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(Source: New Energy Times)
Including A REPORT ON THE SIXTH COLD FUSION CONFERENCE
The Sixth International Cold Fusion Conference, ICCF-6 took place! It was
generally considered more scientific than its predecessors. It was held in
Japan, well supported by Japanese organisations. Reports were given on three
major Japanese experiments which were well-funded, technically excellent and
carefully carried out - all three gave no indications of cold fusion. This
shows once again that Japanese science done seriously with governmental
support, does excellent work. It is said that government funding for cold
fusion is being wound down. Despite this, the Summary Speakers, Bressani and
McKubre, gave encouragement to cold fusion. The new frontier of the conference
was transmutations with remarkable results that may have conventional
explanations. Despite everything, a Seventh conference is planned.
Post-scripts; The Siena experiment that claimed steady heat production, has
been repeated but it has not been possible to justify the fusion claims and
it is concluded that there is no power production. Two other important
experimental results suggesting axions and a high H/D ratio, have been shown
to be due to mis-interpretation of data - the way in which the scientists
concerned behave is contrasted with some involved in cold fusion.
2. Major Japanese Experiments on Excess Heat
3. Japanese Study of D-D Reaction Rates in Metals
4. Summary of Nuclear Products - Bressani
5. Summary of Excess Heat Experiments - McKubre
7. Studies of Material Science
8. Who am I? Who Pays me?
9. Court Case - La Repubblica versus Drs. Preparata, Bressani, Del Giudice, Fleischman, and Pons
10. Next ICCF Conference.
11. Short Notes -Preparata experimentalist/London theatre/Texas conf./Glow
discharges/CETI/Siena bomb/Tom Droege/Error and fraud
12. Please Can I Have a Cup of Tea?
Post-scripts; (1) "Siena Bomb" Not Confirmed by New Experiment
(2) Other Wrong Results Disproved - Axions, H/D ratio
Appendix - Neutron Claims of Bressani et al. Critically Examined
The conference was sponsored by The New Energy and Industrial Technology
Development Organisation, NEDO, which was set up by MITI as a branch of the
Institute of Applied Energy. They have built a laboratory to study cold fusion
in the Techno Park near Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido - it is
called the New Hydrogen Energy lab, NHE, thus avoiding the words "cold
fusion". Some $ 30 million was given by MITI over four years and this is
fast running out. The basic research is being carried out by the government
together with some 20 private companies (generally major ones), and 11
universities at 13 labs.
A second major organisation is IMRA which was set-up by the Toyota car
company. They have two labs, one in Hokkaido and the other in the Sophia
Antipolis Science Park near Nice where Stan Pons works.
This Sixth Conference was again held in a beautiful luxury hotel as in
Monte Carlo and in Maui - why? Can only guess. The hotel has a golf course and
two ski areas - was told it was only finished four years ago and is now almost
Of the 183 participants listed (some 250 actually attended), half, 91, were
from Japan and 37 from the USA. Dr. Scaramuzzi once declared that "Cold fusion
stops at the Alps", but now it is more accurate for Europe, to say it only
appears in Mediterranean countries (Italy had 15 participants, France 6, and
Cold Fusion Update No. 10 was Part I on the previous conference, ICCF-5.
Update No. 11 should have been Part II, but only sections B1 to B5 were
written due to lack of time. Section B4 is included here as a Short Note and
section B5 is given as an Appendix.
2. MAJOR JAPANESE EXPERIMENTS ON EXCESS HEAT
2.1 Results from the New Hydrogen Energy Lab of The Institute of Applied
Dr. K. Matsui, the Conference Organiser, described the Lab and said that
faint proof of excess heat was not enough. The aims of the lab were to search
for a strong proof of excess heat, to demonstrate the mechanism, and obtain
controllable power generation.
Dr. Kubota said that previously with a fuel cell-type electrolysis system,
7 to 18% excess heat had been observed but the reproducibility was poor - a
problem with this type of cell was that if the parts moved during assembly the
calibration was lost. Hence they had adopted the mass flow calorimetry system
developed by the McKubre group at SRI. Here water is made to flow through the
cell and measurements are made of the input and output water temperatures and
of the flow rate - here the calibration was more reliable. It was found that
the three sigma limits were between 0.9 and 1.6%. So the limit for declaring a
heat excess was taken as 2% which corresponded to 0.2 W out of a total input
of 10 Watts. Palladium samples with various treatments were tried including
some that had previously given excess heat with the old type of fuel cell. In
all ten experiments performed, no excess heat was observed.
After the conference, some participants visited the nearby NHE labs -
Melvin Miles and some friends, estimated that in the three large research
rooms, there was some $10 million worth of equipment.
2.2 Energy Results from IMRA(Japan)
Dr. T. Nakata of IMRA (Japan) reported that after their earlier work with
closed fuel cells which sometimes showed excess heat, they developed a new
type of cell with mass flow. Water flowed through the top of the electrolytic
cell and its input and output temperature were measured. An important new
feature was that all the apparatus was immersed in a tank of water which was
kept at constant temperature. A heater was used so that the total heat input
was constant. In other words, the input was always 10 watts and if excess heat
had occurred, then the heater's power would be reduced to keep the power at 10
Watts. This is the best and most accident-free type of calorimeter since there
is no change in the heat transfer with the outside.
Twenty-six experiments were performed with palladium cathodes which had
been treated in various systems to try and improve the amount of deuterium in
the palladium (the loading). Some of these systems employed various treatments
of the surface. In others the current was varied to load and deload the
deuterium in the cathode. Distributions of the excess heat observed were shown
giving clear Gaussian distributions with three standard deviation values of
+/- 0.23 Watts or 2.3% of the input power. In all the 26 experiments, no
excess heat was observed.
2.3 Results from IMRA(Europe)
The previous conference, ICCF-5, was held in Monte Carlo next door to the
IMRA(Europe) lab near Nice. Everyone expected some results from them and a
visit to the IMRA laboratory, but to our surprise, it was closed and no
results were given. This time Dr. S. Pons reported that a new calorimeter
called Icarus 9, had been developed. It was designed to operate at high
powers, 300 to 400 Watts, and high temperatures up to the atmospheric boiling
point. In three experiments excess power of 101, 73, and 75 Watts (150, 2000,
and 80%) were observed while in four experiments no excess power was observed.
2.4 Comparison of the two IMRA Results
At the end of Dr. Nakata's talk, I asked why his results were different
from those of IMRA Europe - no answer was given by him or by anyone from IMRA
The essential point is that when excess heat has been claimed, the heat
loss from the system to the outside is poorly known, as shown by Wilson et
al.1. With the IMRA(Japan) calorimeter, the water jacket surrounding the cell
is kept at constant temperature so that any heat exchange with the outside is
constant. With the IMRA(Europe) calorimeter, as the temperature changes up to
boiling point, the heat flow to the outside must vary substantially and the
calibration becomes critical. Instead of employing calculations and some
doubtful controls, it is good standard experimental technique to use an
external water bath at constant temperature, as IMRA(Japan) has done, but
IMRA(France) has not.
3. JAPANESE STUDY OF D-D REACTION RATES IN METALS
Dr. J. Kasagi et al. of Tohuku University reported important results on
what happens when low energy deuterium ions are fired into metals saturated
with deuterium. The ion beam could extend down to about 3 keV giving results
at lower energies than previously. Excellent experimental technique was
employed for the lowest energies where the rate is exceedingly low due to the
potential barrier. Three major (and interesting) experiments were performed.
Before cold fusion, all experiments (including muon-catalysed fusion at
zero energy) had found that the reactions d-d ---> 3He + n and d-d ---> t + p
had each 50% of the total rate, while the reaction d-d ---> 4He + gamma
was negligible, about 10-7 of the other's rate. Here the charged particle
spectrum was measured and peaks corresponding to 3He, tritium and proton
emission were observed. As expected the ratio of tritium to 3He production was
close to unity, showing that the ratio of tritium to neutron production is
one, contrary to claims by cold fusion believers that in metals the ratio was
105 to 108.
Secondly, the protons emitted in the dd ----> pt reaction, were measured.
After correcting for the potential barrier, the astrophysical S22 factor was
obtained. It was found that at the lowest energy, the rate increased, by 10%
for Ti metal and about 30% for Yb. Expressing this as an electron screening
factor, Ue, values of 19 +/- 12 eV and 60 +/-10 eV were found for titanium and
Yb respectively - they said these are higher values than expected - and a CERN
expert confirmed these were very high. If confirmed, these results could have
importance for the problems of the Standard Solar Model where the screening
factors are poorly known and indeed this uncertainty constitutes a major
source of error in the determination of the solar neutrino flux which may be
different from the measured flux.
Thirdly, they investigated claims of abnormally high energy alpha particle
emission. Firing energetic deuterium ions at Pd loaded with deuterium they
observed an abnormal number of alpha particles with energies between 12 and 17
MeV. They proposed an explanation. First the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n
occurs with a Q of 3.27 MeV. The 3He moves a short distance and interacts with
another deuterium ion giving an alpha particle according to the reaction
d + d ---> alpha + p with a Q of 18.35 MeV. Combining these two reactions
together, it would appear as the three-body reaction, d + d + d ---> a + p + n
with a Q of 21.6 MeV, but really it is two successive reactions. This
experiment was performed with several metals such as Ti, Zr, Au, Pt.
These results clearly show that there is no indication of a strong rise in
the rate towards zero energy as would be expected from cold fusion claims, but
they demonstrate the very steep decrease in the rate as the incident energy
decreases as expected from the potential barrier. Further they confirm that
the branching ratios of the 3 reactions are constant with decreasing energy
and there is no sign of the dramatic reversal claimed from some cold fusion
experiments who write that neutron and tritium production are negligible while
4He production is dominant. Normal branching rations have already been found
in muon-catalysed fusion which is at close to zero energy.
4. SUMMARY OF NUCLEAR PRODUCTS - BRESSANI
4.1 Bressani Review Talk
Dr. Tullio Bressani is a senior and respected figure in his world of low
energy particle physics.
The summary of the important subject of nuclear products was allocated a
20 minute talk by Dr. Bressani. There was no possibility for questions or
comments afterwards. It was a most remarkable talk, so to try and be fair,
will give first the main points without comment apart from indices, a, b, c,
etc. These indices will then be commented on. Finally, as an Appendix, a note
is given about his five standard deviation measurements of neutrons having
exactly the right energy, written after ICCF-5. This note was discussed
extensively with Tullio.
He started by saying there were two problems; (1) Reproducibility, (2) the
nuclear origin of the excess heat.
At this conference, there had been no solution for the problem of lack of
reproducibility but progress had been made on the nuclear origin and it had
been shown by different groups at different labs that excess heat did have a
Fleischman and Pons(b) had shown that production of neutrons and tritium
was lower than expected from the amount of excess heat, by a factor of 108 to
Over a hundred labs had tried to measure neutrons and tritium(c), but the
solution has only come lately from measurements of 4He.
He listed about 7 experiments which included Isagawa of KEK (d),
Yamaguchi(e), Miles(f), and Gozzi(g).
He described the experiment by Gozzi et al. as the best of all.
Yamaguchi's work at NTT was reported in 1993.
Dr. Isagawa at KEK obtained 4He when the Pd was heated - they had doubts
but the apparatus was young yet. For neutrons , there was a weak correlation
of two standard deviations.
He mentioned others (Okamoto) briefly.
Dr. Bressani concluded that the energy released is of a nuclear origin(h)
from the reaction d + d ----> 4He + g (1)
The claims of Fleischman and Pons were correct(b).
The future of 4He lies with quadrupole mass spectrometers, QMS.
A workshop should be organised on 4He production.
(a) To say in a hand-waving way that some nuclear products have been detected
does not justify claims of watts of excess heat coming from that reaction. In
Science it is necessary to have the correct numbers. Thus if the origin of the
excess heat is a d-d reaction giving 4He, then from the reaction (1), the
gamma must have 24 MeV and for one watt some 1011 gammas of this high energy
and 1011 ions of 4He should be produced. But the numbers from the experiments
do not give these yields of 4He. Further if 1011 gammas of 24 MeV were
produced, they would give a large number of other nuclear products - and Dr.
Bressani also did not comment on the absence of such high energy products.
(b) Dr. Bressani seems to have forgotten the scandal of the F&P neutron
measurements which is well-documented e.g. in Frank Close's book. After the
23rd March 1989 press conference, on the 28th Fleischman gave a talk at
Harwell where he showed a plot of gammas produced with a peak at 2.5 MeV as
would be expected from simple calculations, the two reactions in series ;
d + d ----> 3He + neutron (2.45 MeV) (2)
followed by the fast neutron interacting with protons in water bath giving
neutron(2.45 MeV) + proton ----> d + g(2.5 MeV) (3)
The agreement with this calculation seemed wonderful, but people at Harwell
immediately pointed out that such fast neutrons barely interact and that in
fact, the neutrons are slowed down, and when at rest are captured by a proton
to give the well-known gamma of 2.2 MeV via;
neutron(zero MeV) + proton ---> d + g(2.2 MeV) (4)
Two and three days later, Fleischman gave talks at Lausanne and CERN resp.
where he showed a modified graph with the gamma peak now at the correct value
of 2.2 MeV.
Later the man who made the measurements wrote to Pons and others saying
there was definitely no peak at 2.2 MeV. There was a miserably small one at
2.5 MeV but he thought it was an electronic artefact
It is not too clear, but it seems that Fleischman has withdrawn both the
neutron and tritium measurements, so it is surprising that Dr. Bressani says
that the F&P results are confirmed.
(c). In discussing the neutron and tritium results, a neutral reviewer would
have said that there are more null results than positive results; and would
have added that the positive results disagree numerically with one another.
It is surprising that Dr. Bressani did not mention his own results which
claimed to observe neutrons with a peak energy near 2.5 MeV in agreement with
reaction (2), and further that this effect was very significant - five
standard deviations. Could this unusual modesty of a scientist with decisive
results have anything to do with my conversations with Dr. Bressani described
in the Appendix which showed that his results do not justify his claims?
(d). It was a surprise to hear the KEK experiment of Dr. Shigeru Isagawi
described as supporting cold fusion as this was not his interpretation. In
preliminary experiments it was found that the 4He observed could come from
contamination. With improved experimental equipment no 4He was observed from
the gas when the Pd was heated to 770 C. When the furnace temperature was
increased up to 1180 C, large amounts of 4He were observed but the stainless
steel of the furnace body had become permeable to gases so no conclusion could
be drawn. It is hard to understand how Dr. Bressani could consider this as
satisfactory for evidence for 4He production in cold fusion.
An experiment2 has now been performed with new equipment which is
leak-proof up to 1200 C. No 4He production was observed although there was
boiling several times. This apparatus has very high resolution and can detect
down to 7 ppt of 4He. Previously they had also looked for 3He and found none.
(e). On the first day of the ICCF-3 conference in 1992 at Nagoya, Nippon
Telephone and Telegraph company, NTT, announced that the problem of cold
fusion has been solved in their labs by Dr. Yamaguchi. At that time NTT had
the largest share capitalisation in the world. Their shares increased in that
day by 8 billion dollars, but within a few days had returned to normal. Dr.
Yamaguchi's work has been widely criticised because he operated his mass
spectrograph outside its working range. In addition at Nagoya he was asked if
he had glass in his apparatus and replied "No" - later he retracted and
admitted he had glass. Ever since Paneth and Peters claims in 1926, it has
been well known that large amounts of 4He are stored in glass but are released
when hydrogen is passed over the glass.
After Nagoya, Dr. Yamaguchi did not stay long at the NTT laboratories but
went to IMRA in the South of France - neither he nor anyone else at NTT has
reported at any ICCF meeting any later work supporting the 8 billion dollar
(f). The work of Miles et al. has been very controversial and strongly
criticised. From his talk it was not clear if he had done any new experiments
to answer his critics - his talk appeared to be a repeat of his controversial
results (privately was told that his funding has been stopped). He claimed to
be able to answer his critics, but they seemed to be talking of somewhat
different aspects of the work.
(g). Dr. Gozzi gave the opening talk at the ICCF-6 meeting. Since 1989 his
chemistry group at La Sapienza in Rome has been trying to establish a
correlation between excess heat and nuclear products. Initially they proved
that the neutron and tritium channels are of "very low-probability". At this
meeting they claimed to have observed excess heat, 4He and X-rays. The X-rays
were observed using an X-ray film and from an analysis of the spots it was
deduced that the X-rays had an energy of 89 +/- 1 keV, a remarkably accurate
value to derive from spots. Also one expects characteristic X-rays of about 24
keV from Palladium but these were not observed. It was suggested that X-ray
film was a poor way to detect and measure the energy of X-rays to which Dr.
Gozzi replied that they were a poor group and could not afford modern
apparatus, but I replied that Steve Jones had made miniature X-ray detectors
which could easily fit inside anyone's apparatus - he had offered it free to
anyone but said that Dr. Oriani was the only one to accept his offer.
Dr. Gozzi concluded that the 4He channel "is not the principal source of
energy being about 0.5% of the energy measured by calorimetry". Dr. Bressani
did not mention this very important statement or comment on the continuing
mystery which is in contradiction with his conclusion.
(h). If the excess heat claimed is of a nuclear origin, then the rate of
nuclear reactions should give the same power output - but Dr. Bressani did not
make it clear in his review that this essential condition had not been met.
Another important aspect that Dr. Bressani did not bring out, was the
branching ratios. At this conference, the Tohuku group has shown that the
branching ratios are as expected for neutrons, tritium, 3He, and protons
contrary to the True Believers claim that they are suppressed relative to 4He.
Also from the zero energy muon catalysed fusion data, the branching ratios are
normal down to the lowest energy. So the 4He channel is suppressed - by a
factor of 10-7 and there is no evidence that it could become dominant.
It is the duty of a reviewer to present all the evidence - this did not
happen here. Looking at all the results, the overall conclusion must be that
the balance evidence argues strongly against cold fusion giving nuclear
One might be surprised that a physicist of Dr. Bressani's seniority could
give such a talk. At ICCF-5, he had stated very strongly that his Turin
experiment had observed a peak of neutrons at exactly the expected energy of
2.5 MeV, and this evidence was significant at the five standard deviation
level. For the Cold Fusion Update No. 11, the paper was studied and it was
found that the data did not justify this claim - indeed the data suggested
that there was something wrong with the experiment. A draft of the Update was
written and shown to Tullio and discussed with him. Later there was a second
discussion where he concluded essentially, "I do not agree with you but you
are free to publish". However he did not disagree with any specific statement
in the draft. This draft is now given as an Appendix to this update where it
can be seen that there is no clean peak at 2.5 MeV and there are significant
deviations at many energies indicating that there was an experimental or
5. SUMMARY OF EXCESS HEAT EXPERIMENTS - MCKUBRE
5.1 McKubre Review Talk
Mike McKubre had also 20 minutes to summarise his allocated subject of
excess heat. He listed three points;
a) He drew a smiley and said he was pleased with the results of the conference
b) He said there were a number of positive things - there was a fever of
enthusiasm linked to a seriousness of purpose.
c) Existence - he listed and awarded ticks to;
Nuclear products - two ticks - 4He, 3He and tritium
Heat - one tick - more than 20 groups find it
Transmutation - one tick - a wild card. If it holds up, it will dominate
He said that for tritium, Ed Storms had presented the work of Tim Claytor
at Los Alamos.
For heat there was a robust mass of observations.
d) Reproducibility - has not been achieved. It was "Important but not
For electrochemical heat - for mass flow calorimeters there was a
The IMRA(Japan) work was probably the most systematic attempt to explore
the input variables with 32 experiments - which gave no excess heat.
The New Hydrogen Energy, NHE, labs of IAE and MITI, have an exquisite
calorimeter, beautifully engineered. My notes show that Mike said they had no
results, but their abstract says "10 flow calorimetry experiments have been
performed until April 1996. Excess heat is not yet measured by the flow
calorimetry system." In Dr. Kuota's talk, no comment was made about any
experiments being performed in the period April - October though most people
do extra hours before a conference in their home country.
For Mike's SRI lab, he said that there had been lots of null results.
(Earlier during his talk, Mike had said that during the poster session he had
deliberately carried out an experiment to see if people really looked at the
posters. He had shown one graph where there was a negative heat pulse and
waited to see if anyone noticed it. He said that Morrison was the only one to
notice - "You have watch these people, they pay attention". He did not explain
how this pronounced negative heat burst could have been produced).
Dr. McKubre declared that mass flow calorimeters were the most sluggish of
animals(a). It is better to pass series of current pulses through the cell.
Fleischman and Pons load a cell, raise the temperature and find excess
The electro-migration effect helps loading and should be explored (i.e. also
add an electrical field).
(a). Dr. McKubre and also Dr. Celani, said that the mass flow cell is sluggish
- hinting that one needs a dynamic change to obtain cold fusion. This shows a
fundamental misunderstanding of the mass flow cells of NHE and IMRA(Japan)
which found no excess heat. The point is that one can make sudden and dramatic
changes to the cells themselves - it is only the outer system which is
stabilised, not the inner cell. But if this sudden change causes excess heat,
then that will be measured and recorded. To say the cell is sluggish is
incorrect - it sounds like an excuse.
Mike McKubre has a good reputation among True Believers as a scientist
because he occasionally says things that, in the mouth of others would be
taken as a criticism of cold fusion. And if asked will answer even if the
reply is not in favour of cold fusion - but if one does not ask, one does not
learn. For example, he has in the past claimed some 30% excess heat, but if
asked, he admits that this is only during a rare burst. Also if one asks what
is the excess of "heat out" over "heat in" taking the entire run, he will say
that it is of the order of 1%. Now for running a power plant, it is this last
figure of 1% which counts, not the 30% burst. This also raises the question of
whether there could be a long term drift.
When Mike says there is a problem with flow calorimeters, maybe the
problem is that they are better than previous ones which used calculation
instead of measurement to make corrections for outer heat flows. So his
problem with flow calorimeters with stabilised jackets, is that they are good
and find no excess heat. But there was a reluctance to draw the obvious
conclusion that from the good experiments such as the recent Japanese ones,
there is no cold fusion.
At ICCF-3 in Nagoya, a new front was opened when some people started to
claim transmutation of elements. The first to tell me of this was John Bockris
who claimed with his associate, to be able to produce gold - the alchemists
dream! They had some later legal and academic problems with this. However
others claimed publicly to have produced transmutations but the evidence was
not taken too seriously by relatively responsible Believers.
At this meeting, a sensational paper was presented by George Miley who
claimed to have observed "massive transmutations". George is a well-respected
fusion physicist who has in recent years, been best known as editor of the
journal Fusion Technology. Until 1989 this journal published hot fusion papers
but then added cold fusion papers, many of which were quite wild - but the hot
fusion people continued to publish in this journal.
This paper of 14 pages, is the main item in the glossy journal "Infinite
Energy" that is published by Gene Mallove. Mallove, Rothwell and Tinsley
describe it in rapturous terms "At least as important as the discovery of
nuclear fusion fragments in the 1930's - probably much more so", and "This is
a remarkable turning point in the history of cold fusion". That is what
happens with non-scientists who do not check.
At the University of Illinois, Urbana, they used the Patterson-type cell
which is being marketed by the CETI company (Clean Energy Technologies Inc.).
This has a large number of very small beads with an exceedingly thin layer of
a metal - here nickel - and the electrolyte flows over them. They claim to
confirm the observations of Patterson to observe excess heat for long periods.
They claim to have observed heavy and light elements deposited on the beads
e.g. Si, Mg, Zn, Cu, Ag, Pb by using Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy, SIMS,
and Neutron Activation Analysis, NAA.
At first sight, it looks impressive. I was asked several times my opinion
and said that if there was one unexpected result, then it was worth looking at
it, but here there were so many contradictory miracles, that it was hard not
to doubt it.
Recently Richard Blue has studied Miley's paper and found a large number of
obvious discrepancies as soon as you look carefully at the mass spectrum from
SIMS and at the table of results. He posted this on the net. I checked by
magnifying the spectrum, and agree with him.
Essentially the isotopes in the spectrum have possible natural sources.
Thus elements in glass such as silicon, have been transferred to the beads;
and the titanium isotopes in the spectrum would be expected from the
titanium electrodes, etc. In addition some isotopes have been omitted from the
table of results although clearly visible in the spectrum. Overall the
elements have the natural isotopic abundances contrary to the claims made.
It would be polite to say it is simply sloppy work and even worse
The analysis was so poor that it hardly seems worthwhile to add that the
experiment was done with light water, H2O and not D2O. Dr. Preparata would not
have approved! - see section 11.1.
George is such a pleasant character and sounds genuinely puzzled and
worried when you talk with him, that when he sits down and studies Dick's
comments, I would expect him to retract.
Note added later. Have been having an exchange of Email with George and also
asked Richard Blue to send him his comments. Regret to say that although I
tried to make the issues sharp and clear, do not feel that I have had a
satisfactory answer to any question - usually it was another subject or theory
that was brought up. Guess that George is now a True Believer. Also his work
fulfils several of Irving Langmuir's six criteria for Pathological Science.
More recently, further analysis by Richard Murray and Jim Carr have shown
further major problems with the results and analysis of Miley. Perhaps the
kindest thing would be to quietly ignore this work as one does Bockris's claim
to transmute mercury to gold.
7. MATERIALS SCIENCE
For many years the irregular and irreproducible results on excess heat and
nuclear products have been explained away by saying that there are other
unknown factor(s). This could be solved if only the material science of
hydrogen isotopes in palladium and other metals was better understood. Further
it was said that excess heat only occurred with a high D/Pd ratio (loading).
Again at this conference Mike McKubre showed results indicating that a high
loading, up to 0.95, had been attained but not for long, often the loading
would decrease suddenly, in minutes. He declared that if only they could have
high loading, and high current for a long time, then constant excess heat
would be possible. This high loading hypothesis has justified a target for
many workers and has attracted funding.
Many groups have devoted considerable efforts to seek this holy grail or
at least, to understand the road to take. This is particularly true of groups
who have once claimed to find excess heat, often in large quantities, but who
since then, can never repeat their early result - now they study instead
material science. Some of the results are very interesting, such as the group
that made a transparent cell so that they could study the grain structure
on-line. But no new major result has been found.
It is surprising that the people holding this philosophy have not studied
the experimental results to see if they are consistent with this hypothesis.
The highest loadings reported by regular cold fusion explorers is 0.96
obtained by the Senjuh et al. of the Japanese NHE group but they find no
excess heat. The Los Alamos group of Tom Claytor used gas at only one
atmosphere pressure so the loading was very low, about 0.5 replied Ed Storms -
yet they claimed large amounts of tritium, in direct contradiction to the high
loading hypothesis. Similarly the first claims of Drs. Fleischman and Pons to
very large amounts of excess heat, up to a thousand times input, were obtained
at various low current densities where the loading must have been very small.
Later some experiments have been done at very high loadings, greater than
unity, and no evidence of cold fusion was found - these very high pressures
were obtained with a diamond anvil, and by ion implantation.
Thus this high loading hypothesis is not supported by the totality of
experiments. Let us consider another hypothesis - the "No Cold Fusion
Hypothesis". Here two major results are noted.
Firstly when palladium is exposed to high currents, it is found that the
material changes, becoming black and cracks appear. With electrolysis, the
surface becomes covered with "crud" which has been studied by several groups.
This surface layer can slow deuterium ions entering or leaving the palladium.
Sometimes the surface breaks off and exchange of deuterium with the outside
becomes possible. Thus it is not surprising that short term effects occur
which can have the appearance of excess heat bursts. In fairly careful
experiments, such as those by the SRI group of Mike McKubre, such short bursts
give excess heat of about 30% at that instant though the overall excess heat
claimed is about 1%. Then there is the question about the stability of the
calibration to one percent over a long run (this follows discussions with
Secondly in the history of cold fusion, it is noticeable that when good
fail-safe experimental techniques are used, excess heat is not observed. The
great problem is that the cell is heated and hence the heat flow out increases
and the problem is to measure this outflow. Sometimes this is done by
calculation using a variety of assumptions, as Fleischman and Pons4 did, and
their analysis was severely criticised by Wilson et al1. Most make some
attempt to insulate the cell, but the only good technique is that used by the
IMRA(Japan) group who plunge the entire experiment in a water bath and
compensate the variations of the temperature in the closed cell by varying the
current to a heater in the bath so as to keep the temperature of the bath
constant. Thus the outside world sees only the walls of the bath which are at
constant temperature - this is a fail-safe system as any errors in
calculations of heat flow and balance are not important. Note that this system
has been used before, e.g. by the Harwell group in one of their many
8. WHO ARE YOU? WHO PAYS YOU?
In previous ICCF meetings, have often been approached by participants
asking curious questions about myself. But at this meeting many asked me and I
formed the impression that they believed that I was an agent of some
mysterious rich organisation which was anti-Cold Fusion. And that I must be
well paid to make such clear statements about the quality of the cold fusion
studies reported and their inconsistencies.
Usually I simply explain that I am a physicist with an interest in
astrophysics. Finally was forced to explain that I have been spokesman of
international collaborations for over thirty years and have just come from a
meeting of our E632 collaboration at Fermilab which has eight European groups,
seven US groups, two Indian groups and three Russian groups. When I retired
two years ago, was given the finest present I have ever received - for 7
months before my retirement party, three friends had searched the literature
and selecting only collaboration papers, some 280 of them, they listed each
author - over 800 of them - and then wrote to as many as they could find and
asked them to contribute something for a book to be presented. The book
contains the first page of each of the 280 collaboration papers. For each
co-author the number of papers with shared authorship was calculated and
listed and the number of the first shared paper is given. The contribution of
each co-author has been inserted on a page near that first shared paper. It is
quite a book.
The other point is that I love good science and dislike bad science.
9. COURT CASE - LA REPUBBLICA VERSUS DRS. PREPARATA, BRESSANI, DEL GIUDICE,
FLEISCHMAN, AND PONS
In 1991 the Science Editor of the Repubblica mentioned in a book review,
that cold fusion was similar to scientific fraud. Drs. Preparata, Bressani and
Del Giudice protested in letters but the Science Editor, Giovanni Maria Pace,
was unrepentant. This allowed them to sue together with Drs. Fleischman and
Pons for some $5 million. Dr. Gozzi was asked to be their expert and I was
asked to help La Repubblica. This year the judges made a carefully written
judgement5 which said that there was such confusion and doubts that Dr. Pace
was entitled to make his statements. They particularly noted that in 1989, Dr.
Pons had claimed to have a cold fusion boiler which was capable of making a
cup of tea. They wrote that the plaintiffs had lost touch with reality. Costs
were given against Drs. Preparata, Bressani, Del Giudice, Fleischman, and
In a letter6 to Nature, Drs. Preparata and Del Giudice (why not also Dr.
Bressani?) attacked Nature and "the widespread innuendo, defamation, and
vituperation" they have suffered. They said they were going to appeal the
It is a remarkable letter. I replied7 to it adding some facts that had
been inadvertently omitted and ended by mentioning that ICCF-6 would be held
and "Those attending will be delighted if Pons can bring his boiler and use it
to make us all a cup of tea."
10. NEXT ICCF CONFERENCE
It was previously suggested in the journal "Infinite Energy" that the
next international cold fusion conference, ICCF-7, would be held in the
autumn-winter of 1997 in the US. However at ICCF-6 it was announced it would
be held in the spring of 1998 in Vancouver (the losing bidder was Italy).
It was not said who would sponsor the next conference. From conversations
with people who did not wish to be quoted, there did not seem to be any rush
by the Japanese agencies who had funded this present conference, to fund the
next. It was said that the funding will be basically from ENECO - the business
organisation who hold most of the cold fusion patents or patent claims, of
Fleischmann, Pons and others and who advertise themselves as "an intellectual
property clearing house.
Will the meeting be early enough in the spring for some skiing?
Hope a cup of tea will be provided.
11. SHORT NOTES
11.1 Preparata Does an Experiment!
Dr. Preparata continues to be a very firm Believer in cold fusion.
Apparently not discouraged by strong criticism8 of his theory of cold fusion
at ICCF-4 by Drs. M. Rabbinowich, Y.E. Kim, V.A. Chechin, and V.A. Tsarev, he
and some theoretical colleagues have set up a small experiment. He described
it and said they had suffered from a power failure - I tried to tell him that
was normal, but he brushed aside my comment and seemed unaware that
experimentalists take precautions against power failures.
The experiment was a typical True Believers one of an electrolytic cell
and a minuscule palladium cathode and D2O. It was poorly designed for
calorimetry and was quite different from the MITI/NEDO and IMRA(Japan) designs
which measure all heat flows and do not rely on doubtful assumptions. Dr.
Preparata claimed9 "Remarkable quantities of excess heat" of some 200%. He
said it was related to the g-phase of Pd-D, a phase which others cannot find.
When I asked if his theory predicted excess heat also with light water,
H2O, he replied it did not. It will be interesting to see if this has any
effect on the many True Believers who claim to do find cold fusion effects
11.2 London Theatre Play "Blinded by the Sun"
The Journal Nature does not often review theatre plays, but it reviewed two
in its Sept. 1996 edition. One was "Blinded by the Sun" and as one might guess
it is about a scientist with a good reputation who succeeds in obtaining
hydrogen from water and it will solve all the World's energy problems. He
decides it is so important he will not wait for peer review and publication in
a scientific journal, but instead will first hold a press conference - "sounds
familiar" as Nature comments. The play is by an experienced playwright,
Stephen Poliakoff, and is well-recommended by non-scientific critics - when I
went all the seats were sold and I had to wait an hour for a returned ticket -
but is was well worth it. The theatre programme is interesting as it contains
a long article by David Jones who writes the marvellous Daedalus column in
Nature. He compares the events in "Blinded By the Sun" with "the recent famous
scientific scandal which came close to fraud in its pure form" - he writes
carefully to avoid being sued!
I would recommend it as a good play about the interplay of scientists
confronted with a difficult situation. When I told Martin about it he said he
would definitely go.
11.3 Second International Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Conference, ILENR2
This is an impressive title and no one would expect that it was a cold
fusion conference organised by John Bockris of Texas A&M. Indeed the Texas A&M
authorities did not realise it and last year approved holding the first
meeting on campus. However when a second meeting was proposed this year, "a
12-person Chemistry Department advisory committee voted unanimously to ban the
meeting" according to "Infinite Energy", so it was held off campus.
11.4 Glow Discharge and Sputtering experiments
There are a number of experiments which do not use electrolysis or gas
pressure as Fleischman and Pons and Steve Jones initially proposed. In
particular there are many which use electrical discharges. Unfortunately it is
not clear whether they are zero-energy (cold) fusion or are intermediate
energy (lukewarm) fusion. The point is that in so-called glow discharges,
quite high energies can be occasionally created by sparking and as Dr. Kasagi
showed deuteron ions of about 3000 eV can cause nuclear interactions giving
low levels of nuclear products such as n, p, t, and 3He. An example of this
is the work of Kucherov et al. from the "Luch" labs near Moscow, which made
such an impression on some at ICCF-3 in Nagoya. Hence it would be unsafe to
consider experimental claims to have observed such levels until a proper
detailed study has been made of the energy distribution of the incident ions.
11.5. About the Conference
The conference was held in the Apex Toya hotel which is about 2 hours from
Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido. It is high on a ridge with ski
lifts going down to the Pacific on one side and on the other side are ski
lifts going down to a large volcanic crater lake with steep islands in it.
Must be nice in good weather but it finally snowed towards the end of the
week. The hotel was very luxurious and the Chinese restaurant was one of the
best I have visited.
The only sponsor named was the government organisation, New Energy and
Industrial Development Organisation, NEDO. However others contributed, for
example, heard of a major Japanese car company looking after four Russian
Participants generally considered it by far the most scientific conference
in the series. There were three probable reasons. Firstly, out of the 50
talks, there were only two theory talks (by Chubb and Chubb, and by Kim et al.
of Purdue University) and no theory summary talk. Secondly, major Japanese
laboratories presented serious experiments with carefully controls and
calibrations - and they gave believable errors. Thirdly, the conference
Chairman, Prof. Okamoto said that some 40 papers had been excluded (not quite
Media interest has declined steadily - from the feverish atmosphere with
official and private press conferences of the first meeting - this time was
not aware of any outside media interest whatsoever.
Analysis of the official lists (slightly different from reality) gave 170
participants, 50 talks, and 77 posters - i.e. 170-50-77. The corresponding
numbers for the major countries are; Japan 91-22-19; USA 32-11-16; Italy 15-6-4; Russia 8-4-15;
China 4-1-15; France 6 -2-1
11.6. CETI - The Patterson Power Cell
Dr. James Patterson and Jim Redding have been making large claims of
continuous excess heat from the Patterson power cells and they have set up a
company called Clean Energy Technologies Inc., CETI, to sell them. Their cells
have been propagandised by Mr. Rothwell on the net but he withdrew after he
was severely attacked (e.g. he said it could produce for hours 1300 watts out
for one watt in, but it was pointed out that this would boil all the water
away and end the experiment quickly, so he changed his story).
There should have been a CETI session, but this disappeared apart from
a talk by George Miley mainly about transmutations.
After ICCF-6, Gene Mallove posted that CETI had a stall at the American
Nuclear Society meeting in Washington DC on the 11 and 12 November. They were
selling kits at $3,750 each and claimed to have sold 40 of which some 15 were
sold at the ANS meeting!. They supplied a number of things including two
research cells and a monthly newsletter edited by Prof. George Miley and
mandatory on-site training in the use of the cells at the University of
Illinois - suppose the university approves?
At their stall, they had a cell running at 5 watts out for 1.5 watt in -
much more modest than their previous claims of over 1000 watts out - are they
They also claim to reduce the radioactivity of heavy elements such as
uranium or thorium by "conservatively" 50%. Amazing!
Apparently people are very interested in Miley's transmutation paper
(according to Mallove) and he has been invited to present his latest work at
the American Nuclear Society meeting in June.
Mallove says the US Patent Office has allowed them a patent (suspect it
does not contain the words "cold fusion").
Mallove writes "according to CEO Redding" an organisation has already
purchased the 'exclusive world rights' to licence and sub-licence this patent.
The organisation has paid CETI $1 million ($1,000,000) for this. The
organisation's identity, for now, is private'. Well we have already heard this
before about mysterious buyers putting up a million - think the last was
hinted to be Motorola but equally discrete word was that Motorola was not
putting up a million dollars.
Seems like a case that might interest the Regulators.
11.7 The Siena Bomb
In January 1994, the Italian press was full of a great discovery at Siena
of a cell that produced 50 watts by cold fusion - and this was followed by a
paper10 by S. Focardi et al. .
They heated a nickel wire to about 500 C in a hydrogen gas and got out much
more heat than they would have expected - the calibration being done in
I have suggested many times to Prof. Focardi that it was a question of
either fusion or of heat transfer - for hydrogen gas is the second best
material to transfer heat. A quick way to settle the matter would be to run
the experiment with helium gas which transfers heat efficiently but cannot
give fusion. Despite urgings, they have always refused to do this simple but
Two things have happened since - they have been funded by a major company
and they have stopped talking to any audience which might ask probing
questions, though I did manage to attend one. It was most disappointing as it
hardly discussed the experiment or the results - it was mainly a superficial
account of the World's energy problems. They did not talk at ICCF-5 and did
not appear at ICCF-6.
Although Prof. Focardi has been an experienced scientific administrator for
many years, he seems to have lost touch with experimental Science and its code
See Post-script below for later official information.
11.8 Tom Droege
Recently some people have been asking what has become of Tom Droege who
made a good reputation for himself by carry out experiments to check cold
fusion claims and reporting the results on-line. As he used good experimental
technique and scientific methods, he could not verify any claim mentioned.
When I was at the E632 Collaboration meeting in Fermilab, met Tom. He is very
busy working on cosmic ray detectors for Jim Cronin's big experiment - has
developed some interesting new techniques. He was interested in my new theory
for the production of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, > 1019 eV, from
micro-quasers in our galaxy which were discovered by Felix Mirabel. Tom has
put cold fusion completely behind him.
11.9 Macmillan Encyclopaedia of Physics
Have just received the four handsomely bound volumes of the new Macmillan
Encyclopaedia of Physics. Some might be interested in the section on "Error
and Fraud", pages 316 to 320.
12. Please Can I Have a Cup of Tea?
In July 1989, Stan Pons gave an interview11 where he is photographed with
a cell that he claims is a boiler of which he said "It wouldn't take care of
the family's electrical needs, but it certainly could provide them with hot
water year round" and later "Simply put, in its current state it could provide
boiling water for a cup of tea."
Now seven years later we went to ICCF-6 hoping for this boiler to provide
us with a cup of tea, but there still seems to be a problem - wonder what it
could possibly be?
1. Japanese government and major Japanese companies have done good and
careful experiments to confirm and to test cold fusion. Their experiments show
no evidence in favour of cold fusion even though they had the advice of the
leading cold fusion experimentalists.
2. In all experiments except those performed by cold fusion Believers in
metals, the branching ratios of n, p, t, 3He are equal and 107 times larger
that for 4He. The True Believers find many different ratios often disagreeing,
and say that the 4He channel is dominant instead of being minor. Now new and
careful experimentalists with deuteron beams fired into metals, find the
normal branching ratios. Further they studied the variation of rate down to
very low energies and found no anomaly such as the very sharp rise in the rate
at low energies which would be required by cold fusion claims. Note these
experiments were carried out in the metal lattice itself.
3. All this strong evidence against cold fusion claims, seem to have had
little effect on the summary speakers who kept smiling.
4. In the past there have been weak claims of transmutation of elements.
At ICCF-6 George Miley made extravagant claims that from nickel he can produce
many elements all the way up to lead. Critics say that his data can be
interpreted without transmutations.
5. Considerable data has been obtained on the structure of materials. It is
noted that with time the metal can have cracks and be covered with crud. This
may help to explain why after long periods, bursts of excess heat are observed
- this in experiments which are not well-designed and which do not have an
outer bath maintained at a constant temperature.
6. In the law suit brought against La Repubblica by Fleischman, Pons,
Preparata, Bressani and Del Giudice, the judges refused it and awarded costs
against the five. They are appealing
7. Despite all the failures to reproduce cold fusion in careful experiments
by Japanese researchers, a seventh conference is planned for 1998 - but
probably with little Japanese money.
POST-SCRIPTS; (1) "SIENA BOMB" NOT CONFIRMED BY NEW EXPERIMENT
(2) OTHER WRONG RESULTS DISPROVED - AXIONS, H/D RATIO
The claim by Focardi et al.10, to have maintain 44 Watts of power
production over 24 days, and which they claim to have repeated, has been
checked by an independent group. This was the LAA project who performed their
experiment on the CERN site - note they are independent of CERN, also I was
This major paper by E. Cerron-Zeballos et al., will be published in Nuovo
Cimento soon - it was submitted 3 July 1996 and approved 18 November 1996. The
"Anomalous heat production in a nickel rod loaded with hydrogen has been
reported by Focardi et al. (Nuovo Cimento A, 107(1994)163). We have
investigated this phenomenon by repeating the experiment. We found the results
to be consistent with our observations. : namely we measured higher
temperatures for the same input power when hydrogen is absorbed during a
heating cycle. Nevertheless this temperature rise does not appear to
correspond to an increase an heat production. We have added a temperature
sensor to the container of the experiment. The temperature of the container
follows the same temperature with input power curve irrespective of whether
there is an anomalous absorption of hydrogen or not: therefore we have no
evidence of that this temperature increase corresponds to another source of
heat. In conclusion, we have observed all the effects discovered by Focardi et
al., but our results imply that there is no production of power associated
with the absorption of hydrogen by nuclei."
Thus there is are strange effects, but the experiment is complicated and
not easy to interpret. Essentially they say, in a very polite way, that the
interpretation of Focardi et al. was rather enthusiastic. This confirmed what
I had been trying to suggest to Prof. Focardi, that before having press
conferences and arrangements with industry, he should repeat the experiments
with more instrumentation and should vary the conditions to try and prove
himself wrong, e.g. by trying helium.
There is no blame for making a mistake - the question is how you react
afterwards. This is beautifully illustrated in the current 10th January issue
of Science in two cases described.
Gary Taubes (author of Bad Science - the Short Life and Weird Times of
Cold Fusion" recounts the history of the claim to have discovered the axion at
Darmstadt. In 1969 Walter Greiner proposed that when two heavy ions e.g.
Uranium, touched they could form a "quasi-atom" which could generate enormous
electrical charge which could produce electrons and positrons giving new
particles. In 1983 -87 two experiments observed peaks in the positron spectrum
of six standard deviations which was sometimes interpreted as being axions
which are a serious candidate for the missing Dark Matter of the Universe.
However the results were not reproducible and the position of the peaks
shifted. Jack Greenberg of Yale and Tom Cowen of Livermore strongly supported
the existence of peaks and criticised those who disagreed. It was said that
the conditions had to be just right to observe the peaks, and if you did not
find them, it was because your target was too thick or the energy resolution
was not quite right. Berndt Muller at a nuclear physics meeting in 1986,
compared the work and ideas with Irving Langmuir's six criteria of
Pathological Science and showed great similarity - he was not popular with
Now three major second generation experiments have been done with ten times
the statistics and almost all the authors consider that the erratic peaks are
not real. Rudi Ganz of Illinois, showed that by making careful selections
(cuts) of random data, it was possible to generate similar peaks. However
Greenberg and Cowan insist that the peaks are real and even that if they
re-analyse the data, they can find peaks. - they have become True Believers.
Observers of Cold Fusion may find some similarity between this case history
and that of cold fusion.
In contrast is the case of the Hydrogen to deuterium ratio, H/D. measured
by astrophysicists. The H/D ratio is a crucial ingredient of Big Bang
Nucleosynthesis which is a key evidence in favour of the Big Bang theory of
the origin of the Universe. This ratio was for long thought to be 10-5 and
this allowed the numbers of neutrino families to be about three as found by
LEP (2.998 +/- 0.004). Then measurements from the Keck telescope gave a ratio
ten times higher, 10-4. Many measurements were made and they formed two groups
about the two values. At the biannual Texas conference on astrophysics held in
Chicago in December which I attended. David Tytler gave a new long analysis of
his and the other results which showed that the higher ratio values came from
a subtle mis-interpretation of the data and 10-5 was the best value. One of
the leaders of the higher ratio, Craig Hogan, was scheduled to speak before
the new analysis was known. It was a difficult situation, but fortunately
Craig is an excellent astrophysicist as well as a responsible scientist and he
acknowledged that David Tytler's data were "clearly superior and his arguments
were real. How different from cold fusion - here there is no True Believer to
So this is the message for people like Profs. Focardi, Miley etc. - it is
no crime to make a mistake, but it is irresponsible to continue when the
evidence against accumulates - a good responsible scientist tries to prove
In the same issue of Science, there is third analysis which may be wrong,
(though the experiment is correct) but as I am a member of the small, though
growing minority who thinks so, it is better to wait.
1. J. Wilson et al., J. Electroanal. Chem. 332(1992)1.
2. S. Isagawa and Y. Kanda, KEK preprint 96-138 (1996).
3. S, Isagawa, Vacuum, 47(1996)497-499.
4. M. Fleischman and S. Pons, J. Electroanal. Chem. 261(1989)1,
5. Nature, 363(1993)107.
6. E. Del Giudice and G. Preparata, Nature 381 (1996) 729.
7. D.R.O. Morrison, Nature 382(1996)572.
8. M. Rabbinowich, . Kim, V.A. Chechin, and V.A. Tsarev, ICCF-4, pages 3 to
9. G. Preparata, J. Electroanal. Chem. 411(1996)9-18.
10. S. Focardi, R. Habel and F. Piantelli, Il Nuovo Cimento,
11. Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 8 July 1989.
APPENDIX - was Cold Fusion Update No. 11
Neutron Claims of Bressani et al. Critically Examined.
B5. Bressani et al., Turin
The group of Tullio Bressani et al. in Turin, has published1 an important
result based on experiments where they claimed to have observed neutrons
emitted from Titanium in deuterium gas. What was particularly striking about
these measurements, was their claim that the energy of each neutron was
measured and a peak was obtained near the value of 2.45 MeV which would be
expected if the neutrons came directly from the reaction;
d + d ---> 3He + n(2.45 MeV)
Previously F&P in their 23 March 1989 press conference and in the original
version of their first paper, claimed that they had established this as they
observe a sharp peak of gammas at 2.5 MeV from the reaction of these
energetic neutrons with the protons of the water
n(2.45 MeV) + p ---> d + g(2.5 MeV)
But it was pointed out to Fleischmann at Harwell on the 28th March 1989,
that this was impossible as the neutrons slowed down before interacting and
were thermal when captured by the protons of the water, so that the reaction
should have been;
n(0 MeV) + p ---> d + g(2.2 MeV)
giving the well-known gammas of 2.2 MeV. Two days later at Lausanne,
Fleischmann showed almost the same graph of gammas with the peak at 2.2 MeV -
this disturbing change is discussed in detail in Frank Close's book2. It can
be seen why the result of Bressani et al. excited such great interest.
In 1991 Bressani et al.3 used 3 grams of Titanium shavings which they
temperature cycled from 25 C up to 540 C, called "UP", and back down again,
"DOWN". A very broad peak can be observed centred near 2.45 MeV which they say
is about 2.5 standard deviations. They say no enhancement was observed with
hydrogen instead of deuterium, but they do not use the hydrogen data as a
background as might be expected, but surprisingly use the "DOWN" distribution.
No real explanation for this choice is given except that the shape is better -
there are problems with the background which is mainly instrumental and not
natural. The loading was D/Ti = 0.32 which is surprisingly low and almost all
True Believers declare that to obtain cold fusion effects one needs the
loading to be > 0.8, or > 0.9, or >1.0.
A more complete experiment was performed in 1992 and reported1 by Botta et
al. Three experiments were performed, Ti with D2 gas, Ti with H2 gas and Pd
with D2 gas for times of 13933, 4631 and 2820 minutes (a total time of less
than 15 days - short for such a crucial experiment). This time the background
was taken as the hydrogen run. It is claimed that all the events above
background in the bin from 2 to 3 MeV are neutrons corresponding to a 2.45
MeV peak and a significance of 5 standard deviations claimed - this statement
is really sensational - clean, convincing statistically significant evidence
for cold fusion!
However there is a major problem for there is not a clear peak at 2.45 MeV
as claimed, but rather a sharp rise at 2 MeV and a slow fall-off above the 2
to 3 MeV bin going out to 6 MeV. It is essential to understand the asymmetry
and the origin of these high energy neutrons before any claim can be made for
a single symmetric peak of 2.45 MeV neutrons. If one takes fig. 2 of the
ICCF-3 paper, then measuring this figure, the statistical significance of the
excess in the bins, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5, and 5 to 6 MeV is resp., about
5.3, 4.7, 3.7, and 2.8 standard deviations. Thus anyone who wishes to claim
that the excess counts in the 2 to 3 MeV bin means something, has also to
explain the overall more significant excesses in the neighbouring bins (Note
their resolution, FWHM was about 1 MeV). It must be concluded that any claim
to observe 2.45 MeV neutrons is not justified.
At ICCF5, Tullio4 presented their results entitled "Search for 4He
production in Pd/D2 systems in a Gas phase". He said they decided to improve
their experiment but rather than increase the number of neutron detectors,
they decided to improve their helium detector system since there had been
several claims of large amounts of helium, and in particular the amount of
helium was sometimes almost commensurate with being the sole source of excess
heat (e.g. Miles).
He said that most of their experiments gave no helium but perhaps there
were indications of helium in one experiment4.
They now found no neutrons of 2.45 MeV, more precisely, the rate was less
than 0.4 neutrons/second per gram of Pd at the one sigma level. They consider
this result to be compatible with their earlier result of 0.02 +/- 0.01
neutrons/s/gram of Pd because the older experiment used 54 grams of Pd while
the new one used 0.5 grams. Well. maybe. There is a major assumption here that
the rate depends on the volume of the palladium. And if one has made this
assumption, then why reduce the volume of palladium by a factor of 100 since
one expects then to reduce the neutron signal also by a factor of 100? To use
0.5 grams is poor experimental design.
Very often scientists who have to report that an improved experiment does
not explain their earlier published results, tend not to announce them too
loudly, so it was very commendable of Tullio to say in public that their
important new experiment did not confirm their claim of neutrons of 2.45 MeV
which had made such an impression previously. It must have been difficult for
him as he was, with Preparata and Del Giudice, author of a theory of cold
fusion5 which was presented again at this ICCF-5 conference by Dr. Preparata;
also after La Repubblica wrote that cold fusion was scientific fraud, he,
together with Drs. Fleischmann, Pons, Preparata and Del Guidice, sued the
newspaper for some $5million6 but had costs awarded against them7.
It is the hallmark of a serious scientist to present all results even if
they do not confirm previous results. In this Tullio resembles most of the
scientists who had been very strongly presenting data which they claimed
showed evidence for the existence of a new neutrino of 17 keV mass. Some of
them had been attacking those experiments which did not find it (just as some
True Believers in cold fusion attack the Harwell, MIT and CalTech
experiments). It may be remembered8 that when the weight of null experiments
against the proposed new 17 keV neutrino became too great, they realised that
their own experiments must be mistaken and hence carefully checked them for
error and sometimes even repeated their experiments, to try to find the error
and to prove themselves wrong - this is how good scientists follow the
scientific method they try to prove themselves wrong.
The question of whether neutrons of 2.45 MeV are emitted or not, is a very
important one. It is to be hoped that the Turin group will also do a good
decisive experiment on this subject and it is to be expected that the neutron
system will be improved, that the volume of metal will be increased by a
factor of 100 and not reduced by a factor of 100, and the run will be long
enough, some months, to give good statistics with D2 and H2. Also with their
very low efficiency of 2.5x10-4, the counting rates are very low, so it would
be wise to perform the experiment deep underground. Finally it is essential
that an explanation is given of the asymmetric shape of the neutron spectrum,
explaining or removing the large number of high energy neutrons so that a
clear peak at 2.45 MeV can be seen - if it exists.
Below is given a more detailed discussion of the work and analysis of the
Turin group since Tullio has stated4 "Since the start of the debate about the
occurrence of D-D fusion phenomena in the lattice of some metals like Pd and
Ti, the detection of neutrons, in particular 2.5 MeV neutrons, has been
considered the most reliable signature of the effect"
Description of Experiments and Analysis of the Turin Group of Bressani et al.
The technique that allows the energy of the neutron to be measured at
emission, is to use two sets of scintillation counters and time of flight. The
neutron scatters in the first set giving a "start" signal, and the "stop"
signal is given by the second set. However the price to be paid is low
efficiency, measured to be 2.5x10-4. Thus any counting rate quoted, has to be
multiplied by this small number to find out the actual counting rate per gram
of metal. As the amount of metal is small, the counting rates are very low so
this must be considered a difficult low-counting experiment of the type that
should best be performed deep underground.
Three sets of runs have been made.
Deuterium gas was used with 3 grams of Titanium shavings. The loading
ratio, D/Ti atoms, was only 0.32 which is very low - one can obtain 1.8
fairly easily with a higher D2 gas pressure. Generally True Believers say that
the reason null results are obtained is because the loading was too low.
However a signal of about 2.5 standard deviations was claimed. This would
correspond to 1.3 +/- 0.5 neutrons/second/gram of Ti. However the analysis was
rather curious and merits study.
Normally one compares the energy spectrum obtained with deuterium with
that from hydrogen(as blank) and hopes to find a peak near 2.45 MeV, but the
paper3 says that the event distribution showed some systematic effect. Instead
the energy spectrum during the temperature increases, "UP", was compared with
that during the decreases, "DOWN", and on subtracting, a broad peak near 2.5
MeV was shown. However no justification of such a curious choice of background
was made since one might have expected the deuterium concentrations to be
somewhat similar during the UP and the DOWN phases.
Experiments were performed with 20 grams of titanium, this time in the
form of a sponge which greatly increased the surface area, and with 54 grams
of palladium in the form of small cylinders. The loading, D/Ti, was 0.7 for
20% of the data and the standard 1.8 for the other 80%. For the palladium, the
loading was about 0.7 - it is surprising that they tried to run with such a
low loading as most True Believers, e.g. Mike McKubre, insist that with
palladium, high loadings, above about 0.9, are necessary.
This time the raw data are given for H and for D resp., in fig 3 and 4 of
ref. 1. There are less than a 100 counts in the 0 to 1 MeV bin but about 3600
counts in both cases for the neighbouring 1 to 2 MeV bin - this is hard to
understand if the resolution has a FWHM of 1 MeV. Subtracting the two graphs,
fig. 5a, gives about 380 counts in the 2 to 3 MeV bin but a small negative
number of counts in the 1 to 2 MeV bin - it is again hard to understand why
there is not more counts in the 1 to 2 MeV bin from smearing when the
resolution is 1 MeV Full Width at Half Maximum, FWHM. The subsequent bins give
about 280, 180, 140, and 60 counts for 3 to 4, 4 to 5, 5 to 6, and 6 to 7 MeV
bins resp., which are too high numbers for a single peak at 2.45 MeV and a
resolution of about +/- 0.5 MeV. Clearly there is something wrong with this
analysis or with the data.
The above analysis gave 3.9 sigma. A second analysis gave 5.3 sigma. The
neutron emission was given as 0.11 +/- 0.03 neutrons/second /gram of titanium,
suggesting a 3.7 sigma result, so the first analysis seems preferred. It is
noted that this rate is a factor of ten less than the rate of 1.3 +/- 0.5
n/s/g found in 1991 and this is explained as being due to the titanium having
a greater surface area as it was now in the form of a sponge - but this reason
seems unreasonable as the rate is quoted as per gram of titanium and hence the
rate with the Ti sponge should have been much higher not ten times lower. If
the rate had been quoted per unit of surface, the discrepancy would have been
greater, not less. Yet the authors also say that a bulk phenomenon is
preferred by the theoretical model of Bressani, Del Guidice and Preparata5 -
but these data seem to contradict this model? Could the model possibly be
It may be noted that the 1991 analysis technique of subtracting DOWN from
UP was not used - not surprisingly since it is shown that for the 80% of runs
with a loading D/Ti of 1.8, the deuterium was shown to stay in the metal for
the whole cycle so that such a subtraction would be inappropriate.
With the 54 grams of palladium, only a small signal of 70 counts was
observed which would correspond to 2 sigma - it would give a rate of 0.02 +/-
At ICCF5, Tullio Bressani reported4 on an experiment using the same
neutron detector, using 0.5 grams of palladium and said that the emission rate
of 2.5 MeV neutrons was less than 0.4 n/s/gram. He later explained that this
was fully consistent with the 1992 result of 0.02 +/- 0.01 n/s/g which was
obtained using 54 grams of palladium. It is correct that they are not
inconsistent, but it does not explain why if the first result was
inconclusive, it was decided to run with the mass of palladium reduced by a
factor of 100? Normally to solve a low counting problem, one increases the
mass of palladium substantially, not decreases it.
Overall, there are so many internal contradictions that it is hard to
believe that neutrons of 2.45 MeV have been observed. It would be good Science
if each of the authors were to revisit these papers.
References for Appendix only.
1. Botta et al. NC 105A(1992)1663 and in ICCF3, page 433
2. F. Close, "Too Hot to Handle"
3. Bressani et al., Nuovo Cimento 104A(1991)1413
4. T. Bressani, ICCF-5, Monte Carlo, 1995
5. T. Bressani, G. Del Giudice, and G. Preparata, Nuovo Cim. 101A(1989)865 and
G. Preparata, ICCF-5, page 65 (1995).
6. Nature 363(1993)107.
7. Nature 380(1996)
8. D.R.O. Morrison, Nature 366(1993)29-32.
c) Douglas R.O. Morrison.
Address for correspondance;
Tel. 41 22 767 35 32
Fax 41 22 767 90 75.