively easy to confirm. The field needs a solid foundation, and I’d assume Congress would want to know what is solid — or at least partially confirmed.

Hioki et al. measured 10-10 g/cm  of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

Is that a little or a lot? Were I a high school physics teacher reading a student’s paper, and this were included, I’d critique it for collecting random facts without explaining how and why they are significant. Absent much more information, that quantity is meaningless.

 


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p. 29

Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)

I have not undertaken the effort to gain a deeper understanding of Rydberg matter because almost all experimental work and theoretical analysis on it is from one person, Holmlid, and his work has not been confirmed. His claims and results don’t seem to match LENR results. There is some low level of theoretical consideration of Rydberg matter by some researchers, but much theoretical analysis without confirmed experimental foundation is a prescription for wasted time.

This flat-out doesn’t belong in the report, it is pure confusion here. (That is not a claim of error on the part of Holmlid, not at all. There is, however, no integration of his work with classic LENR work, so this is all highly speculative.)

• Rydberg atom – valence shell electrons are in highly excited state
• Cluster of Rydberg atoms can condense to form Rydberg matter
• In Rydberg matter, highly excited electrons become delocalized and act as a collective neutralizing
background
• Rydberg matter is sparse, largest observed cluster had 91 atoms
• Bond distance d is given by: d = 2.9 n2 awhere n is principal quantum number and a0 = 5.2 × 10-11 m is the Bohr radius

They expect a Congressperson to understand this? If this were important, it would be thoroughly explained, and if that made the report too long, it would be sourced so that a reader could readily find explanations. This briefing is incompetent.

Winterberg J. Fusion ENergy (2010)

The J Fusion Energy paper. There is an arXiv paper, late 2009. It is a purely theoretical paper, suggesting Bose-Einstein condensation of deuterium in “vortices,” and speculating that this might facilitate the “ignition” of “thermonuclear fusion.” Hot fusion, in other words. This is useless here. Physicists have been ruminating on cold fusion for almost thirty years, with no clear theory of mechanism having been successfully tested.

There is an image showing:

Rydberg Matter schematic electron distribution

The point is? That illustration is found in the Wikipedia article on Rydberg matter. As well, the following sentence is from that article:

• Rydberg matter has been formed from H, N, K, and Cs

The Wikipedia article is currently tagged for problems. It was apparently heavily edited by Holmlid, who did not understand Wikipedia editorial process (which is common for academics). This is all beside the point here. Why was this included? There was no charge to explore the state of research on Rydberg matter. It is not impossible that a connection will ultimately be shown, but this is one among thousands of possibilities. Why is it pointed out here?

 


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Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties

• Exotic form of Rydberg matter where nuclei act as the delocalized electrons
• Bond distance d = 2.3 × 10-12 m
• Density – 130,000 g/cm3 (compare to density of lead – 11.34 g/cm3)
• Room temperature super conductor*
• Superfluid*

•Predicted by theory [Berezhiani et al. 2010], not experimentally verified

• Nuclei of comets covered in RM
• Stable exospheres on Moon and Mercury explained by heavy RM
• RM is part of dark matter
• RM could explain Faraday rotation in intergalactic space

Remarkable claims, indeed. The world is full of remarkable claims. Which ones would belong in a report to Congress? 

[Badiei et al. Physica Scripta (2010)]

Is given as a source for a TOF experiment illustration. This is the paper.

Presented evidence for existence of ultra-dense deuterium is time-of­-flight mass spectrometry, claims do not match available evidence

That is a judgment, by whom? Based on what? However, this is clear: UDD is a claim being made by a very small group of people, as can easily be seen in the sources for that Wikipedia article, or by a Google Scholar search for those authors. Few papers have been written outside this very small group. To the extent I have looked at this, the papers, with time, go deeper and deeper, assuming that prior work is completely correct. Nothing has been, from my point of view, nailed.

Unless the charge were quite different, I’d not mention UDD at all in a briefing on LENR. At this point, with no UDD experimental evidence linking it to LENR evidence (heat and helium, no radiation), it’s confusing.

 


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p. 31

Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results

[Hansen Int. J. Mass Spectroscopy 2016]

This is the Hansen paper. Received 18 November 2015, Accepted 20 January 2016, Available online 2 February 2016. This is an author preprint. This is the original paper critiqued. Received 10 June 2013, Revised 30 July 2013, Accepted 6 August 2013, Available online 16 August 2013.

*Holmlid’s comment on Hansen’s comment was rejected by the journal

Which means what? Hansen’s comment was quite brief and focused on a narrow aspect of the Holmlid paper. His response was longer.

Critique of Holmlid is rare, and as a result, he has built a huge collection of published papers over the years. That lack of critique does indicate a lack of interest, but it is not evidence for or against his work. That can happen for many reasons. Holmlid does not seem to be interested in engaging with critics, nor in building a community working on his line of research. His response indicates that there was no communication with him prior to the publication of the Hansen comment. That indicates a lack of professional courtesy.

None of this means that Hansen is right and his criticism of Holmlid seems thin to me. That is, Holmlid does answer the objection as to why the believed he was looking at deuterium, not protium. Could Holmlid be wrong? Of course. Anyone can make mistakes. But how likely is it?

None of this is particularly relevant to LENR, other than being fringe and possibly nuclear.

• Hansen reanalyzed TOF data using Holmlid data

Uh, the copy editor here says “Hansen reanalyzed Holmlid TOF data.”

• Laser ionizes RM, leading to Coulomb explosion
• Conservation of energy gives mv2 /2q = Ub + Ek/q

This is supposed to mean something? I’m sure it does, in context, but I’m not reading the paper to find the context, because this is all off point. If there is a relationship to LENR in the Holmlid work, they are not showing it and presenting a clear and cogent story, just snow.

• Holmlid assumes energy goes into rotational excitation, such that Ek = 630 eV
• Hansen analysis indicates data is more consistent with Hydrogen molecules being involved in Coulomb explosions, not Deuterium

Has that been definitively shown? According to whom? This work is not yet at the level where there would be serious overall review and balanced analysis. I’m not going to attempt it. It would be a major task, and it’s not important to my mission, supporting and encouraging LENR research, along the lines of what the DoE reviews actually recommended, but never implemented.

Hansen analysis casts doubts on validity of Holmlid interpretation

So could any criticism of any interpretation. I would expect a serious review to provide balance, and the basic problem here is the inclusion of the relatively unconfirmed work, with three pages, no less. They cover the objections in the third page, next. So why did they include this?

 


original
p. 32

Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group

• Work is published in mainstream, reputable journals
• ∼ 94% of the 84 articles were written by 4 authors in the same group headed by Leif Holmlid
• ∼ 88% of citations are self-citations
• No other group has reproduced the results
• No other experimental group has published a paper on ultra­ dense deuterium

Measurements has not be independently reproduced.

Apparently they ran out of funding and could not afford a copy editor.

 


original
p. 33

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion

This is another complete red herring. Often called bubble fusion, or sonofusion, this, if confirmed, would be hot fusion, not cold fusion.

• Cavitation is the process of boiling a liquid as a result of pressure reduction
• When the bubbles that form collapse, a shock wave can form capable of causing damage, e.g.
pitting on a propeller

[image]
Damaged Boat Propeller

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propeller

No DoD report on LENR would be complete without an image of a damaged boat propellor. They even thoughtfully provide a Wikipedia link, just in case a reader doesn’t know what a propellor is. To be sure, that damaged propellor image is still on that page, but that’s not reliable for sourcing, they should have sourced the Creative Commons page for the image, which would give licensing information.

Sonoluminescence
[image]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_fusion

• Sonoluminescence is the generation of light from cavitation due to sound waves
• Acoustic cavitation fusion seeks to use these shock waves to locally heat the liquid to produce a plasma and stimulate fusion reactions

In other words, fusion through creating a very hot plasma. Not cold fusion at all. However, the description isn’t accurate. The shock waves don’t heat “the liquid,” but the contents of the bubble as it collapses. The sonoluminescence article is more informative.  

 


original
p. 34

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations

[Taleyarkhan et al. 2002]

I am not cleaning up the OCR on this, it’s not worth it. But this:

• Taleyarkhan et al. claim to have observed neutrons coincident with sonoluminescence indicative of fusion
• Internal attempts at reproduction failed to produce detectable neutrons
• External efforts by Putterman at UCLA also failed to reproduce Taleyarkhan’s results
• [Naranjo 2006] demonstrates that neutron spectra reported by Taleyarkhan not consistent with D-D
fusion, but with 252Cf source.
• An “independent confirmation” [Xu and Butt 2005], which was later determined that Taleyarkhan was deeply involved and led to findings of falsification and research misconduct

Discredited observations notwithstanding, extreme conditions do exist in collapsing bubbles

The temperature in the collapsing bubbles is controversial and not easy to measure. Some studies claim 100,000° K or more. And they keep covering this:


original
p. 35

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible

So? There are many approaches to classical hot fusion. Why is this relevant? (I have not cleaned up the OCR text).


See also:

Popular Science, May 13, 2016 Congress Is Suddenly Interested in Cold Fusion

Original request: R E P O R T OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON H.R. 4909 pdf page 123.