COLD NUCLEAR FUSION IN CONDENSED MATTER
S. E. Jones, E. P. Palmer, J. B. Czirr, D. L. Decker, G. L.
J. M. Thorne, and S. F. Taylor
Department of Physics and Chemistry
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602
Department of Physics
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721
March 23, 1989
Fusion of isotopic hydrogen nuclei is the principal means
energy in the high-temperature interior of stars. In relatively
terrestrial conditions, the nuclei are clothed with electrons
approach one another no closer than allowed by the molecular
barrier. The rate of nuclear fusion in molecular hydrogen is
governed by the quantum-mechanical tunneling through that barrier,
equivalently, the probability of finding the two nuclei at zero
separation. In a deuterium molecule, where the equilibrium separation
between deuterons (d) is 0.74 A, the d-d fusion rate is exceedingly
slow, about 10E-70 per D molecule per second. 
By replacing the electron in a hydrogen molecular ion with
massive charged particle, the fusion rate is greatly increased.
muon-catalyzed fusion, the internuclear separation is reduced
factor of approximately 200 (the muon to electron mass ratio),
nuclear fusion rate correspondingly increases by roughly eighty
of magnitude . Muon-catalyzed fusion has been demonstrated
an effective means of rapidly inducing fusion reactions in low-
temperature hydrogen isotopic mixtures .
A hypothetical quasi-particle a few times as massive as the
would increase the cold fusion rate to readily measurable levels,
about 10E-20 fusions per d-d molecule per second . Our results
imply that an equivalent distortion on the internuclear hydrogen
wavefunction can be realized under certain conditions when hydrogen
isotopic nuclei are loaded into metallic crystalline lattices
other forms of condensed matter.
We have discovered a means of inducing nuclear fusion without
of either high temperatures or radioactive muons. We will present
direct experimental results as well as indirect geological evidence
for the occurrence of cold nuclear fusion.
DETECTION OF COLD FUSION NEUTRONS
We have observed deuteron-deuteron fusion at room temperature
low-voltage electrolytic infusion of deuterons into metallic
or palladium electrodes. The fusion reaction
d + d -> He (0.82 MeV) + n (2.45 MeV) (1a)
is evidently catalyzed as d and metal ions from the electrolyte
deposited at (and into) the negative electrode. Neutrons having
approximately 2.5 MeV energy are clearly detected with a sensitive
neutron spectrometer. The experimental layout is portrayed in
1. We have not yet obtained results regarding the parallel reaction
d + d -> p (3.02 MeV) + t (1.01 MeV) (1b)
as this requires different measuring procedures. However,
it can be
presumed that the reaction (1b) occurs at a nearly equal rate
reaction (1a), which is usually the case.
The neutron spectrometer, developed at Brigham Young University
the past few years , has been crucial to the identification
cold fusion process. The detector consists of a liquid organic
scintillator (BC-505) contained in a glass cylinder 12.5 cm in
diameter, in which three lithium-6-doped glass scintillator plates
embedded. Neutrons deposit energy in the liquid scintillator
collisions and the resulting light output yields energy information.
These, now low-energy neutrons are then scavenged by lithium-6
in the glass plates where the reaction n + Li --> t + He results
scintillations in the glass. Pulse shapes from the two media
so that distinct signals are registered by the two photomultiplier
tubes (whose signals are summed). A coincidence of signals from
two media with 20 microseconds identifies the neutrons.
An energy calibration of the spectrometer was obtained using
3.2 MeV neutrons, generated via deuteron-deuteron interactions
degrees and 0 degrees, respectively, with respect to the deuteron
from a Van de Graaf accelerator. The observed energy spectra
broad structure which implies that 2.45 MeV neutrons should appear
the multi-channel analyzer spectrum in channels 45-150. Stability
the detector system was checked between data runs by measuring
counting rate for fission neutrons from a broad-spectrum californium-
252 source. We have performed other extensive tests proving that
neutron counter does not respond in this pulse height range to
sources of radiation such as thermal neutrons.
Background rates in the neutron counter are approximately
10E-3 1/s in
the energy region where 2.5 MeV neutrons are anticipated. By
comparing energy spectra from gamma and neutron sources we have
determined that nearly all of the background stems from accidental
coincidences of gamma-ray events. Improvements in the shielding
gamma-ray rejection were pursued throughout the experiments,
in significant reduction in background levels.
During the search for suitable catalytic materials, we developed
following (unoptimized) prescription for the electrolytic cells.
electrolyte is a mixture of 160 g deuterium oxide (D O) plus
metal salts in 0.2 g amounts each: FeSO . 7H O, NiCl . 6H
4 2 2 2
PdCl , CaCO , Li SO . H O, NaSO . 10H O, CaH (PO ) . H O,
2 3 2 4 2 4 2 4 4 2 2
TiOSO . H SO . 8H O, and a very small amount of AuCN.
4 2 4 2
(Our evidence indicates the importance of co-deposition of
and metal ions at the negative electrode.) The pH is adjusted
pH < 3 with HNO . Titanium and palladium, initially selected
of their large capacities for holding hydrogen and forming hydrides,
were found to be effective negative electrodes.
Other metals receiving preliminary tests include lanthanum,
iron, copper, zirconium, tantalum, and lithium-aluminum hydride.
Individual electrodes consisted of approximately 3 g purified
titanium in pellet form, or 0.5 g of 0.25 mm thick palladium
5 g of mossy palladium. Typically 4-8 cells were used simultaneously.
The palladium pieces were sometimes reused after cleaning and
roughening the surfaces with dilute acid or abrasives. Hydrogen
bubbles were observed to form on the Pd foils only after several
minutes of electrolysis, suggesting the rapid absorption of deuterons
into the foil; oxygen bubbles formed at the anode immediately.
foil was used for the positive electrodes. DC power supplies
3-25 volts across each cell at currents of 10-500 mA. Correlations
between fusion yield and voltage, current density, or surface
characteristics of the metallic cathode have not yet been established.
Small jars, approximately 4 cm high x 4 cm diameter, held
20 ml of
electrolyte solution each. The electrolytic cells were placed
alongside the neutron counter, as shown in Figure 1. The cells
simple and doubtless far from optimum at present. Nevertheless,
present combination of our cells with the state-of-the-art neutron
spectrometer is sufficient to establish the phenomenon of cold
fusion during the electrolytic infusion of isotopic hydrogen
Figure 2 displays the energy spectrum obtained under conditions
described above, juxtaposed with the background spectrum. Assuming
conservatively that all deviations from background are statistical
fluctuations, we scale the background counts by a factor of 0.46
match the foreground counts over the entire energy range (Figure
feature in channels 45-150 still rises above background by nearly
four standard deviations. This implies that our assumption is
conservative and that this structure represents a real physical
By re-scaling the background by a factor of 0.44 to match the
foreground level in regions outside this feature, the difference
(Figure 3) is obtained. It shows a robust signal centered at
100 of over five standard-deviation statistical significance.
Gaussian fit to this peak yields a centroid at channel 101 and
sigma of 28 channels. This is precisely where 2.5 MeV fusion
neutrons should appear in the spectrum according to our calibration.
The fact that a significant signal appears above background with
correct energy for d-d fusion neutrons ( 2.5 MeV) provides strong
evidence that room temperature nuclear fusion is indeed occurring
our electrolytic catalysis cells.
FUSION RATE DETERMINATION
It is instructive to scrutinize the fourteen individual runs
enter into the combined data discussed above. Figure 4 displays,
each run, the ratio of foreground count rate in the 2.5 MeV-energy
region with background rates obtained for each run. Background
were improved upon during the experiments, so we plot the data
terms of foreground-to-background ratios rather than absolute
Run 6 is particular noteworthy, having a statistical significance
approximately 5 standard deviations above background. Fused titanium
pellets were used as negative electrodes with a total mass of
g. The neutron production rate increased after about one hour
electrolysis. After about eight hours, the rate dropped dramatically
as shown in the follow-on run 7. At this time, surfaces of the
electrodes showed a dark gray coating. An analysis using electron
microscopy with a microprobe showed that the surface coating
mostly iron, deposited with deuterons at the cathode. The same
phenomenon of having the neutron signal drop after about eight
of operation appears in run 13 followed by run 14. Runs 13 and
used the same eight electrochemical cells, and again the negative
electrodes developed coatings after a few hours of electrolysis.
These observations suggest the importance of surface conditions
cold fusion process. Indeed, wide variations in surface
conditions are anticipated in the operating electrochemical cells
numerous ionic species, and these variations may account for
fluctuations in the signal level which are evident in Figure
particular, the observed "turning off" of the signal
after 8 hours
may account for a low signal-to-background ratio in runs 1 and
that a few-hour signal may have been overwhelmed after a long
hour) running time.
When run 10 started with rates substantially above background,
stopped the run and removed half of the electrochemical cells
test. The neutron production rate dropped off as expected (run
In determining the statistical significance of the data, we included
runs 1, 3, 7, 11 and 13, even though we see a systematic reason
their low foreground-to-background ratios as explained above.
shown in Figure 4, was inadvertently lost from the magnetic storage
device and could not be included in Figures 2 and 3. This does
change our conclusions.
Extensive efforts were made to generate fake neutron signals
various gamma and neutron sources. We also turned auxiliary equipment
on and off; the Van de Graaf accelerators were kept off. The
persisted as shielding was moved and as electronics modules were
tuned and even replaced. Background runs taken using operating
electrochemical cells similar to those described above but with
H O replacing the D O were featureless. No net counts above
background when standard cells were used with no current flowing.
The cold nuclear fusion rate during electrolytic fusion is
specifically for run 6 (Figure 4) as follows:
[ R ] / [ d ]
Fusions per deuteron pair = [ --- ] / [ M x --- ] (2)
[ e ] / [ 2M ]
where the observed fusion rate R = (4.1 +- 0.8) x 10E-3 fusions/s;
neutron detection efficiency, including geometrical acceptance,
calculated using a monte carlo neutron-photon transport code
be e = (1.0 +- 0.3)%; M = 4x10E22 titanium atoms for 3 g of
titanium; and the deuteron-pair per metal ion ration d/(2M) =
based on the assumption that nearly all tetrahedral sites in
titanium lattice are occupied, forming the gamma-TiD hydride.
the estimated cold nuclear fusion rate by equation (2) is
lambda 10E-23 fusions/deuteron pair/second (3)
If most fusions take place near the surface or if the titanium
is far from saturated with deuterons, or if conditions favoring
occur intermittently, then the inferred fusion rate must be much
larger, perhaps 10E-20 fusions/d-d/second.
We note that such a fusion rate could be achieved by "squeezing"
deuterons to half their normal (0.74 A) separation in molecules.
such rates are now observed in condensed matter suggests
"piezonuclear" fusion as the explanation . A possible
that quasi-electrons form in the deuterated metal lattice having
effective mass a few times that of a free electron. Isotopic
is known to accumulate at imperfections in metal lattices 
local high concentrations of hydrogen ions might be conducive
piezonuclear fusion. Since we have not seen any evidence for
in equilibrated, deuterated metals or compounds such and
methylamine-d dueteriochloride or ammonium-d chloride, we conclude
that non-equilibrium conditions are essential. Electrolysis is
way to produce conditions which are far from equilibrium.
It seems remarkable that one can influence the effective rate
fusion by varying external parameters such as pressure, heat
electromagnetic fields, but just such effects are confirmed in
form of cold nuclear fusion; muon-catalyzed fusion . Such
variations are naturally encountered in the geological environment
where heat, pressure, and contact potentials will generate severely
The observation of evidence for cold d-d fusion in the laboratory
profound geophysical implications. Thermal effects in the earth
the distribution of He and tritium can be explained in part by
fusion reactions (1) and
p + d -> He + gamma (5.4 MeV) (4)
Deuterium was incorporated in the earth during its formation.
current abundance in sea water is about 1.5x10E-4 deuterons per
proton. Water is carried down into the earth's upper mantle at
converging plate margins, and seawater is transported as deep
Moho at spreading regions . Estimates of water subduction
that a water mass equal to the ocean mass is cycled through the
in about 1-billion years . Thus, 1.4x10E43 deuterons are cycled
through the mantle in 3x10E16 s. Since each p-d fusion releases
MeV (8.6x10-13 J), we calculate that a heat flux of 750 mW/(m*m),
averaged over the earth, would result if all deuterium fused
rate at which it is supplied by subduction. This is more than
times the estimate of the actual flux of 60 mW/(m*m) . Thus,
geological p-d fusion could possibly contribute to the observed
flux, the high temperatures of the earth's core and provide an
source for plate tectonics.
The foregoing data allow a geological fusion rate lambda to
calculated. We assume a first-order rate equation for p-d
fusion: dN = lambda N dt, or lambda = (dN/N)dt. The fraction
is the ratio of the number of fusions which take place to the
of atoms available. It is also the rate of fusion divided by
of supply of deuterons; thus, dN/N is equal to the actual heat
from the earth divided by the possible heat flux so that
lambda = (60/750)/3x10E16 s = 3x10E-18 s (5)
Consider next the possibility that the localized heat of volcanism
subduction zones is supplied by fusion. As much as 10E6 J/kg
required to turn rock into magma, and this must be supplied from
local source of energy. Subducting rock contains about 3 percent
water , or 3x10E30 deuterons/kg. If the time available for
is equal to the time required for a plate to travel down a slant
distance of 700 km at a speed of 2.5 cm/year, about 10E15 s,
inferred fusion rate is:
lambda = (10E6 J/kg)/(3x10E20 d/kg x 8.6E10-13 J/fusion x
lambda = 4x10E-18 fusions/d/s (6)
This requires only about 0.3 percent of the available nuclear
The limit on the available heat is therefore the fusion rate
rather than the scarcity of fuel.
While some of the earth's heat must certainly derive from
sources, "cold" geological nuclear fusion could account
state production of considerable heat and He in the earth's interior.
High values of the He/ He ratio are found in the rocks, liquids,
gases from volcanoes and other active tectonic regions .
Primordial He will be present from the formation of the earth
but some may be generated by terrestrial nuclear fusion. The
discovery of cold nuclear fusion in the laboratory, with a rate
constant comparable to that derived from geologic thermal data,
supports our hypothesis.
Based on this new concept, we predict that some tritium should
produced by d-d fusion in the earth (see equation 1). Since tritium
decays according to t -> He + beta with a 12-year half-life,
detection of tritium in volcanic emissions would imply cold-fusion
production of tritium. This is supported by the following
observations. A tritium monitoring station was operated at Mauna
on Hawaii Island from August 1971 to the end of 1977. We have
strong correlations between tritium detected at Mauna Loa and
volcanic activity in this period of time. Figure 4 displays data
compiled by Ostlund for HT gas measured at the Mauna Loa station
1972 . Similar data taken at Miami, Florida, are provided
comparison. A striking spike in the tritium level is clearly
the February-March 1972 Mauna Loa data. Ostlund notes that these
significant tritium readings over a several-week period have
previously understood; in particular, the timing and shape of
is inconsistent with hydrogen bomb tests in Russia five months
. However, this signal is coincident with a major eruption
Mauna Ulu volcano  40 km to the southeast. Furthermore, winds
March 1972 carried volcanic gases northwest, towards the Mauna
station and on towards Honolulu 200 km away: "Trade winds
northeast] were infrequent and the southerly flow that replaced
occasionally blanketed the state with volcanic haze from an eruption
on Hawaii Island ... High particulate matter measurements in
confirmed the northward spread of haze from the Mauna Ulu Volcano
eruption on Hawaii Island." 
This remarkable set of circumstances permits us to estimate
of tritium released during the February-March 1972 eruption of
Ulu. Based on the distance to the Mauna Loa station and average
winds , we estimate that on average 100 curies of tritium
released per day for 30 days. An accidental release of this magnitude
of manmade tritium sustained for several weeks on a nearly
uninhabited island is highly unlikely. We conclude that this
eruption freed tritium produced by geological nuclear reactions.
Other HT data from the Mauna Loa station, such as the high
the latter half of 1972, are also coincident with volcanic activity,
although a tritium-releasing bomb test also occurred in Russia
August. A major spike in the atmospheric HT observed near Hawaii
Dec 1974 - June 1975  coincides with another large volcanic
eruption on Hawaii Island, but the significance is again obscured
H-bomb tests. Finally, no significant deviations in HT reading
noted in 1976 or 1977  when no volcanic activity is noted,
for "gentle" activity at Kileau on September 17, 1977
OTHER EVIDENCES FOR COLD FUSION
Further evidence for cold nuclear fusion in condensed matter
from studies of He and He in diamonds and metals. Using laser-
slicing of diamonds, H. Craig (private communication) has measured
4 3 4
absolute concentrations of both He and He. He was found to be
smoothly distributed through the crystal as if it were derived
the environment. On the other hand, He was found to be concentrated
in spots implying in-situ formation. Cold piezonuclear p-d or
fusion provides a plausible explanation for these data.
Concentration anomalies of He have also been reported in metal
. The spotty concentrations of He suggest cold piezonuclear
fusion as the origin of the observed He. Note that electrolytic
refining of the metals in deuterium-bearing water could have
conditions for cold nuclear fusion. Among several possible
explanations, the authors  suggest an "analog"
of muon catalysis.
We think they were close to the mark!
Cold nuclear fusion may be important in other celestial bodies
earth. Jupiter, for example, radiates about twice as much heat
receives from the sun . It is interesting to consider whether
nuclear fusion in the core of Jupiter, which is probably metallic
hydrogen plus iron silicate, could account for its excess heat.
is radiated at an approximate rate of 10E18 W, which could be
by p-d fusions occurring at a rate of 10E20(1/s) . Assuming
predominately hydrogen core of radius 4.6x10E9 cm, having a density
= 10 g/(cm*cm*cm) and a deuteron/proton ratio of roughly 10E-4,
deduce a required p-d fusion rate of lambda = 10E-19
fusions/deuteron/second--in remarkable agreement with cold fusion
rates found in terrestrial conditions.
A new form of cold nuclear fusion has been observed during
electrolytic infusion of deuterons into metals. While the need
off-equilibrium conditions is clearly implied by our data, techniques
other than electrochemical may also be successful. We have begun
explore the use of ion implantation, and of elevated pressures
temperatures mimicking geological conditions.
If deuteron-deuteron fusion can be catalyzed, then the d-t
reaction is probably favored due to its much larger nuclear cross
section. Thus, while the fusion rates observed so far are small,
the discovery of cold nuclear fusion in condensed matter opens
possibility at least of a new path to fusion energy.
We acknowledge valuable contributions of Douglas Bennion,
Lawrence Rees, Howard Vanfleet and J. C. Wang of Brigham Young
University, and of Mike Danos, Fraser Goff, Berndt Muller, Albert
Nier, Gote Ostlund, and Clinton Van Siclen. We especially thank
Anderson for advice on the data analysis and Harmon Craig for
continuing encouragement and for use of his data on diamonds
The research is supported by the Advanced Energy Projects
the U.S. Department of Energy.
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