infinite energy
new energy foundation
who are we?
apply for grants
donate to nef
infinite energy magazine
  about the magazine
subscribe
subscribe
subscribe
back issues
read ie
author instructions
change of address
contact us
advertising
gene mallove collection
biography
publications
photographs
video
resources
  lenr-canr magazine index in the news
in the news
links
research
  mit and cold fusion report technical references
key experimental data
new energy faq
youtube

 

 

infinite energy
Issue


Issue 65
Jan/Feb 2006
Travel Report for the 12th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ICCF12)
Scott Chubb

Overview of the Conference

Between November 27 and December 2, 2005, 107 scientists, inventors, engineers, journalists, and students from nine countries came together, to meet, socialize, and exchange ideas about cold fusion (CF) and low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), in Yokohama, Japan during ICCF12–the twelfth of a series of international conferences on condensed matter nuclear science. Twenty of the participants were students, while the remaining 87 have been regularly involved with the field. Not unexpectedly, of the people who have been regularly involved, the greatest number (33) came from Japan. Twenty-two were from the United States, ten from Russia, six from Italy and Israel, five from Korea, two from France and China, and one from the Ukraine.

In the past, these conferences have been referred to as the International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF). However, because the phrase "cold fusion" does not accurately describe the relevant science, a decision was made by the local ICCF12 organizing committee, in consultation with the International ICCF advisory committee, that the acronym ICCF would continue to be used, but the wording that would be used in conjunction with the acronym would use the phrase "international conference on condensed matter nuclear science," as opposed to "international conference on cold fusion."

Partly because of the location of ICCF10 (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the venue (as an officially sponsored event at MIT), larger amounts of funding from outside sources were required in order for ICCF10 to take place than in the more recent ICCF conferences. This also resulted in the potential for greater financial liability by the conference organizers. As a consequence, when preliminary plans for future ICCF conferences were formalized during ICCF10 and ICCF11, concerns were raised about funding the event, and no particular group or individual from the United States expressed an interest in sponsoring ICCF13, despite the fact that the informal protocol that had been adopted (in which ICCF conferences had alternated between Europe, Asia, and North America) would have required that ICCF13 take place in North America.

For this reason, during ICCF11 it was suggested that it was not necessary to continue scheduling ICCF conferences based on the existing idea of alternating the location of the conference; so, though the existing agreement would have required that ICCF13 take place in North America, the ICCF advisory committee agreed to an alternative plan: That ICCF13 be held in Russia, during the Fall of 2006 or Spring of 2007. Consistent with the initial plan, however, it was decided that ICCF12 be scheduled in Asia (in Japan) during the fall of 2005, approximately 12 months after ICCF11, which had taken place in Europe in the fall of 2004.

During ICCF12, representatives of the Russian organizing committee for ICCF13 presented preliminary plans, in which it was suggested that it might be preferable to hold the conference in October 2007. Concerns were expressed about the longer period of time (~23 months) that would take place between ICCF conferences, based on this plan. In particular, the International Advisory Committee (IAC) recommended that ICCF13 take place within 18 months of ICCF12 (which would require that it take place during the spring or early summer of 2007).

Because the primary organizer of the Russian effort, Yuri Bazhutov, was unable to attend ICCF12, it was not possible to finalize the schedule for ICCF13. However, the IAC did consider an alternative proposal, proposed by Professor David Nagel (of George Washington University) that was consistent with the guideline of requiring that the conference occur before the late spring or early summer of 2007 and that the subsequent ICCF conference (ICCF14) take place 12 to 18 months after ICCF13. In particular, Professor Nagel proposed that if it does not appear to be feasible for the Russian group to host ICCF13 before October 2007, the Russian group might consider hosting ICCF14 a year later (October 2008), while he would organize ICCF13 for late spring or early summer 2007, in Washington, D.C. Because the idea of holding ICCF13 in Europe (Russia) or Asia (as opposed to North America) had resulted from a tentative modification of the initial protocol, members of the IAC were not adverse to an alternative proposal (consistent with the initial protocol), calling for it to take place in North America.

However, it was decided that Professor Takahashi formally communicate with Yuri Bazhutov and the local organizing committee from Russia by the end of February 2006 about the discussions that had taken place. In particular, the IAC requested that Professor Takahashi point out that the consensus by the IAC was that ICCF13 be scheduled for the spring or early Summer of 2007 and that (as a result of cost, weather, and/or related or additional factors) if an alternative, later time in the calendar year (late summer or early fall) is possibly viewed as preferable in order for it to be held in Russia by the Russian committee, that the committee consider the alternative proposal that they delay hosting an ICCF event until ICCF14, at a time between 12 and 18 months after an ICCF13 meeting in Washington, D.C.

The formal program for ICCF12 is available at numerous sites on the internet: www.iscmns.org, www.iccf12.org, and www.newenergytimes.com/Conf/ICCF12/ICCF12.htm. Because significant progress in explaining and documenting a number of phenomena related to experiments–and in the evolution of experimental techniques that are being employed–has taken place, important information was presented in the oral sessions. As a consequence, these sessions were more focused than in previous ICCF conferences. In particular, speculative talks were presented at the end of the final complete day of the conference, on Thursday, December 1, and during the morning session on Friday, December 2. The remaining talks covered areas that either have been presented before or involved closely related research. These talks focused on existing, ongoing research programs, or work that has evolved over many years.

The program began with a tutorial class on November 27, in which a reasonably well-understood topic (Nuclear Effects in Heavy-Water Systems) was presented by Vittorio Violante, from ENEA, Frascati (Italy), followed by talks by George Miley, Yasuhiro Iwamura, and Akito Takahashi involving newer topics, respectively associated with: 1) Potential Nuclear Effects in "Ordinary Water"; 2) Analyses of Alternative, Potential Sets of Room Temperature Nuclear Processes ("Analyses in Transmutation Experiments"), and 3) a relatively new theory, titled "Fusion Rate Formulas for Bosonized Condensates."

During the next four days, presentations focused on excess heat accompanied by 4He (morning and late afternoon of November 28), transmutation (morning and late afternoon of November 29), nuclear physics effects and approaches (morning of November 30), material science and excess heat (morning of December 1), and excess heat (early afternoon of December 1). During the late afternoon of December 1, topics related to more "conventional" forms of excess heat were also presented, but two additional talks that seem to be related to conventional nuclear physics were presented.

As opposed to most of the recent ICCF conferences, in which the length of time allotted for each invited oral presentation has varied considerably (between 60 minutes for the longest talks and 15 minutes for the shortest talks), the organizers of ICCF12 allotted 30 minutes for each invited talk. These talks were presented each morning and in the late afternoon. People who have been involved with the field or who have suggested potentially useful new ideas gave the invited talks. Poster sessions were scheduled between 2:00 and 3:00 each afternoon. Between 1:30 and 2:00 each afternoon, each poster presenter was allowed to give a short (3 minute) synopsis of the ideas associated with the poster.

Additional Information and Availability of the Proceedings

ICCF12 was sponsored by the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ISCMNS), the Thermal and Electric Energy Technology Foundation (TEET), and the Japan Coherent Fusion Research Society (JCF). Consistent with ICCF10 and ICCF11, the organizers of ICCF12 intend to publish a conference Proceedings, through World Scientific. It is possible to obtain a DVD from the ISCMNS that contains approximately half of the ICCF12 invited talks. A pdf file of one of the more important talks, presented by Yoshiaki Arata, is available on-line (www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/ArataYdevelopmenb.pdf).

General Comments on the Conference

During ICCF12, new evidence was presented that supports an intuitive idea that, beginning as long ago as 1996, has been postulated as being important for initiating excess heat (and possibly other effects): The potential role of crystal size in initiating excess heat and the possibility that excess heat might be triggered more rapidly in smaller crystals. An additional, potentially important theme of a number of talks involved simplifying the loading process by using gas- (as opposed to electrolytic-) loading of deuterium (D) into Pd and (in the case of glow discharge experiments) other metals. Both themes appear to be related to a more general trend: Attempts to simplify particular protocols for initiating excess heat and to understand potential triggering mechanisms. In particular, innovative ideas were presented for overcoming many of the pitfalls and difficulties associated with conventional electrolysis. As a consequence, results from a number of new, novel, simplified procedures involving gas-loading, low power glow discharge, and modified forms of electrolysis (solid, basic, or acidic) were presented, in which one or more problems associated with the conventional Pons-Fleischmann electrolytic loading procedures were eliminated.

Results associated with experiments involving potential transmutations also were presented. However, with the exception of the work by Vladimir Vysotskii and his collaborators, involving possible transmutations in living organisms, these presentations focused primarily on efforts to reproduce or understand the results of Iwamura et al. Thus, as opposed to the situation during ICCF11 and ICCF10, in which a number of untested ideas and experiments were presented concerning possible transmutations, during ICCF12 the associated results were considerably more focused.

A number of additional, novel results involving alternative forms of loading and higher energy effects were presented, including a presentation that summarized an episode involving an explosion, associated with a glow discharge experiment (reported by Tadahiko Mizuno), and experiments in which high energy alpha particle and proton emission were observed after hydrogen (H) or deuterium (D) is gas-loaded into Pd/PdO compounds (reported by Andrei Lipson and Alexi Roussetski) and the emission of coherent X-rays, during high-current glow discharge experiments (reported by Alexander Karabut).

Important Excess Heat/Helium Experiments

Yoshiaki Arata presented the most important talk of ICCF12. In it, he described an important breakthrough, involving a variant of the conventional "double-structure" (DS) cell that he and Y-C. Zhang used previously to produce excess heat, helium-4, and helium-3 (Proc. Jap. Acad. B, 73, 62-7 (1997), Proc. Jap. Acad. B, 73, 1-6 (1997)), involving gas- (as opposed to electrolytic-) loading. An important observation, which helped them make this breakthrough, is that the key heat-producing reaction takes place in regions that contain smaller (Pd-black) particles that were separated from the portions of their cells that involved electrolysis. They also made a second important observation, involving the identification of a protocol, from their initial DS cell work: That it is possible to create extremely high pressures of D2 gas (> 10,000 atmospheres) electrolytically, in regions that are not directly related to the production of heat.

These observations enabled Arata and Zhang to distinguish between the process of effectively creating an electrolytic pump for loading D2 gas into a particular region of space (which they inferred from the behavior of their DS cathode) from the process of creating excess heat. In particular, they used the associated pump to load D2 gas into chambers containing Pd-black and other (nano-scale) forms of Pd. They found that the (smaller) nano-scale dimension materials triggered heat production considerably more effectively.

The next most important results were presented in two related presentations, associated with work at the Israeli company Energetics, Ltd. and the Italian IFN Laboratory, ENEA, Frascati. In the first of these talks, Arik El-Boher from Energetics provided a detailed discussion of new results associated with a loading technique, described initially at ICCF10 and subsequently at ICCF11, that apparently also can be used to create excess heat in a nearly reproducible fashion. The innovative step in their work that appears to make this possible involves a form of non-linear pulsing of the applied voltages that are used to load the electrode (either in electrolytic loading or in glow discharge experiments).

Apparently, as opposed to using either standing waves or a constant, DC applied voltage, by creating a non-linear, superposition of different waves during the pulsing process, many different frequencies are constructed and used to force D into a Pd substrate electrolytically or (in glow-discharge experiments) in an ionized, gaseous form (which is created by passing currents through a D+ plasma), into a Pd metal substrate. The associated waves (which El-Boher has referred to in the past as "Super-Waves") impart momentum to the heavy water (D+ plasma) in the electrolytic (and/or glow-discharge) experiments, in a time-dependent manner that includes many different frequency components.

Empirically, the Israeli group has found the "Super-Waves" appear to induce considerable variations in loading, and it is possible to obtain high loading in tens of seconds electrolytically (as opposed to loading times of tens to hundreds of hours that are frequently required in more conventional, electrolytic procedures). Both during ICCF11 and ICCF12, in the electrolytic experiments, the Israeli group also reported large amounts of excess power (in which output power is as much as 25 times larger than input power), and the phenomenon of "heat after death" (in which excess power continues, in the absence of an electrolyte). During ICCF11, El-Boher reported that they had found tritium in one of their electrolytic experiments. During ICCF12, El-Boher reported significant improvements in their ability to reproduce excess heat. In particular, he reported that they could reproduce excess heat, effectively, with an efficiency of approximately 80% (eight out of ten times). Beginning during ICCF11, and continuing to the present time, Energetics has been involved with collaborations involving the Italian IFN Laboratory, ENEA, Frascati, and SRI. In particular, Energetics has been using electrodes that were provided by Vittorio Violante from IFN, ENEA Frascati, Italy (http://www.frascati.enea.it/nhe/index-eng.htm).

Underlying much of the successful effort at ENEA for creating excess heat (which they claim they are now able to produce 100% of the time, provided particular criteria are satisfied) is a research strategy that is based on the assumption that it is necessary to understand important attributes of the materials (and the associated material science) and behavior of the electrolytic cells in order to reproduce the associated effect. For this reason, at ENEA, scientists have performed detailed analyses of the material properties and structure of the electrode materials that are used in their experiments.

Vittorio Violante, who is the senior scientist associated with the work, described the efforts to understand materials preparation during ICCF11, and an analysis of the thermal transport properties of their cells during ICCF12. The associated analysis and measurements are being carried out at the official ENEA Cold Fusion Laboratory. In particular, during ICCF11 Violante emphasized that to reproducibly generate excess heat, it is necessary to understand the conditions for reproducibly achieving high loading. He also emphasized that the conditions for achieving high loading in deuterated metals: 1) Are controlled by equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena; and 2) Are impeded by self-induced stress, resulting from concentration gradients in deuterium at the surface, during loading, which can significantly reduce deuterium solubility and, as a consequence, reduce loading. Since ICCF11, considerable progress has been made in actually simulating the heat flux and thermal diffusion in their cells, including a detailed analysis of the electrolyte-surface interface of the electrolytic cells, based on a two fluid model, involving different fluid densities and viscosities, within the context of a steady state limit, with negligible changes in mass and pressure at the interface. These efforts have demonstrated the importance of including a realistic model of the fluid dynamics at the interface and have provided a procedure for understanding the effects of changes in the surface environment on the behavior of their cells. A major focus of the ENEA materials research effort has been to identify procedures (for example, annealing and cold-working the materials at particular temperatures) for minimizing self-induced stress. During ICCF12, Violante showed a new "double-structure" cell for producing excess heat, using laser irradiation (at 690 nm wavelength).

In particular, similar to results obtained by other groups and reported during ICCF10 and ICCF11, Violante et al. have found they can trigger excess heat by optically irradiating their electrodes with a laser, at relatively low (33 mW) power, tuned to a particular (.635 micron) frequency. (They also alternately switched the current, and loading, between higher and lower values.) After applying these stimuli, they were able to obtain excess heat each time, during each of three experiments during ICCF11. During ICCF12, Violante provided additional details associated with work with the new cell. They found that the amount of extra 4He and excess heat in each of these experiments is consistent with a result found at SRI (and elsewhere): That the amount of additional (excess) heat energy that is observed equals one to two times the amount of energy that results from the product of the total number of additional 4He atoms that are observed outside the electrode with the energy release (23.8 MeV) that would occur if all of the energy associated with the d+d --> 4He fusion reaction is converted directly into heat. (At SRI, Mike McKubre and his co-workers have shown that, depending on the material properties of the electrodes that are used in electrolytic experiments, the excess heat can be expected to be larger than the amount associated with 4He, found outside the electrode, because an approximately comparable amount of 4He can be expected to remain trapped inside the cathode.)

An additional interesting, new result associated with excess heat was reported by John Dash, involving additions of small amounts of Ti into an acidic solution (H2O+H2SO4) that was used during the electrolysis (by Pd) in a novel configuration of the form, Pt|H2O+H2SO4|Pd. In particular, the introduction of small amounts of Ti led to excess heat.

Important Transmutation Presentations

Yasuhiro Iwamura (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) presented more data on transmutations of Cs to Pr, Ba to Sm, and Sr to Mo. Because the amounts of material are small, it is essential that careful experiments be conducted using sufficient X-ray fluxes to insure that quantitative bounds can be established for the associated changes in composition. Iwamura partially confirmed that these kinds of studies are being conducted, using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, at the Spring-8 synchrotron facility. These XRF studies included a detailed analysis of surface morphology using the Spring-8 synchrotron microbeam (defined by an initial 100 x 100 micron, resolution, image), analyzed with varying degrees of resolution and XRF spectra. The "apparent" transmutations occurred in small concentrated sites within this image. An important point is that the most compelling evidence for transmutation in these experiments is the near simultaneous appearance of new elements (for example, Pr in the Cs --> Pr case, and Mo in the Sr --> Mo case), accompanied by the depletion of elements (Cs and Sr), involving a reduction of four protons and four neutrons. Although the work involving XRF spectra did not precisely mimic the earlier X-ray photoemission studies, the distribution of potential by-products occurred at particular locations that are difficult to explain, based on a quasi-random model of impurity diffusion. Thus, although the associated findings were not conclusive, they were quite convincing in suggesting that nuclear transmutations were involved. The Iwamura team also found evidence for La also being produced in the Cs--> Pr experiment.

Variants of this approach were presented by Narita, A. Kitamura, and H. Yamada. Although Narita and Yamada were unable to "reproduce" the Iwamura effect precisely, part of the reason for this probably involved differences in the procedures that were used. Yamada seems to have included an important step involving the use of a composite multi-layer, structure, including CaO, layers. Yamada also included Cs, on Pd, in a manner that appeared to be similar to the Iwamura work. However, high pressure D2 was used. It also is not clear if the loading was performed at the same temperature (70) that was used by Iwamura. The procedures followed by Narita deviated even more significantly from the procedures used by Iwamura. In particular, as opposed to using a flux of D2, at room temperature in a quasi-equilibrium situation, Narita and co-workers performed discharge experiments (with energies <~10 keV). They also used a Pd/CaO/Pd sandwich structure for their cathode, but, again, their detailed procedure was significantly different from the procedure followed by Iwamura. Thus, although in both the Yamada et al. and Narita et al. experiments evidence of anomalous elements appearing in their electrodes was found, the findings deviated significantly from those obtained by Iwamura et al.

An important point is that the most convincing results from the Iwamura et al. work resulted from the X-ray photoemission spectra. In particular, these results show, effectively, that a significant correlation occurs between the appearance of new material (Pr or Mo) and the disappearance of material (Cs or Sr) initially present at the surface of the Pd. Neither Narita et al. or Yamada et al. presented results that are as convincing. In particular, in both of these newer experiments, the possibility that forms of impurity migration might account for their transmutation claims can not be ruled out. An important reason for the very different results found in both experiments involves the very different procedures that they used, and both of these procedures also deviated significantly from the procedures followed by Iwamura.

In a poster presentation, Kitamura (Kobe University) also reported results from experiments involving attempts to reproduce the Iwamura et al. effects. In their work, a number of additional probes using higher energy particles were used (including Rutherford backscatter spectra, for example), in addition to X-ray photoemission spectra (XPS). Tom Dolan reported that this group claimed to see a form of transmutation of Sr into Mo, similar to one of the transmutation effects observed by Iwamura. In the abstract to the meeting, Kitamura reported that preliminary work involved placing the Cs on the opposite side (away from the D2). Dolan reported that in their poster they had repeated the experiments using Sr, with Sr-coated films, also placed on the vacuum side and that they found evidence of the same kind of effect (associated with Sr) in which the number of Sr atoms is reduced (atom-for-atom, within the accuracy of the measurements) as the number of Mo atoms increases, which suggests that the same kind of reaction that was observed in the Iwamura work is taking place, in which Sr is converted into Mo through the addition of four protons and four neutrons (possibly involving four deuterons): Sr+4p+4n--> Mo.

Irina Savvatimova (LUCH Institute, Podolsk, Russia) reported a number of remarkable results from low-energy plasma glow discharge experiments (with 300-1,000 voltages and 5-150 mA current) involving H and D ions. The results included correlation with potential transmutations and the location of particular "hot spots" on the surfaces of the electrodes. She found "enormous" deviations in the isotopic ratios from those that naturally occur for Mg, Si, K, S, Ca, and Fe after D glow discharge in Pd and evidence that irradiation in the discharge induces structural/mechanical impurity increases.

Particle Emission Studies

In the past, J. Kasagi has found unexpectedly large fusion rates and cross-sections in experiments involving collisions that result when lower energy (<10 keV) deuterons (d’s) collide with Ti targets that contain D. During ICCF12, he discussed new results associated with d+d reactions in different materials and evidence for multi-body d+d+d reactions. The new solids included Pd and PdO, and new Li+D reactions in Pd, PdO, and Au (Kasagi et al., J. Phys. Soc. Jpn., 73 (2004) 608), at lower (~1 KeV) energies than those that are used in most conventional nuclear fusion experiments. His group also investigated Li+D reactions in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of Li. He began by providing some background about his previous work involving D+D reactions in metals. In particular, he previously found that the D+D nuclear fusion reaction rate in metals can be strongly enhanced, in some cases by as much as a factor of ~100, at incident, kinetic energies of ~1 KeV. The enhancement implies a considerably larger screening energy, V. (He has found that V can be as large as 300 eV.)

He suggested that this extrapolation (based on the standard Gamow tunneling model) to the larger screening energies implies that in the limit of vanishing incident kinetic energy, fusion rates per unit volume could be as large as 109 cc/sec. His motivation for investigating D+Li (as opposed to D+D) was to see how the presence of a target (Li) with a higher atomic number in the metal potentially could alter the screening energy. He found that when D ions bombard Pd-Li or Au-Li alloys, the Li+D screening energy is significantly enhanced, as in the D+D case, but he has been able to perform the extrapolation (and scaling) only qualitatively.

Kasahi offered a number of speculations about the physics associated with his observations. In particular, he suggested that the D within the target might have appreciable momentum, possibly through an effective form of coherence, which he suggested could result in the D’s effectively behaving as if they have an extremely "heavy mass." He said that the largest effect occurred in PdO. He emphasized the fact that more precise information (potentially through a multiple-scattering analysis) about the behavior of the target nuclei is required and that studies of similar collisions in many different host materials, at these energies, are required to gain some understanding of the underlying phenomena.

Andrei Lipson and Alexi Roussetski presented remarkable results, in which potential high energy proton and alpha particle emission was observed in experiments involving H- and D-desorption from PdO/Pd hetero-structures. In particular, through a novel analysis of the time history of track etching in CR-39 detectors that were used to detect particles potentially emitted from the PdO/Pd samples and from comparable etchings observed after the detectors were exposed to well-calibrated sources of alpha particles and protons, Roussetski unambiguously demonstrated that he could identify alpha emissions from the samples, possessing energies between 11 and 16 MeV and proton emissions with energies between 1 and 1.5 MeV. Using the same kind of technique, but with D (as opposed to H) desorption, in addition to finding 11-16 MeV alpha particle emission, Lipson found a "highly reproducible signal involving protons" but at a different energy (~3 MeV) which is consistent with the proton emission that is expected in the conventional (hot fusion) d+d --> t+p reaction.

As alluded to above, Tadahiko Mizuno (Hokkaido University) described the history and effects involved with a particular glow discharge experiment that apparently led to a form of non-linear, run-away event, in which the cathode overheated and exploded. He inferred, from details associated with the explosion, that from an initial energy of 300 J, the discharge induced energy (in the form output heat plus explosion energy) of approximately 0.24 MJ. Although it was difficult to isolate potential artifacts involving possible migration of material from regions external to the experiment and from materials that could be relevant to transmutation reactions associated with the experiment, as a result of the explosion, he inferred that anomalous deposits of Ca, S, and other elements appeared on his tungsten cathode, distributed in a manner that was similar to the way other anomalous materials were distributed in some of his earlier experiments. As in most situations involving LENR, he observed no appreciable radioactivity or high energy particles.

Glow Discharge/Gas-Loading Experiments

There were a number of glow discharge experiments, besides the ones that were conducted by Energetics and Mizuno. Domenico Cirillo, Alessandro Dattilo, and V. Iorio (from Italy) gave a talk in which they suggested that there were a number of transmutations (Re, Os, Au, Tl, Tm, Hf, Yb, Er, Ca) in their glow discharge experiments (similar to Mizuno’s), involving a plasma formed from a normal water/K2CO3 electrolyte, between a W cathode and a K anode.

Thomas Benson and Thomas Passell (both of D2 Fusion, Inc.) presented preliminary results in a poster and in a talk associated with using glow discharge devices. In the poster, a particular device modeled after the ones used by Energetics to obtain excess heat was presented, involving cathodes made from various metals and a variety of nano-scale structures formed from the materials. In the talk, Tom Passell described a new, simplified glow discharge device, involving small (.69 W) input power with slightly greater (.79 W) output power, discharged in a low pressure (2-20 T) D2 gas. In additional work on glow-discharge, reported by Tom Dolan, a poster was presented by V.A. Romadonov (LUCH Research Institute, Podolsk, Russia), in which attempts were made to find gamma ray and neutron emission from a glow discharge device. In their experiments, they used procedures that they have published in papers at www.lenr-canr.org. Not unexpectedly, they found no evidence of "fast" or "slow" neutrons. They speculated they had observed gamma rays from a potential transmutation of 55Mn to 56Mn.

Alexander Karabut (also from the LUCH Research Institute) presented two posters involving glow discharge experiments. In the first poster, he described experiments, carried out over a long period of time, involving discharges of either H2 or D2 in the presence of an isolated Pd cathode, or discharges of noble gases (Ar, Xe, or Kr) in the presence of Pd that has been previously charged with D, using pulsed currents (up to 500 mA) and discharge voltages between 500-2,500 V, with cathode samples of Pd, in which the pulse period, pulse duration, and value of discharge current were changed. Also, in these experiments, initial, gas pressures up to 10 Torr were used. He found excess power (10 — 15 W) with an efficiency (ratio of output power/input power) of ~150%, using a Pd cathode and D2 discharge. He also found that the discharge process released as much as ~5 W excess power with an efficiency of ~150% by discharging Xe, using Pd that had been previously charged with D.

In his second poster, Karabut described similar experiments, in which H2, D2, or Kr2 was discharged in the presence of a number of different cathode samples (made from Al, Sc, Ti, Ni, Nb, Zr, Mo, Pd, Ta, W, Pt), again with pulsed currents (again up to 500 mA) and discharge voltages in the same (500-2,500 V) range. In an invited talk (alluded to above), he observed X-rays that apparently were being created through processes that were initiated during the discharge process but persisted for periods as long as 0.1 s after the discharge current had been turned off. The associated process appears to result in the generation of coherent "beams" of X-rays (104 beams per second and 109 photons per beam) that he suggests involve a form of X-ray lasing phenomenon. (He explicitly referred to the beams as being the output of an X-ray laser.)

Additional Gas-Loading Experiments

Xing Zhong Li (Tsinghua University) presented a talk in which he described gas-loading experiments performed in his group, involving fluxes of D2 alone or diffuse mixtures of D2/H2 into a small Pd disk (similar to the kind of disk used in the Iwamura experiments). This work was motivated by an early publication by C. Fralick (from Nasa Lewis, in December 1989), in which it was reported that in gas-loading experiments, involving D2 in Pd at elevated temperatures (~380C), excess heat was produced when a net flux of D2 gas passes through the Pd. The gas is loaded into the Pd from either of two external regions in Li’s and Fralick’s experiments. (As in the Iwamura experiments, the Pd disk is placed along the boundary between two distinctly different volumes of gas.) Effectively, a net flux of D2 passes from one external region to the other after each D2 molecule dissociates at one side of the Pd, moves through the Pd, and recombines after it leaves the other side of the Pd. The amount and direction of the flux is controlled by differences in temperature or pressure between the two external regions. By changing the amount of D2 in the different regions, as a result of passing the gas through the Pd, it was possible to initiate excess heat. In particular, by reducing the pressure and externally-applied heat, it was found that the temperature of the sample would actually increase. (In the absence of LENR, such an increase in temperature violates the second law of thermodynamics.) Li and his group repeated a similar experiment and have documented their results (J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 36, 3095 (2003)). Besides finding excess heat, Li reported that they also looked for tritium. Preliminary results suggest tritium may have been produced.

Andrei Lipson reported additional results involving loading and deloading of H into PdO that indicate the onset of a potential 70K (and possibly higher temperature) form of superconductivity. The experiments involved thin PdO films that were cyclically loaded and deloaded with small amounts of H. In particular, beginning from thin (12.5 micron) Pd foils in the presence of thermally adsorbed O, Lipson repetitively introduced and removed residual H from the sample electrolytically. Typical loading involved values of x~0.003 (in PdHxO). Here, through the electrolytic recycling process, it was possible to infer that some of the residual H was trapped in deep, dislocation core sites. In particular, precision measurements of the quantity of residual H that remained trapped in the sample were performed, in a high vacuum. From detailed analyses of the temperature dependence of the deloading process, it was possible to estimate the desorption energy required to release the H. In particular, a significant amount was released at 430 (corresponding to a desorption energy of ~0.05 eV). Standard metallurgical arguments were used to infer that locally within each dislocation core, high loading (x~1.8 in PdHx) took place. Measurements of resistance and magnetic susceptibility were performed that confirmed that a form of diamagnetic response and conductivity were present that are consistent with the onset of a form of type-II superconductivity at 70K, through a highly anisotropic form of conduction (and electron-phonon coupling).

Other Loading Experiments

Motivated partly by Arata’s suggestion that nano-scale materials could be important, and partly by the possibility that similar nano-structures might be playing a role in the Iwamura transmutation experiments, Francesco Celani and his collaborators (Frascati, Italy) developed a procedure for creating extremely thin (~nano-scale like) silicate coatings on "thin" (50 micron) Pd wires by immersing a PdO wire (formed by effectively annealing Pd in air) in a colloidal silica. The resulting structures were capable of achieving high loading in very short times (~hundreds of seconds). The associated analysis has provided an important guideline for achieving high-loading, using simpler procedures, involving particular (alternative) choices of electrolyte.

Mike McKubre (SRI) clarified the history of a particular technique of measuring loading of D into Pd that he and his collaborators at SRI have used to establish a correlation between high loading (x>0.85, in PdDx) and excess heat. In particular, initially the importance of high loading in cold fusion was inferred from measurements of the net increase of mass that occurs with loading, as well as the relatively new, alternative form of measurement that SRI developed, which involves measurements of changes in resistance of applied current, as a function of loading. The SRI procedure is based on the observation that the conduction in PdDx decreases with increasing values of x until a peak value of the resistance R is obtained (referred to as the Baranowski Peak–a term that McKubre coined during ICCF4, in 1993), which occurs near the optimal equilibrium loading of H (x=0.4) or D (x=0.6) into Pd, followed by a decline in R that appears to approach an asymptotic limit (near x=1) in which the values of R (in PdD) approach the value of the resistance Ro of Pd. Although this measurement procedure, which appeared to be reasonable at the time it was first introduced, had not been used previously, no one seriously questioned how it was discovered or its accuracy.

In fact, the associated measurement procedure evolved from a relatively new idea that was actually based on a working hypothesis that McKubre (and his collaborators at SRI) formulated during the early 1990s. After the fact, not only has this relationship been accepted, loading measurements based on this procedure have proven to be more useful (for predicting the onset of excess heat) than other, alternative procedures (for example, through measurements of changes in mass). However, it was not at all obvious when McKubre and his collaborators used this hypothesis, initially, that it would be so useful.

The initial SRI model for measuring loading, using the ratio, R/Ro, was based on an approximate calibration curve, inferred from a "best guess" of the loading that is required to maximize R/Ro and a second estimate of the magnitude of the corresponding (peak) value of R/Ro. (At the time that loading measurements were presented for the first time, during ICCF4, using this procedure, measurements of R/Ro as function of loading, x, had been performed for values of x above and below the value where R/Ro has its maximum value. But the values of x and R/Ro at the maximum had not been determined.) But the SRI group inferred from the relatively new idea developed by Baranowski (J. Less Mommon Met., 158. 347 (1990)), for measuring loading in PdH, using R/Ro, that a similar procedure probably could be used to measure loading of D in PdDx. And they used this procedure to infer that high-loading (x>0.85 in PdDx) was necessary in order to create excess heat. Subsequently, additional work performed by McKubre and his group at SRI (S. Crouch-Baker et al., Z. fur Physikalische Chemie, 204, S. 247-254 (1998)) refined the earlier calibration curve.

On the final day of ICCF12, Jean-Paul Biberian described a new form of excess heat experiment involving electrolysis of deuterated phosphoric acid with Pd electrodes, using a solid state electrolyte in deuterium gas. As in Li’s earlier talk, the underlying idea that motivated this work was the NASA Lewis 1989 report by Fralick (C. Fralick, NASA Technical Memorandum, 102430, December 1989).

Innovative Energy Solutions Incorporated (iESi)

On December 1, Steve Krivit (New Energy Times) gave a talk, in which he described new technology that is being developed by a new company, Innovative Energy Solutions, Incorporated (iESi). In particular, employees of iESi claim they have produced large amounts of excess power and energy from an unknown, new process that other scientists have suggested might be related to LENR and to cold fusion. Krivit, who is a scientific journalist, visited iESi at the time of a meeting involving iESi scientists and a number of prominent scientists from the LENR community. During the meeting, which took place in July 2005 in Edmonton, Alberta, iESi scientists gave a demonstration of their process. Steve Krivit made a video of portions of the demo, which he showed during his talk. Immediately following Krivit’s presentation, Vladimir Vysotskii presented a working hypothesis of the physical effects associated with the process: That the excess heat is the result of some form of reaction in which a single proton combines with 11B to form three 4He nuclei. Although inconsistent with conventional nuclear physics, this reaction is not forbidden. Krivit also identified the key group of scientists, including Hyunik Yang and A. Koldomasov, associated with the iESi effort.

The basic claim by this group is that it is possible to create excess power from a mechanical cavitation process that forces oil through a nozzle into a confined space that directly creates large amounts of electricity through cavitation. One claim is that the output power from this process, which is as much as 100,000 times as great as the output power from any LENR experiment, does include excess power. But the input power is also considerably larger (~20,000-100,000 times larger) than any input power that has been used previously in any LENR experiment. Because of the large amounts of power that are used, it is difficult to determine if excess power is really being produced. Prior to the conference, rumors about the claims by iESi spread throughout the cold fusion community and were mentioned in the popular press. But no formal presentations had been given, prior to Krivit’s talk at an earlier scientific meeting, associated with the iESi results. To date, iESi has not provided data, including measurements of heat or a potential nuclear by-product, published information about their data or process in the open scientific literature or in patents, presented information about their process at scientific meetings, or (even informally) distributed information about their process to individuals who have not signed a non-disclosure agreement with iESi.

In response to Krivit’s videotape, Tom Dolan provided the following narrative: "A boron-doped oil at 30 atm appeared to have a color that is tawny; and that at over 40 atm, it is white; while at over 60 atm it is clear, with a plasma jet downstream of the orifice. At 70-80 atm, there is a bright blue beam 6 mm in diameter, and at over 90 atm a green glow appears upstream of the orifice. Hard X-rays were observed from the luminous region. The researchers claim that excess heat is generated from fusion reactions (possibly protons plus boron-11) during the collapse of cavitation bubbles, and they [claim to have] detected He-4 emission lines from the cavitating fluid."

Martin Fleischmann attended the July demonstration. Afterwards, I asked him what he thought about the process. He said, "There were a lot of sparks." And by inference, I think he was suggesting in this comment that it was not clear at all if anything in the iESi process involved LENR, including the creation of excess heat through a process that does not result in the emission of high energy particles. It is conceivable that a more conventional form of nuclear reaction (involving gamma ray or other high energy particle emission) might be initiated through the process.

In response to the video, however, Talbot Chubb was skeptical about this possibility. In particular, Talbot Chubb pointed out that because of the large amounts of electricity that were being produced, he was suspicious about comments made by one of the iESi scientists concerning gamma rays. In particular, the scientist suggested that when a particular gamma ray detector was moved away from the location where the process was assumed to be taking place, the detector indicated a reduction in gamma ray flux. Talbot Chubb suggested an alternative possibility: That the large electrical fields that were being produced through the process could trigger cascade effects in the semi-conductors in the detector that could result in spurious signals in the detector, associated with electrical noise, as opposed to gamma rays. The slide presentation of Steve Krivit is available at http://newenergytimes.com/Library/2005KrivitS-ICCF12-Presentation.pdf. A 20-minute video file of the talk can also be downloaded, requiring Windows Media Player:

http://interface.audiovideoweb.com/lnk/ca25win25198/ICCF12/KRIVIT-ICCF12.wmv/play.asx.

Theory

As in the past, I have decided that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on theory, except to suggest that progress is being made. I do this not only because I have been involved in a personal way with a particular theory, but also because in the limited space that is available, I really could not do justice to the excellent work that has taken place in this area. I do note in passing, however, that Akito Takahashi did provide a nice review of the existing ideas that appear to have value and his assessment will probably appear in the Proceedings of ICCF12. I did provide a very limited assessment in the report (Technical Report 1862, Space Warfare Systems, Center, available at www.lenr-canr.org) that describes my ideas of what might be appropriate in a useful theory of LENR.

Conclusion/Acknowledgement

It is too early to judge how and to what degree this particular conference will affect cold fusion and LENR. However, it is clear that the information presented during ICCF12 and in the ICCF12 Proceedings will have an impact. Within this context, it is especially nice to identify, acknowledge, and thank people who have helped to alter the dynamic associated with discussions of this highly controversial area of science, including all of the participants of ICCF10, ICCF11, and ICCF12. I would also like to acknowledge financial assistance from Talbot Chubb and the New Energy Foundation, which enabled me to attend ICCF12. I would also like to thank my wife, Anne Pond, for allowing me to attend the conference, during an especially stressful time for our family. I would also like to thank Tom Dolan for providing a copy of a travel report that he prepared, which included useful information that I have included in this article, and Steve Krivit for providing photographs and additional material.




Copyright © 2014-2015. All rights reserved. E-mail: staff@infinite-energy.com