Paper submitted to Rev. Modern Physics and rejected because it discussed cold fusion (see letter at end). Eventually published in Infinite Energy 4, 21 (1998) 16.
A collection of recent studies of what is incorrectly called
"Cold Fusion" shows the present status of the phenomenon and
provides some explanations for the claims. An understanding of many
claims continues to improve while new discoveries still challenge the
most creative theories. A case is made to support a new field of study
involving chemically assisted nuclear reactions.
Nucleons and electrons are separated by vast differences in energy
and in the time needed for its release. As a result, chemistry and
nuclear physics occupy two different worlds. Observations of Profs.
Stanley Pons, Martin Fleischmann, and Mr. M. Hawkins(University of Utah)
and independently by Prof. Steven Jones et al.(BYU),
suggest that a bridge exists between these two worlds. Thus was born
what is conventionally called "Cold Fusion", an unfortunate
name. Because no accepted theory properly supports the claims and
because much experimental data were poorly presented and hard to
duplicate, most scientists continue to reject the notion. Adding to the
difficulty is the conflict between the picture of nature these claims
would imply and the dearly held conventional understanding.
In spite of good reasons for skepticism, a few scientists succeeded
in duplicating the observations. Many of these studies are on going at
the present time, especially outside of the U.S. This world-wide effort
is underway in at least eight countries involving hundreds of scientists
and hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Very persuasive results
supporting the initial claims, as well as many new ones, have created a
need for a fresh look.
Because the phenomenon combines solid-state chemistry and nuclear
physics, the backgrounds and expectations of potential readers are
vastly different. Consequently, a level of detail required to be
persuasive to everyone is not possible in a brief review. So, only a
sampling of experimental observations and theoretical models are
presented to give a general background. I hope the reader will take the
trouble to read other sources of information before reaching a
conclusion. Unfortunately, much of the supporting evidence is still
published only in conference proceedings because many scientific
journals have been reluctant to publish papers about the subject.
Consequently, peer reviewed information, the core of conventional
scientific evaluation, is largely missing. The reader will, to some
extent, have to evaluate some of the claims using their own good
judgment. Six books describe the history of the field, some with
and some containing serious distortions[7,8].
Several general, peer reviewed scientific reviews are available[9-12].
These sources can be consulted to understand the background, both pro
and con. A complete bibliography can be obtained from Dieter Britz 
or Hal Fox .
Over 2000 publications now address issues related to the field.
The field has expanded beyond the original claims and can now be
called "Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reactions" (CANR) instead
of "Cold Fusion". Production of anomalous energy far in excess
of any conventional chemical source, production of many elements not
present in the original environment, and production of radiation that
can only result from nuclear reactions are all characteristic of the
field. Each is found to occur in a variety of materials using numerous
techniques when deuterium as well as normal hydrogen are present. The
nuclear products include helium, tritium, and various isotopes resulting
from several types of transmutation. Radiation in the form of neutrons,
gamma rays, X-rays and charged particles have been detected, all at very
low levels compared to the rate at which energy is produced. A change in
radioactive decay rate of tritium, produced by the physical environment,
also has been proposed.
The extraordinary nature of this growing list adds to the challenge
of presenting a review that encompasses the entire field without
sounding so incredible to cause alienation of the reader.
To understand CANR, we need to address the issue of why the claims
have been so hard to believe. Disbelief is based on the experimental
results being inadequate and in conflict with conventional understanding
of nuclear interaction. In addition, many failures to produce excess
energy, especially those at several high-profile institutions[16,17,18],
gave the impression that the phenomenon could not be reproduced at will.
At one time this was true. As the variables have been better understood,
success in producing energy as well as nuclear products has improved.
Certain methods and results are now highly reproducible in the hands of
skilled experimenters. Many negative results are known to be caused by
failure to understand and control important variables. For example, the
effect will not occur in an electrolytic cell using a palladium cathode
when too much light water (H2O) is present in the heavy-water
(D2O). Many early studies used open cells which readily
absorbed H2O from the atmosphere. Added to these experimental
problems, is the highly variable nature of palladium such that only a
small number of samples will have the necessary characteristics. Of
course, random error can still play a role, but a growing understanding
indicates error is not the main cause of positive results. Several of
the better done studies will be described in detail.
Scientists quite rightly have asked to be shown nuclear products
along with energy production before a nuclear source is accepted. This
request has now been honored with the detection of helium (4He)
by several laboratories, as described in a later section. In addition, a
growing body of data now support production of several nonradioactive
nuclear products not associated with a fusion reaction, so-called
transmutation products. Detection of such products is claimed in several
vastly different chemical environments including, surprisingly, living
systems. Of course, some of these claims have simple explanations, but
When conventional methods are used to produce fusion at high
temperatures in a gas plasma, in the Tokamak for example, neutrons and
tritium are produced in equal amounts and at high levels. Such
expectations fueled early efforts to detect these products during CANR.
Lack of success added to widespread skepticism but also demonstrated
that whatever occurs is not conventional fusion. CANR apparently does
not generate these products in the expected ratio or quantities. Indeed,
anomalous heat is seldom associated with tritium production and very few
neutrons are detected. These contrasting behaviors are summarized in
Tritium is one isotope whose presence is difficult to mistake. If its
formation by CANR can be demonstrated, a powerful support for the
general idea would exist. For this approach to be successful, the
tritium must be shown not to result from another process. The detected
tritium could have entered the cell from the environment or be a
contaminate in palladium, two of the more common reasons given for
rejecting the nuclear explanation. However, tritium has been produced in
such large quantities and in such isolated environments to make such
prosaic explanations very difficult to support. Except in certain areas
of government laboratories, tritium is very rare indeed. Numerous
studies have shown that commercial palladium does not contain
Therefore, it is no longer appropriate to dismiss tritium claims as
being caused by contaminated palladium. These arguments will be
developed in more detail in a later section (Section 2.2.1).
THE NATURE OF THE FUSION REACTION
Fraction of Product with Resulting Energy shown for Hot and Cold
||HOT FUSION (>2keV)
||COLD FUSION (<1eV)
|t(1.0 MeV + p(3.05 MeV)
3He(0.83 MeV) + n(2.45 MeV)
|4He + g(24 MeV)
|d+t = 4He + n(14 MeV)
Although neutron emission is well below the expected rate, it is not
completely absent. Many studies have detected small emissions with
energies corresponding to the conventional fusion reaction as well as
neutrons produced by other sources. Because the emission rates are close
to background and are erratic, much doubt still remains as to their
Helium-4 production in a hot plasma by fusion is rare and always
accompanied by 24 MeV gamma emission. Absence of this radiation is a
major reason why many people reject this claim when applied to CANR.
They fail to consider at least five other reactions which result in
helium without accompanying gamma radiation, as listed in Table 2. Each
of these reactions has a theoretical basis and, in a few cases, some
experimental support. Therefore, helium cannot be rejected as a nuclear
product just because gamma radiation is absent.
Well established theory predicts that the coulomb barrier can not be
overcome using the small energies available within a chemical structure.
Clearly, if fusion or any other nuclear reaction is to occur at all, a
mechanism must exist that does not require high energy, that does not
produce the usual reaction paths, and that is able to absorb the
resulting nuclear energy without significant radiation. This is a lot to
ask of any process. To make matters worse, energy production from light
hydrogen and the newly discovered transmutation reactions introduce a
whole new set of problems that tax any explanation. We can either accept
the conventional viewpoint and throw out all experimental observations
involving CANR, or we can search for new theories that consider the
novel characteristics of the chemical environment while keeping most
claims. In other words, the results obtained at high energy are correct
for the environment in which they were obtained, and the CANR results
are also correct for their environment. Most of the new explanations
take this approach. No lack of possibilities exist. A few will be
discussed later in the paper. The challenge is to demonstrate which one,
if any, is correct. Although it is satisfying to believe one explanation
fits all, the increasing variety of nuclear reactions and chemical
environments make this approach increasingly difficult to justify.
Reactions Producing Helium with No Gamma Emission
1. Multiple fusion to produce helium
d + d + d = 4He + d
d + d + d + d = 2 4He
2. Reaction with boron impurity to produce helium
d + 10B= 4He + 8Be
8Be = 2 4He
3. Reaction with lithium impurity to produce helium
d + 6Li = 8Be = 2 4He
4. Fusion with a metal leading to alpha decay
d + nM = a + (n-2)M
5. Collapse of deuterium atom to produce beta decay and helium
d + e- = 2n
2n + d = 4H = 4He + e-
The CANR phenomena has expanded from simple electrolytic loading of
palladium and titanium with deuterium to include the methods listed in
Table 3. Each method has produced unusual results when both light (H)
and heavy (D) hydrogen were used. Unfortunately, only a few of the
methods have been replicated by independent investigators. Most of
methods will be discussed starting with electrolytic production of heat.
Recent work not covered by previous reviews will be emphasized.
Radiation and nuclear products will be discussed in separate sections.
Methods Used to Produce the CANR Effect
Phonon conduction through semiconductors
Cavitation involving bubble formation
Sudden decomposition of hydride
Electrolysis is the most widely used method to produce the claimed
CANR effects. When a current is passed through a water-based
electrolyte, hydrogen (or deuterium) is formed at the cathode (negative
electrode) and oxygen is formed at the anode (positive electrode). The
metal used as the cathode reacts with the hydrogen to form a hydride.
Usually palladium is used as the cathode with D2O, and
various forms of nickel are used with H2O. Hydrogen with
palladium and deuterium with nickel have not been found to produce
unusual results. Other metals have given some claimed success but
without the necessary replication. For reasons that are not yet fully
understood, certain batches of metal are much more likely to show the
CANR effects than are others. Because these additional variables exist,
negative results can not be used to off-set positive results such as
would be appropriate if the positive results resulted only from random
error, as some skeptics have suggested.
II. 1.1 Heavy-water
In the case of palladium electrolyzed in D2O, the hydride
formed is b-PdD1-x, a
face-centered-cubic structure containing vacancies (x) in the deuterium
sublattice. Because the effective deuterium activity and concentration
are both very high at the cathode surface, normally unstable hydrides
can also form in a region which is microns deep. In addition, the
surface region is rich in deposited impurities which influence the
deuterium activity and phase stability of various compounds.
Consequently, the active chemical environment is highly variable,
accounting partly for the difficulty in reproducing the claims. For
these reasons, an understanding can not be based only on the chemical
environment known to exist in b-PdD, as has
been done extensively in the past.
Over 50 studies reporting repeated examples of excess energy
production have been done, most of which have been published at least in
conference proceedings. Studies published before March 1996 are reviewed
by Storms .
To understand and eventually accept the claims for heat production, it
is necessary to understand the various possible errors in calorimetry
and how they have been eliminated. For example, open cells were
extensively used during the early studies in which an uncertain
recombination of the D2 and O2 gases could take
place, as pointed out by Jones et al..
This process would cause a variable amount of energy to be captured by
the calorimeter, resulting in what might be interpreted as excess
energy. Most studies now use closed cells or measure the amount of
recombination. Another early issue was the effect of temperature
gradients within a nonstirred calorimeter.
To answer this criticism, Pons and Fleischmann,
Klein et al. ,
Takahashi et al.
and Guruswamy et al.,
among others, demonstrated that mixing produced by electrolytic
generated gas bubbles is sufficient to eliminate serious gradients in
their cells. Not given much attention is the effect of the stagnate
water layer at the cell wall on the thermal conductivity of the wall.
The magnitude of this layer is very sensitive to the flow patterns
within the cell. Consequently, the accuracy of simple isoperibolic
calorimetry can be compromised by changes in stirring rate and by
changes in the amount of bubbles generated. In addition, calibrations
using internal heaters, where bubbles are absent, can not be applied to
the electrolytic conditions where bubbles are present. It is, therefore,
difficult to evaluate claims based on calorimeters stirred only by
bubbles or when the stability of the mechanical stirring rate is
uncertain. In contrast, some workers use calorimeter designs that are
completely immune to the effect of temperature gradients such as flow
calorimetry, double-wall isoperibolic calorimetry [28,29],
and devices based on the Seebeck effect [30,31].
In their original studies, Profs. Pons and Fleischmann used a
calorimeter requiring a rather complex mathematical analysis, thereby
opening the door to easy rejection. Several independent analyses were
made to evaluate their claims, the most detailed being a paper by Wilson
et al. This
and other criticisms are answered by Pons and Fleischmann in several
subsequent publications  and by several other workers[33,34,35]. In
addition, an independent study by Lonchampt , using an identical
calorimeter, duplicated the Pons-Fleischmann claims for anomalous
energy. Although the heat measurements by Pons and Fleischmann can be
analyzed in different ways to give slightly different results, their
conclusion for excess energy production has been supported.
One extensive study done at SRI (Stanford Research International)
stands out for its completeness and its use of state-of-the-art
equipment and methods.
EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) invested over $6M to give
us this information, and the New Energy Development Organization (NEDO)
(Japan) has continued to support the work for the last 3 years after
EPRI withdrew from the field. Figure
1 shows the cross-section of one of several flow-type calorimeters
used for most of their studies. The cell is closed and contains a
recombiner that returns to the calorimeter all energy invested in
decomposing the water. Over 98% of the energy applied to the cell is
recovered by the flowing water. Composition of the palladium cathode is
determined from its change in resistance. An internal heater keeps the
internal temperature constant when different electrolytic currents are
applied and provides a means to check instrument stability. The device
is used as an absolute calorimeter based on the flow rate and
temperature change of the cooling fluid. This design has shown very
stable behavior and has a sensitivity to energy change of ±10 mW
although an uncertainty of ±50 mW is used when data are reported.
Typical data are shown in Fig.
2. This sample produced no excess heat until the current was
increased at 400 h, thereby causing an increase in composition. Figure
3 shows how excess power relates to the average composition. Other
workers have reported seeing this behavior as well. Applied current also
has an effect as can be seen in Fig.
4. Studies done at other laboratories, including the work of Pons
and Fleischmann, are consistent with there being a critical current
below which no excess heat is detected. This behavior occurs even when a
variety of sample forms and calorimeter types are used. Rejection of
these studies must explain why the relationship between bulk composition
and applied current is so consistent. Conclusions obtained from the work
at SRI are summarized in Table 4. These conclusions are completely
consistent with all published studies showing excess energy and each has
been confirmed by several investigators. Unfortunately, all attempts to
initiate the CANR effect using palladium suffer from a large fraction of
failures. Adding to the confusion are the many negative studies which
failed to consider even the basic requirements for success.
Conclusions From Studies Done at SRI
1. The D/Pd ratio must exceed a critical value.
2. Current must be maintained for a critical time.
3. The current density must be above a critical value.
4. Inert palladium can sometimes be activated by adding certain
impurities to the electrolyte.
5. The effect occurs in only a small fraction of samples but more
often in certain batches than in others.
II. 1.2 Light-water
Surprisingly, deuterium and hydrogen both produce excess energy and
nuclear products. However, as expected, the nuclear products frequently
Energy production using light water was first demonstrated by Mills
Their reasons for making such an attempt were not based on an expected
nuclear reaction, as described later. Energy production has been
duplicated by other studies,
but with evidence for a transmutation reaction being the source.
Recently, Clean Energy Technology, Inc. (CETI) ,
using nickel coated plastic beads electrolyzed in a flowing electrolyte
containing Li2SO4 in H2O, have
demonstrated production of significant energy. However, most efforts to
duplicate this work have been unsuccessful for various reasons.
Apparently, the nature of the metal coating on the bead is very
important and difficult to duplicate even when the patent is consulted.
Light hydrogen has also been reacted as a gas with nickel to produce
nuclear products and it has been used as an energetic ion to bombard
nickel as described below. Preliminary claims for production of 3He
suggest that d-p fusion may occur when deuterium and hydrogen are both
II. 2.1 Nuclear Products
II. 2.2.1 Tritium
The first nuclear product supporting the claims of Pons and
Fleischmann was the claimed detection of tritium
in an electrolytic cell. This isotope is seldom produced when excess
energy is detected and seems to be associated with the presence of
certain impurities in the cell, copper being the more likely one, and
the presence of dendrites on the cathode surface. When detected in
anomalous amounts, the tritium exists in the electrolyte rather than as
DT gas. In
contrast, tritium previously dissolved in palladium as contamination is
always released during electrolysis as DT gas. This contrasting behavior
demonstrates that observed tritium is not caused by contamination and
that it was not formed within the bulk material. Only tritium formed on
the surface can dissolve in the electrolyte. Unfortunately, tritium
production has proven to be more difficult to duplicate than excess
Two of approximately a dozen studies stand out in demonstrating the
presence of anomalous tritium when heavy-water is used with palladium.
Will et al.,
at the now disbanded National Cold Fusion Institute, used cells
completely isolated from the environment which contained either D2SO4
or H2SO4 electrolytes and a recombiner
catalyst. Tritium atoms in the range of 7x1010 to 2.1x1011
were found in four heavy-water cells while fewer than 4x109 atoms
(the detection limit) were present in light-water cells using palladium
from the same batch. Other batches were below the detection limit in
both cell types. The T/D ratio in the palladium was found to be
significantly higher than in the electrolyte, indicating the tritium
originated in the palladium. Careful analysis of many virgin palladium
samples showed no indication of tritium contamination.
They conclude that the probability of the effect being caused by
contamination was 1 in 2380.
Workers at Texas A & M
produced tritium in one cell using a LiOD electrolyte which was in
series with a similar, nonactive cell. The production rate was sensitive
to the applied potential (current) as shown in
Fig. 5. Production could be stopped by changes in current or by
agitating the cell. The reaction could then be restarted. This behavior
is totally inconsistent with tritium originating either as contamination
or from the external environment. A total of 1015 tritium
atoms were produced during the study compared to fewer than 5.1x109
atoms detected in unused palladium, the background of the
Claytor et al.(Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
continue to explore the production of tritium. A pulsed-gas
discharge is used between a small palladium wire and an inert electrode
in low pressure D2 gas. The voltage is too low to initiate a
normal fusion reaction known to occur at high voltages. All wires are
previously outgassed to remove any tritium contamination. No tritium has
been found in any commercial palladium even though scores of samples
from many sources have been examined. This experience is consistent with
several other detailed studies as noted previously. Tritium pickup from
the atmosphere, a very unlikely source even at LANL, is prevented by
using a vacuum-tight, stainless steel apparatus. Deuterium gas is pumped
through a loop containing the plasma cell, in which the discharge
occurs, and through a Femtotech Tritium Gauge which provides a
continuous measurement of tritium. Provisions are included to remove
some gas, convert it to water, and measure its tritium content using
standard scintillation techniques. Consequently, two independent methods
are used to insure the claimed product is indeed tritium. Figure
6 compares the behavior of several samples exposed to D2
as well as the behavior when H2 or platinum are used in place
of the active materials. Active samples begin producing tritium
immediately after discharge is started. Changes in current or other
operating conditions cause changes in the observed tritium production
rate. Similar conditions produce no effect when D2 is
replaced by H2 or when Pd is replaced by Pt, thus providing a
null check. Like all experiences in the field, the ability to produce
the effect is very sensitive to the nature of the palladium sample. For
this reason, the results have been inconsistent. Nevertheless, certain
batches of palladium or its alloys have a sufficiently high success rate
to allow many variables to be explored. Of the many examples of tritium
production, this work stands out as being the most difficult to refute.
Although this work has not been published in a reviewed journal, it has
been extensively reviewed at LANL and is available on the Internet.
II. 2.2.2 Helium
Helium was recognized early in the field's history as being a likely
nuclear product, but its difficult detection had to await the careful
work of Miles et al.
Confirming studies using the electrolytic technique have been done
at the University of Texas,
University of Roma La Sapienza
and at INFN in Italy,
and in Japan using
gas loading. In each case, care was taken to eliminate helium that might
enter the cell from surrounding air. However, not all attempts to detect
helium have been successful partly because excess energy is difficult to
produce and partly because measuring small amounts of helium in
deuterium is difficult. When helium is reported, the levels are lower
than expected based on a fusion reaction being the sole source of
measured energy. Unfortunately, the reported values are not the sum
total of all helium, i.e. that contained both in the gas and dissolved
in the palladium metal. Only one of the two sources is typically
reported. Obviously, all helium needs to be considered when the results
are compared to energy production. Alpha emission has also been detected
and recent claims for 3He have been published.
The latter claim is being actively investigated by other workers. No
gamma radiation of any significance has been detected when 4He
is produced. Again, this only means that the helium producing reaction
is not caused by "hot" fusion.
Miles et al.
culminated an extensive investigation sponsored by the U.S. Navy with
the results shown in Fig.
7. A similar but independent study was reported by Bush and Lagowski
shows excellent agreement. Gas evolving from energy-producing cells was
collected in metal flasks and analyzed by a sensitive mass spectrometer.
Samples producing no detectable heat produced no detectable helium,
except when a leak was evident. Alloys of Ce-Pd produced detectable heat
without helium being found in the evolving gas. Although the errors are
large, a consistent pattern is apparent. The production rate is about a
factor of 2 lower than expected if the helium were produced by a fusion
reaction. This difference might be caused by helium being retained by
the palladium. Presence of any helium at all in the surrounding gas
implies that a significant number of the helium producing reactions
occur within a few microns of the surface. Helium formed deeper within
the structure is known to be completely retained by the metal. Helium
production by the reaction sequence d + 10B = 4He
+ 8Be followed by 8Be = 2 4He would
seem to be ruled out by the consistent behavior of the boron-containing
II.2.2.3 Neutron Emission
Over 300 studies have attempted to find neutrons, most with no
success at all. A few careful and lucky studies have demonstrated
neutron emission and determined their energy. Takahashi 
was one of the first and the most successful. Figure
8 shows the gross emission rate while a cell was making excess
energy. An energy spectrum was obtained using a NE-213 detector with
pulse-height analysis. The upper figure shows both signal and background
while the lower figure gives the difference between these two values.
Energies near 2.45 MeV, 4.5 MeV, and 7 MeV are evident. Other studies
have reported similar energy values and emission rates. Although this
work was able to correlate excess energy production with neutron
emission, many studies have failed to detect neutrons when excess energy
was being produced. Part of this failure may be caused by inadequate
sensitivity and part may result from an absence of neutrons. It is
possible that neutron emission and heat result from different reactions
so their occasional synchronicity may be coincidence. Many questions
still remain unanswered.
II. 2.2.4 Transmutation Products
Recent studies have revealed a variety of elements that seem to
result from fragmentation of a heavy nucleus or its fusion with
deuterium or hydrogen. Sometimes fusion seems to proceed fission and
sometimes elements other than palladium and nickel are involved. Many
claims can be cited but, for the purpose of this review, only two will
be examined. The Journal of New Energy ,
Fall 1996, and Infinite Energy, Vol. 3, #13 & 14, (1997)
contain many papers claiming to have produced anomalous transmutation. A
number of organizations 
are proposing to use this effect to quickly convert radioactive isotopes
to stable ones. These claims are still uncertain and are being actively
pursued using a variety of methods and chemical environments.
Miley (Univ of Illinois)
and Patterson (CETI) have collaborated to examined thin coatings of
mainly nickel on plastic beads after they were electrolyzed in a flowing
electrolyte of Li2SO4 and H2O. Great
care was taken to analyze the material before hand and to remove
possible contaminates from the electrolyte. Significant quantities of
Fe, Ag, Cu, Mg, and Cr were detected using neutron activation analysis (NAA),
energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), Auger electron spectrometry (AES) and
secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Many other elements were also
found but at lower concentrations. When the concentrations are plotted
as a function of atomic number, four regions of enhanced concentration
are produced with peaks at 15, 30, 50 and 80 au. Many of the minor
elements probably result from the expected localization of impurities.
However, the major elements are at such high concentrations making this
explanation difficult to support. The main anomalous elements are noted
in the Periodic Table shown as Fig.
9. Many of the detected elements show an abnormal isotopic ratio and
have a higher concentration within the Ni layer in contrast to being
found on the surface as would be expected if they plated out of the
electrolyte. While most questions about the analytical methods have been
answered, the nature of the nuclear process is still very much in doubt.
The main problems involve how elements much heavier than Ni are
produced, how the neutron/proton ratio between the proposed reactants
and products can be balanced, and why the measured energy production is
so small compared to the amount of nuclear transformation. Of course,
the basic question remains as to how such reactions can occur in the
Mizuno et al. 
(Hokkaido Univ. Japan) subjected palladium to electrolysis at high
pressure and high temperature. The electrodes were analyzed using EDX,
AES and SIMS. Although this study is not as complete as the one
described above, many of the same elements were found with abnormal
concentrations and isotopic ratios. Surprisingly, significant excess
Xenon was detected within the palladium metal using SIMS. Changes in the
104Pd and 110Pd isotopic ratio were also seen as a
function of depth with the largest deviations from natural abundance at
the surface. Abnormal isotopic ratios resulting from formation of metal
hydride molecules, which distort SIMS measurements, or because of
isotopic separation caused by electromigration may occur but are
difficult to justify in all cases.
II. 3.1 Gas Reaction
Arata and Zhang (Osaka Univ., Japan) explored energy production when
finely divided palladium was exposed to high-pressure D2 gas.
In their case, the gas was produced by electrolyzing a palladium tube
containing powdered palladium (palladium-black) in a mixture of LiOH and
D2O. Heat was seen after a delay of many days and after the
internal pressure had risen to as high as 800 atm. Power levels between
10 and 20 watts were measured using flow calorimetry. Samples maintained
this power for months and excess power could be re-established after the
samples had been stored for over a year. Helium-4 and now 3He have been
extracted from energy-producing samples by heating them to 1200° C. The
surrounding gas has not yet been analyzed. Because the work has been
done with great care, interest in the results is growing. Several
attempts in Japan to duplicate the results have failed because,
according to Prof. Arata, the proper protocols were not followed.
Additional efforts are underway in the U.S.
II. 3.2 Electric Discharge
Dufour and co-workers(Shell/CNAM,
France) initiate anomalous effects by producing a silent AC discharge
through an insulator surrounding a cell containing hydrogen (deuterium)
gas and a metal electrode. This method involves a so-called "Ozoniser".
The voltages are not sufficient to cause conventional nuclear reactions.
Unusual effects have been seen including excess power production up to
10 W for H2 and 14 W for D2, significant loss of
hydrogen isotopes from the cell, emission of ionizing radiation for days
after the discharge is stopped, and increased concentration of lithium.
The results depend on the nature of the electrode and the gas.
A group at "Luch"
(Scientific Industrial Association, Russian Federation) pioneered and
continues to study a technique involving high voltage-pulsed discharge
in low-pressure deuterium or hydrogen. Excess energy, various
radiations, and transmutation products have been reported. The amounts
and types of anomalous products depend on the amount of applied current,
the metal used as the cathode, and whether H2 or D2
is used. The combination of D2 with one special palladium
sample produced 21 W of excess power when 95 mA was applied with a
nearly linear relationship between heat and applied current. Other
palladium cathodes were not as productive. Various stable elements were
found in the cathode surface after excess energy was seen including Na,
Mg, Ti, Fe, Ni, Cu, Rb, Zr, Nb, Rh and Ag, some with abnormal isotopic
ratios. Silver was also found to produce excess power of 9 W at 51 mA
when bombarded with deuterium ions. Normal hydrogen produced excess
power when nickel or niobium cathodes were used but the number of
transmutation products was reduced. Minor amounts of neutron and gamma
emission have been detected, sometimes continuing after the current was
stopped. Efforts to duplicate the results at the Naval Research
Laboratory (NRL, US) were only marginally successful, possibly because
the method was not completely duplicated and the same palladium was not
Prelas et al.
(Univ Missouri, US) used a microwave heated deuterium plasma to bombard
palladium with ions having bulk temperatures between 0.5 and 10 eV. They
detected a significant increase in neutron and gamma emission only when
the sample was being bombarded. In one case, a broad gamma peak at 8.11
MeV was seen. The results were sensitive to the type of palladium used
and its temperature. Higher energies near 11 kV were used by workers in
X-ray emission near 27 keV was routinely observed when various metals
were bombarded with deuterium or hydrogen ions.
II. 3.3 Proton conduction through semiconductors
When certain semiconductors are heated in deuterium and a voltage is
applied across their thickness, a small current can be made to flow,
caused by dissolved hydrogen ions moving within the structure. Biberian (Faculté
des Sci. de Luminy, France) applied this technique to AlLaO3 while
Mizuno et al.(Hokkaido
Univ., Japan) used Sr(Ce,Nb,Y)O3. Both studies observed
significant excess energy production. Oriani 
(Univ. of Minnesota, US) succeeded in duplicating the results of
Mizuno using a high-temperature Seebeck-type calorimeter. Although the
amount of excess energy is small, it represents a large increase over
the amount being applied. Oriani measured some excess even after the
applied current was turned off. Another duplication using SrCeO3
and BaCeO3 ceramics was done in Russia 
but the description lacks much needed detail. In this case, occasional
excess energy was measured as well as neutron emission during thermal
cycling. The behavior depended on the chemical purity and structure of
the ceramic, an experience shared by the other studies.
II. 3.4 Rapid decomposition of a hydride
Yamaguchi and Nishioka
(NTT, Japan) first showed charged particle emission when palladium
containing deuterium is rapidly heated in vacuum. Alpha particles with
an energy of 4.5-6 MeV and protons with an energy of 3 MeV were
detected. The samples were palladium coated on one side with MnOx
and the other with gold. Iwamura et al.(Mitsubishi,
Japan) used palladium coated with gold or aluminum and detected neutron
(5s) and tritium production in a few samples.
However, extensive efforts to reproduce this work in Japan were
unsuccessful. Recently, Lipson et al.
(Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia) detected neutron and gamma
emission when palladium, coated on one side with a complex oxycarbide
(based on an unpublished method of application) and the other with gold,
was heated in air or oxygen. They report seeing 100-500 neutrons/sec-cm2
and gamma ray peaks at 2.22 MeV, 3.8 MeV, and 6.3 MeV as well as excess
energy over that expected from the D2-O2 reaction.
Attempts to duplicate this work are presently underway. Unfortunately,
the nature of the palladium, once again, plays a major role in producing
the effects. In addition, the presence of other chemical environments,
applied as layers, creates additional regions for abnormal nuclear
reactions to occur, thereby creating additional variables.
II .3.5 Cavitation involving bubble formation
Stringham and George (E-Quest,
US) have been perfecting a method based on generating bubbles in D2O
using an intense acoustic field. When these bubbles collapse against a
metal surface, they inject deuterium and oxygen ions into the metal as a
high-temperature plasma. The deuterium diffuses away from the surface
while the oxygen remains trapped and forms a colored oxide. Anomalous
behavior is immediate. Silver and palladium are especially good
producers of anomalous energy, helium, and various transmutation
products. The fact that many other metals produce no unusual results
indicates absence of reactions associated with sonoluminessence within
the bubbles. Unfortunately, details of the process and the results are
not available to the public although a general description can be found
in Infinite Energy magazine.
This is one of the few methods having high reproducibility and producing
significant amounts of energy and nuclear products. People interested in
the method can obtain more information by contacting the inventors.
A related approach has been developed by Griggs.
In this case, bubbles are generated by a perforated rotor which is
rotated within normal water by a powerful motor. Steam is produced and
the bubbles collapse against aluminum and steel. Several independent
tests of the method have all found more energy produced by the device
than used to rotate the rotor. Nevertheless, the company sells the units
only as a way to obtain efficient, maintenance-free energy conversion.
II.3.6 Biological system
Beginning in 1954, Kervran
was the first to make a systematic study of nuclear reactions in
biological systems using experiences by farmers and biologists. A modern
study claiming transmutation was made in Japan using various cultures 
and conventional analytical techniques. A recent study done in
added powerful support to the accumulating evidence. In this case,
fusion between 55Mn and deuterium to give 57Fe in various
yeast and bacteria cultures was demonstrated using the Mössbauer
effect. The relative velocity between a 57Co gamma emitter
and the solution was changed until the gamma energy matched that
required for absorption by any 57Fe nucleus present. The
result for yeast and bacteria cultures can be seen in Fig.
10. The 57Fe is produced only when Mn and D are both
present in the culture and at a rate of (1.9±0.5) x 10-8 57Fe
per sec per 55Mn. A double hump in the spectra occurred for
the bacteria culture whether the 57Fe was made in or added to
the culture. Apparently, 57Fe made by a nuclear reaction and 57Fe
added to the culture both occupy the same chemical environment, but an
environment that is different from the one in the yeast culture. This
study is particularly persuasive because it uses a conventional method
which is only sensitive to the presence of 57Fe, an isotope
easily excluded from the environment. Therefore, strong evidence exists
for at least one nuclear reaction. What other reactions are possible?
Well over 100 explanations of CANR have been attempted, most of which
have little relationship to reality or to being useful. However, several
models do seem to offer important, partial insights into possible
processes. Many of these models have continued to be changed and
improved over the years. Unfortunately, most theories address the
nuclear process while ignoring the unique environment in which such
reactions must occur. In addition, most models still conflict with some
observations within the field or rest on assumptions not supported by
observations made outside the field.
Because the nuclear events occur in a variable number of random sites
within the bulk material, a quantitative relationship between theory and
observation is not yet possible even though some attempts have been
made. No theory has explained
why only these rare sites are active or has predicted their chemical
characteristics except in general terms. Confusion still swarms around
the nature of the nuclear reactions. Is the detected helium produced by
d-d fusion or does it result from alpha decay of destabilized heavy
nuclei? Can mass be added to heavy elements by fusion between multiple
hydrogen (deuterium) nuclei or are heavier nuclei involved? Why do some
nuclear processes produce detectable energy while others produce none?
How many theories will it take to finally understand all observations?
A few examples are summarized below to give a partial insight into
the approaches being explored. It is still very risky, and likely to
raise the emotional temperature in some quarters to suggest which of
these ideas might be right or wrong. Therefore, neither the choice of
examples nor their sequence represent a judgement of value. Courageous
evaluations of several theories have been provided by Chechin
Chubb and Chubb
This model uses ion band state theory involving stationary, three
dimensional Bloch states to explain the fusion process. Thus, a few
deuterium nuclei are thought to act as a wave when the deuterium
concentration has achieved a critical value and when other conditions
are present. These waves have a period equal to the distance between the
deuterium lattice positions, thereby reducing coulombic repulsion.
Occasionally, fusion occurs in small steps during D+-D+
wave overlap thereby producing a helium nucleus having gradually
increasing stability. The resulting nuclear energy is coupled to the
lattice by a coherent process involving transfer of energy in small
packets to the Fermi levels from which it is dissipated throughout the
lattice. The theory predicts that a critical crystal size is required
and that 4He is the only nuclear product without gamma or any
other radiation being emitted. However, the proposed particle-wave
transition has yet to be demonstrated to occur in a crystal lattice.
Using an approach called QED (Quantum Electro Dynamics), the model
proposes that various coherent plasma fields exists in a crystal
structure, i.e. the fields act like electron lasers which are completely
contained within the structure. These fields are proposed to combine and
provide sufficient screening of deuterium nuclei to allow fusion and
other reactions to take place. The model requires the fusion process to
occur at tetrahedral sites within b-PdD when
the deuterium concentration has reached very high values. Released
energy is absorbed by the coherent fields which then emit X-rays.
However, no evidence exists for tetrahedral occupancy by deuterium in b-PdD.
Small quantities of massive, stable hadrons left over from the
Big-Bang are thought to be present in all matter. Under certain
conditions, these particles can be released from their bound state and
used to catalyze nuclear reactions. McKibben
(LANL, US) has taken a similar approach by proposing the presence of
fractionally charged particles. These particles can stabilize composite
nuclei which act chemically like normal matter and, when destabilized,
can produce energy by catalyzing various nuclear reactions. The
existence of these particles has yet to be established.
A very narrow energy level is proposed to exist in the nucleus which
is able to resonate with certain energy levels in the surrounding atomic
lattice. The process is proposed to promote barrier penetration and
nuclear interaction. The presence of this narrow level or its
relationship to nuclear stability has not been established.
He has abandoned the virtual neutron model and replaced it by one
involving energy transfer from a phonon laser or strong resonance
vibrations operating within the lattice. Vibrations of individual atoms
caused by their temperature combine to produce pockets of higher energy
(temperature). Energy is accumulated in the phonon bands by nonlinear
frequency shifting involving fluctuations in the phonon spectrum. This
enhanced energy is transferred to a few atoms by the usual vibrational
processes causing adjacent nuclei to approach each other with sufficient
energy to allow various nuclear interactions including fusion and
transmutation. The "Lattice Quake" model of Arata
(Univ. Osaka) uses similar features to explain a fusion reaction.
US) has employed phonons to propose a gradual accumulation of energy
directly in the energy levels of various metal nuclei. When sufficiently
high, this energy is released by a emission or fission. The quantized
nature of the nuclear constituents and their very high energy levels
would appear to make such an incremental transfer of energy impossible.
All isotopes of hydrogen are proposed to have fractional energy
levels below those described by conventional quantum theory. Electrons
can be caused to access these levels if a suitable repository for the
released energy is available. Consequently, under certain conditions,
energy can be released by the formation of collapsed hydrogen atoms
called Hydrinos. These smaller hydrogen atoms leave the system and
return to their initial size and energy elsewhere in the world.
Therefore, this is an energy transfer process which does not involve
nuclear reactions. However, tritium can sometimes result when complete
atom collapse produces a neutron which reacts with a nearby deuterium
nucleus. Variations on this approach have been proposed by Dufour
(Shell, France) and Yi-Fang and Zheng-Rong (Yannan Univ., China)
(Shizuoka Univ., Japan)
Thermal neutrons are proposed to be trapped in crystals where they
can, under the proper circumstances, interact with nuclei. This is
called the TNCF model (Trapped Neutron Catalyzed Fusion). The neutrons
are thought to be stabilized by forming neutron Cooper pairs and by
acting as Bloch waves which prevent normal neutron decay and prevent
interaction with nearby nuclei until a large perturbation is suffered by
the crystal. This perturbation is proposed to be caused by certain
surface impurities, some of which subsequently react with the released
neutrons. The approach is handicapped by the need to make several
arbitrary assumptions to make the model consistent with observation.
These assumptions include the need to justify why neutrons are not
emitted after they become available to interact with the surrounding
nuclei and why significant tritium is not formed when lithium is
Miley et al.(Univ.
The region between two metals having large differences in Fermi
electron levels is proposed to provide an environment in which the
coulomb barrier can be reduced, the so-called swimming electron layer (SEL).
Conduction electrons which concentrate at a metal surface, producing a
characteristic work function, are thought to form a plasma of sufficient
magnitude to partially shield deuterium nuclei located within an
interface region. The reduced average distance between nuclei caused by
this screening increases the normal fusion rate. Recent work by this
the concept to transmutation reactions. In this context, nuclear
interaction is proposed to occur at much larger distances than normally
experienced for d-d fusion. The SEL is proposed to reduce the distance
by an amount sufficient to cause enhanced nuclear interaction. However,
anomalous nuclear reactions are seen when conditions required for the
swimming electron layer to form are absent.
This is not a general model but a more exact calculation of the
magnitude for the coulomb barrier using conventional methods. The
analysis concludes that barrier penetration for fusion is easier than
first thought, but not as easy as is required to explain many CANR
Many models propose a resonance processes but they differ in what is
resonating and how the resonance structure interacts with the nucleus.
Preparata sees a wave-like electron structure neutralizing the coulomb
barrier while Miley proposes enhanced concentration alone can do the
trick. The Chubbs visualize direct interaction of deuterium waves;
Kucherov and Li would have vibrational energy of the atom-electron
structure add energy directly to the nucleus thereby causing
destabilization; and Hagelstein and Arata have this vibrational energy
cause direct nuclear interaction between adjacent nuclei. Each model has
the electron structure carry away the resulting nuclear energy which is
dissipated throughout the lattice as heat.
The models proposed by Mills and Dufour, involving a change in energy
and size of the hydrogen atom, are not part of CANR unless this change
results in a nuclear reaction. Although most examples of heat production
are not consistent with this model, occasionally results are seen which
are consistent. Perhaps several mechanisms are possible depending on the
Separating fact from fiction is the main problem in evaluating the
value of these extraordinary claims. The basis for accepting evidence
for such unconventional nuclear reactions is very much in the mind of
the beholder. Is the reader familiar with the technique? Are the
investigators known to the reader and can they be trusted? Is the work
peer reviewed by an acceptable journal? Unfortunately, most people
working in this field are not known to the general physics community and
most of the work is not peer reviewed by acceptable journals. I have
attempted in this review to present enough detail about some of the
better work so that a reader will at least appreciate why this field is
receiving increased attention. Although definite conclusions are still
not possible, some general trends are apparent. Unfortunately, many
studies can not be judged because so little detail has been properly
described and many of the techniques have not been used by several
independent investigators. On the other hand, some very good studies are
available which use conventional, well accepted techniques. In addition,
similar results have been obtained using a wide range of methods and
techniques in laboratories throughout the world, only a small fraction
of which are described in this review. While this common experience is
not proof, it encourages continued open-minded interest in the field.
World-wide experience using many techniques show that the mix of
nuclear products and the ability to make excess energy are both very
sensitive to the nature of the chemical environment in which the
reactions are thought to occur. Because few experiments use identical
chemical environments, the results seem to have no clear pattern and are
difficult to reproduce. Although error and incompetence add to the
problem, these are clearly not the main variables. Accepting this
insight is fundamental to accepting the claims.
Neutron production, the favorite of many physicists, does not occur
at a significant level and may not be associated with heat production.
Therefore, the unusual energy of the emissions can not be used with
confidence to understand heat production. On the other hand, some
neutron emission is detected and must be explained. Intense bursts are
sometimes observed and are usually associated with changes in the
chemical or physical environment. This behavior has prompted interest in
the effect of crack formation, so-called fractofusion. Such an
environment would be expected to produce "hot" fusion caused
by the high voltages produced therein. However, the required amount of
tritium is not observed when neutrons are detected.
Tritium can be produced, but only with difficulty. Although it is
seldom found in cells making excess energy, its production may be
accompanied by a few emitted neutrons. Dendrites on the cathode surface
seem to be present when it is formed in an electrolytic cell. Intense
electric fields or high voltage discharge encourage its formation even
though the voltages are lower than conventional theory would require.
Helium or a few transmutation products are present after excess
energy is detected. The mix between these products depend on the raw
materials present. Deuterium produces helium while light hydrogen
produces various transmutation products involving at least the alkali
metals. Helium-3 may be produced when both H and D are present in
sufficient concentrations. Some of the helium is produced with
sufficient energy and sufficiently close to the surface to be identified
as alpha particles.
More complex reactions giving a spectrum of products seem to be
possible. Various fragments of nickel or palladium have been detected,
some with abnormal isotopic ratios. Occasionally, short-lived
radioactive isotopes are detected. More difficult to justify are the
heavy elements which can only result from multiple addition of hydrogen
nuclei or other light elements to palladium or nickel. These new claims
are still being debated and offer a significant challenge to any theory.
Particularly troublesome are the lack of resolution in the
neutron/proton ratio between the apparent reactants and products, and
the lack of corresponding energy production.
X-rays are occasionally detected using various methods. However, the
emissions are sporadic, they do not act like bremsstrahlung nor can they
always be identified as characteristic X-rays. An intriguing observation
is reported by Rout et al. (Bhabha
Atomic Research Center, India). Every palladium sample, after being
loaded with either deuterium or hydrogen, produced an emission which is
influenced by electric and magnetic fields, able to pass through certain
thin absorbers, and able to produce fogging of X-ray film. Presence of
oxygen enhanced the effect. A very complete study rules out conventional
types of radiation or chemical products. The source of this radiation as
well as X-rays detected in other studies is still uncertain. However,
these observations continue to be consistent with early studies and
continue to support the initial conclusion that the nuclear energy is
somehow dissipated throughout the atomic lattice rather than at the site
of its production.
Gamma emission is occasionally seen sometimes with a measurable
half-life after the experiment is stopped. However, no study has
observed gamma emission having a consistent intensity or energy. Once
again, the behavior apparently depends on the nature of the chemical
Everyone can agree that a nuclear reaction involving coulomb barrier
penetration does not occur within ordinary matter at any significant
rate. The problem remains as to whether it can occur at all in some rare
and unusual environments. Experience shows that a few materials have the
capacity to contain these environments, i.e. to produce anomalous
effects. This selectivity not only demonstrates absence of random error
but also suggests the existence of a universal nuclear-electron
interaction, albeit negligeable in most cases. Once a nuclear-active
material is formed, a wide spectrum of nuclear reactions appear to be
possible within the same sample. How is this possible? How is the choice
made as to which reaction will occur? A logical possibility involves
inhomogeneities within the material in which one reaction takes place
while other isolated regions cause a different reaction. This is
consistent with the common observation of anomalous elements occupying
isolated regions, generally near the surface. If this conclusion is
correct, we are faced with the possibility that, once a nuclear-active
material is produced, minor variations can have a large effect on the
type of nuclear reaction produced. Understanding the nature of these
isolated regions is fundamental to making this phenomenon occur at high
levels and with predictability. Such knowledge is also basic to any
I can sympathize with anyone struggling with the reality of and
meaning behind these disparate observations. Because skepticism is so
wide spread, an intense effort by skilled and well funded scientists
required to answer many of the questions has not been applied to the
problem. The need for proof to be "compelling", as many
scientists require, adds to the difficulty. Nevertheless, I suggest
sufficient information is now available to strongly support claims for
certain nuclear reactions taking place under conditions not sanctioned
by conventional theory.
The human race is desperate to find energy sources which are
pollution-free and renewable. In addition, we have the serious problem
of disposing of radioactivity from fission reactors and the nuclear arms
race. The CANR phenomenon may offer a solution to both problems. I
suggest that lack of certainty about its reality or a lack of knowledge
about many of the details should be viewed as temporary distractions and
not used as justifications for ignoring the potential benefits. Even if
many of the claims have trivial explanations, the evidence
overwhelmingly indicates the existence of a novel phenomenon having
unexplored benefits. Why not test the possibilities no matter how remote
After receiving a blanket rejection, I sent the following letter to
the editor of Rev. Modern Physics.
Dharam V. Ahluwalia
MS-H846, P-25, LANL
Los Alamos, NM 87545
Dear Dr. Ahluwalia,
I would like to comment on the review of my manuscript you e-mailed
I have worked in science for over 40 years, publishing during that
time over 70 reviewed publications and several books. I know what a
review is supposed to do and how to be critical. The problem is that
when the subject concerns cold fusion, the rules change. What the
reviewer wants is either a demonstration that the claims are wrong or a
proof so compelling that no room for doubt can exist. Such a proof is
only accepted if the specialized language and theories previously
accepted by the reader are used. Unfortunately, the field is not yet at
that level of understanding. I had hoped that a few people in the
physics profession, like yourself, would be interested in knowing where
knowledge and claims in the field stand at the present time.
An example of this need for using the theoretical approach previously
accepted by the reviewer is demonstrated by the reviewer's comment about
my lack of knowledge of quantum mechanics. He has no basis for this
judgement, being only able to know my description of the approach other
people have taken. Based on his judgement of me, I conclude that he
would only be satisfied if I rejected these approaches as he would -
because they do not fit with his understanding of quantum mechanics. He
thereby demonstrates that he is unwilling to consider any approach which
does not fit his reconceptions. I call this attitude closed minded and
not befitting a good scientist.
It is sad to me, that in spite of your interest in publishing
information about the field, you could not find a few people in physics
who would at least open a dialogue about the form for such a review. A
blanket rejection is totally unexpected and will only add to the bitter
reactions to conventional physics when the phenomena are eventually
demonstrated and applied.