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366) A review article by Leonid Urutskoev

Ludwik Kowalski; 5/16/2009
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Shortly after posting unit 365 (about CR-39 chips exposed to titanium explosions) I received a message from L. I. Urutskoev, the author of a paper (*) that inspired me. He suggested that in future experiments I should use a low-induction capacitor and charge it to 2000 volts. Perhaps this information will be useful to someone planning to change isotopic composition of titanium via electric explosions. I have no access to a mass spectrometer.

In the same message Leonid mentioned a Russian review article he wrote for the general public. I asked for it and he sent me two versions, one in Russian and one in English. The English version of the article (translated by Stas Kibirski) is shown below. I would not volonteer to translate this article; this would be a very demanding work. In fact, this would force me to debate various topics with Leonid; I am not prepared to do this. My role is to post the article "as is," rather than as it could be. The only thing I did was to number paragraphs. This can facilitate questions and comments. Needless to say, I would be happy to participate in the discussion, if it develops after the article is posted.

Let me end this brief introduction by a quote from a private message. Responding to something I asked, Leonid wrote: I am a professional researcher. My teachers used to say a measurement should be repeated at least 7-10 times, results should be plotted, the mean value should be calculated, and error bars should be determined. Only then are you allowed to start sharing results with others. I always followed this sacred rule. Our first paper, published in 2000, was based on nearly 400 experiments; 200 of them confirmed the reality of isotopic changes, and transformations of chemical elements. Even then, THE PAPER WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED if I were not convinced that we were dealing with a totally new phenomenon, and that we would not be able to explain it without others. How many of us perform hundreds of experiments before publishing a result? I can now understand why Leonid is so critical of others.

(*) Georges Lochak and Leonid Urutskoev; “Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions and Leptonic Monopole, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Cold Fusion, 2004,” edited by Jean-Paul Biberian, published by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd, 2006. (also )

“Cold Nuclear Fusion”: Does it exist?

by L.I. Urutskoev

Department of Physics
Moscow State University of Printing Arts, Russia

1) This semi-popular article resulted from private debates with my French friend, Henri Lehn. First, it is to be noted that the Cold Nuclear Fusion (CNF) term seems least appropriate. A more correct formulation, in our opinion, could be this: Are controlled low-energy nuclear reactions possible at all? This, indeed, needs analysis of the problem history.

2) There are three stages here. The first could be related to the middle 20s of the past century when a number of publications [1-5] appeared in the leading scientific journals where it was asserted that some chemical elements transformed into others when strong electrical current was passed through condensed media (metallic wire [1], molten salts [2], etc. [3, 4]).

3) Most veritable of the works in this period are those by two American chemists, Irion, C.E. and Wendt, G.L. [1]. The authors were prompted then by several obvious facts. Accordingly, it was established through spectral analysis of light, coming to us from the sun and stars, that their spectra do not contain any typical optical lines in the heavy chemical elements range. The surface temperature of the sun, found to be about six thousand degrees, had been already measured by that time. Through the same optical measurements. On the other hand however, as shown by J. Anderson's experiments [6], discharging a condenser battery into a small wire results in 20 thousand degree temperature of the plasma formed.

4) Based on the said facts, American scientists surmised: what if absence of the heavy chemical elements spectral lines in the star light emanation can be explained by the fact that heavy chemical elements become unstable when under the six thousand degrees temperature? Then, as they thought, we can take a thin heavy chemical element wire, e.g. tungsten, transmit heavy electrical current through it, having heated it up to 20 thousand degrees, and watch “decomposing of tungsten atoms” as they called it then.

5) The very idea itself was indeed great and it's not at all important it was really wrong. In those times, there was no quantum mechanics, no electrodynamics, no neutrons, no neutrinos, no strong or weak nuclear interactions… not even nuclear physics as a science. Including simple oscillographer. But C.E. Irion and G.L.Wendt were enthusiastic enough and, so to say, took up the case. They dared to carry out a fantastic experiment, in a quite peculiar but thorough way, using such seemingly simple means that even now, 90 years later, their article on the subject when reading it, causes sincere pleasure and deep respect for their professional competence.

6) Leaving out unnecessary description of inexpedient details, let us get right down to the matter itself. Resulting from the electro-explosion of a thin tungsten wire formed was approximately one cubic cm of gas (under normal conditions, of course). Which the experimenters identified through the optical spectroscopy method. It was helium. Worth mentioning here is one more relevant factor: no typical spectral hydrogen lines were registered when analyzing the optical specter of the gas obtained. The latter is particularly significant because it shows that the experiment was “clean” - otherwise optical lines of the atmospheric hydrogen, absorbed on the surface of the explosion chamber, should have inevitably appeared.

7) Thus, it can be quite certainly asserted that in 1922, when experimenting with the said thin tungsten wire, C.E. Irion and G.L. Wendt registered a phenomenon which, speaking our time language, could be called induced cluster radioactivity. It's also worth remindinscollarsg that one cubic cm of gas contains (under normal conditions) about 1019 particles meaning that the resulting effect is indeed of macroscopic nature.

8) Feeling sure of its invalidity, Ernst Rutherford, classic of modern physics, responded quite negatively to the article by Irion, C.E, and Wendt, J.L in the Nature journal. The scholarly public indeed believed professor Rutherford but not the two yet unknown chemists.

9) Later, in the mid-20s, well-known scholars (F. Goldschnidt, A. Smits, A. Karssen, H. Nagaoka [2-5]) quite independently of each other spoke about transforming heavy chemical elements (lead into mercury) into lighter ones (mercury into gold) under powerful electrical discharge through melt, solution or the pair of substance vapor. However, as shown by the quantum mechanics, already well developed by the time, there is great difference between atomic/nuclear scales and energies hence all the experimental results were related to artifacts with no due verification resulting in termination of such research. Furthermore, it seemed something like a sort of indecent to keep on doing it.

10) The next stage of growing interest to the CNF problem was initiated de be esse in 1989 through the notorious work by M. Fleishmann and S. Pons [7]. The idea was this. That palladium easily adsorbs hydrogen is nothing knew for either physicists or chemists. Accordingly, a palladium sample can be rather simply satiated with hydrogen by 60-80%. Which actually means 6-8 atoms of hydrogen per 10 atoms of the palladium grid. Incidentally, such a quality is typical (much less obvious though) not only for palladium but for a number of other metals in the “transitional group”, such as titanium, for example. As noted by M. Fleishmann and S. Pons, electrolyzing in the so called “heavy water”, where palladium is the electrode (anode), the deuterium atoms are to be adsorbed by palladium. The assumption was that, under sufficiently high saturation degree of the palladium grid with deuterium atoms, which pair, being so close to each other, that their nuclei are to be expected to interact in a nuclear way to form up the helium atom. Such a phenomenon in physics is called synthesis taking place in stars under high temperatures accompanied with significant energy release. M. Fleishman and S. Pons tried to carry out the process under a “room temperature” which was later reflected in the name of this quite hypothetic occurrence. Qualitatively, the quantum mechanics does not forbid such “low temperature synthesis” but its probability is negligibly small. Nevertheless, it was exactly on the basis of this idea that they made their experiment.

11) That the initial intuitive idea of the experiment could be erroneous is not at all decisive. Suffice it to remind that discovery of the natural radioactivity phenomenon resulted from Becquerel's testing of Poincare's wrong hypothesis not even to say that the greater part of the Great discoveries were made through the happy-go-lucky, so to say (Ernst, Roentgen, et al).

12) Complains concerning work [7] are that “measuring” of neutrons was erroneous (it was standard electromagnetic inducing) while the value of the “excessive” heat was not measured at all. But most outrageous is the fact that the experiment has not been repeated many times over. Violating all the basic scientific research requirements! Thus, having measured none of the physical parameters correctly, not even trying to learn neither the phenomenon itself nor its reproducibility the authors decided to make a “show” with the press-conference. Nevertheless, however, somewhat miraculously, they did guess the “nuclear synthesis reactions”. As to the “synthesis” term, we tend to think it erroneous. Rather, what M. Fleishmann and S. Pons observed is just a new class of nuclear reactions which is yet to be studied and learned.

13) Thus, as to its cogency and professionalism, the scientific level of work [7], however paradoxically it may seem, is much lower than of those in the early century mentioned above. Therefore there is nothing surprising in practically immediate refutations of work [7] which, accordingly, caused great disappointment among the respective academic habitat. Nevertheless, due to simplicity of the conclusions made by M. Fleishmann and S. Pons, hundreds of inquisitive people (schoolchildren, pensioners and even university professors) believed in this idea and started experimenting with “high voltage” electrolyses. Which, to our mind, seems to be the only indisputable merit of this work.

14) As shown during the recent 20 years, the main typical features of the phenomenon include low-energy transformation of the chemical elements nuclei and excessive (in relation to the electrical energy on electrolysis) heat release. It was also discovered (with significant contribution made by Russian scholars) that low energy nuclei transformation can be observed not only under electrolysis [7] but under the glow discharge in the atmosphere of deuterium [8], the titanium wires blast in liquid [9] and other electromagnetic processes in condensed media [10]. The common in all these experiments is the electrical current through the non-equilibrium weakly ionized plasma. Though certain specific conditions must be indeed observed when carrying out any low-energy nuclear reactions.

15) Realization of the fact that the range of experiments, leading to the above said nuclear reactions, is much wider than just electrolysis in “heavy water”, resulted in changing the very name of this scientific (or pseudo-scientific, should somebody prefers it more) direction: from “cold synthesis” to “low energy nuclear reactions (LENR)” in the English version to be followed in our text.

16) With this type of nuclear reactions, no free neutrons or residual radioactivity have yet been registered as different from the usual nuclear reactions. Meaning that there are no strong interactions in the mechanism of this type of reactions. Another obvious feature of the said nuclear reactions is that they are, so to say, “collective”. However, collective interactions are rather typical for the plasma physics [11] but not yet known in the nuclear physics. So, as of today, the above facts can be considered firmly established due to selfless work of many truly enthusiastic scholars [12-14].

17) Most observant of them noticed: when experimenting with “heavy water” electrolysis, something is still going on in the working cell and heat keeps to be released in it even after the electrical voltage has been cut out. They called it “life after death” and rushed to look for tracks of any nuclear radiation. Initially, finding neutrons and gamma-rays were not successful but then, particularly so through the nuclear emulsion methods [15], and later the CR-39 solid body detector [16] made it possible to register and repeatedly reproduce certain “strange traces”. First, we ascribed them to alpha particles then to the so called “would be heavy particles”, bi-neutrons, etc.

18) Particular attention in work [9] was paid to “strange” irradiation interacting with the magnetic field. Which fact supported the assumption that unusual tracks on the nuclear emulsions were somehow connected with the hypothetic particles, called magnetic monopoles, whose existence had been predicted by theorists long time before. The distinctive feature of the phenomenon is intermittence of these tracks and their superfluous nature. Meaning they are most often formed on the detector surface border. As of today, there is no current opinion on this subject yet but the probability still remains - it is that very fact, so far little known and rather obscure, which can be taken as the key to understanding the physical mechanism of low energy nuclear reactions.

19) Due to the growing number of recent experimental publications on LENR (even though probably not top scholarly quality), intuitive analysts, including esteemed scientists, such as P. Hagelstein (Head of the Roentgen laser team), J. Loshak (pupil of Louis de Broglie), H. Stumpf (pupil of V. Heisenberg) and many other talented scholars, attempted to theoretically explain the phenomena observed. Obviously, these publications are to be considered the beginning of the third stage.

20) Experimentalists watch macroscopic (from the physics viewpoint) effects of low energy nucleus transformations. Meaning that a great number of nuclei keep interacting even despite the Coulomb barrier overcoming which classical electrodynamics, so far, seems rather unable to explain, nor quantum mechanics - the macroscopicity of the effect. The latter cannot explain it either permitting but very insignificant allowances. Value of the Lamb shift or that of the anomalous electron magnetic moment can be quite elegantly computed (with fantastic precision, by the way) through the quantum electrodynamics methods, within the quantum field theory indeed. However, quantum electrodynamics is absolutely helpless in trying to explain these very macroscopic collective phenomena. Which, in the LENR case, we have to do with which is taking place in a condensed medium, under conditions of non-equilibrium plasma at that.

21) Thus, we now seem to face a rather paradox situation in the present-day physics: on the one hand, the said effect is experimentally observed but, on the other, the existing hypothetic approaches do not help us much in understanding its physical mechanism. So there remains (as often happened in the history of physics) but one well known phenomenological way. The main questions to be answered first can be formulated as follows: If LENR are possible then nuclei of what particular chemical elements can take part in the process? What new chemical elements can such reactions produce and what will the isotopic distribution of the newly formed elements be?

22) The first step in this direction was made in works [17, 18] but much more consistently and in greater detail the phenomenological models principles of low energy chemical elements transformation, based on experimental observations, were described by D. Filipov in [18]. As already mentioned above, no free neutrons or residual radioactivity under LENR (at least in its classical interpretation). Accordingly, this fact seems to be worth trusting since it is emphasized practically by all respective experimental groups. For, paraphrasing great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, “everybody is mistaken in his own way but the true answer is always one”. Actually meaning that when explaining the LENR physical mechanisms, we can rely only on weak nuclear interactions. Or, to be more exact, on still unknown but exceptionally wide-range branch of such interaction. Another possibility is to complement the nuclear physics with some other, principally new class of nuclear interactions. In [18], the first option was chosen for making the phenomenological model under considerations.

23) Underlying the said model (as regards LENR) are four conservation laws: energy, bar by contemporary methodsyon, lepton and electrical charges. This model surmises all nuclear processes to run only due to weak interactions (plus or minus beta decay and K-capture). Furthermore, setting up parameters for certain atomic isotopes of the chemical elements under consideration and hence basically enabling interaction through the computerized LENR program to get the nuclear reaction products. Such a model became possible thanks to computers and the quantity of the Mendeleyev Table stable isotopes being final and not very large. Due to this, promptitude of modern PCs allows for screening all the respective options within reasonable span of time.

24) Results of modeling computations are quite comparable with those experimental. Accordingly, with the LENR based mixture of titanium and vanadium atoms in the plasma, 57 Fe iron isotope is expected to be formed. Which is rather rare and its content in the natural iron atomic mixture comprises just about 2%. Therefore, it is easy to diagnose it by contemporary methods. Such experiment has been carried out and the excess Fe 57 isotope was veritably registered.

25) Probability of the experimental resultant coincidence, which can indeed be easily verified, turns out to be negligibly little. Not at all helping us to better understand the physical mechanism of LENR, this fact nevertheless does confirm that while not violating the laws of conservation, such reactions somehow only contradict the probability laws. But this can be viewed as no more than just a different level of counter position.

26) That naturally calls for a question: Are LENR some “exotic” phenomenon or widely spread but so far not recognized? But although no definite answer has yet been found, more and more scientific publications keep asserting that LENR play a significant part in the life activity of biological objects [19, 20]. As of today, we consider the biological cell growth process (hence, greater quantity of atoms in the cell) to be connected with cellular intake of different chemical elements from outside necessary for the cell construction and redistribution “on place” so to say. However, it is quite possible to assume that this growth can be connected with outside intake of only certain chemical elements (e.g. oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen + may be, something else) while forming of all other necessary chemical elements is rather caused by the LENR processes in the very cell. These, in other words, basically underlie the living matter and the role of the respective chemical processes comes down to controlling the nuclear ones. The above assumption may seem something like fantasy but… should it turn out to be true then the LENR physical mechanism has to be of very “delicate and fine” nature since biological objects are exceptionally sensitive to the temperature range. In any case, we are certainly still quite far from true understanding the role of LENR in the life of biological systems. Particularly so when the subject matter is whether the physics community recognize the very fact of LENR existence. As upwell as its mechanism and how it works.

27) In view of the macroscopic nature of LENR effects, some gross and simple explanation is to be sought. Even though certain things should have to be changed in the cornerstone principles of physics. Since these are not at all irrefutable “evidence” is needed to make it evident “which of the stones is to be carefully, very carefully turned over”. Noteworthy: not to replace but to set up everything in such a way that the wall would stay but allowing for some out housing. At the moment, none knows how fundamental this out-housing can be. Thus causing a logical question: is there any need in stirring up the very foundation? Because with just one fact of macroscopic nuclear transformation we may have a chance to understand it changing nothing radically. Yet, (hardly popular now) let us remember a well known episode from the history of physics: but for the experimental banding of optical spectra no one would have paid attention to the “nonsense” by M. Planck and A. Einstein as regards the light quantum. One reliable experimental fact turned out to be enough to give a start to a new science - the quantum mechanics.

28) Firstly, no more than 20-30 experts among the whole physical community could really understand the subject in those years. But we admire their intuition. J. Loshak [21] and X. Shtumph [22] worked with some of them for many years. That why they do understand the situation much better than other scientists.

1. Wendt G.L., Irion C.E. //Amer. Chem. Soc., 44, 1887 (1922).
2. Smits A.,Karssen A.//Naturwiss, 13, 682 (1925).
3. Nagaoka H.// Nature, 116, 95 (1925); Naturwiss, 13, 682 (1925).
4. Tiede E., Stammreich A., Goldschnidt F. // Naturswiss, 13, 745 (1925).
5. Miethe A., Stammreich H. // Naturwiss, 12, 597 (1924).
6. Anderson J. // Astrophis. J., 51, 37 (1920).
7. Fleishmann M., Pons S., //J. Electroanal. Chem. 261, 301 (1989).
8. Karabut A. B., Kucherov Ya.R., Savvatimova I.B. // Phys. Letters, A 170, 265 (1992).
9. Urutskoev L.I., Liksanov V.I., Cinoev V.G. Applied Physics, 4, 83, (2000) [in Russian]
10. Balakirev V.F., Krymskii V.V, Transformation of Chemical Elements, Ekatirenburg publishing (2003). [in Russian}
11. Kadomcev V.B. “Collective Phenomena in Plasma.” Nauka, (1988) [in Russian]
12. Storms E., The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, World Scientific Publishing Co. 2007, p. 226
14. Krivit S., Winocur N., The Rebirth of Cold Fusion, New Ener. Fond., Inc., 2004, 298p.
15. Urutskoev L.I., Review., Ann. Fond. L. de Broglie 29, 1149, (2004)
Priem D., Racineux G., Lochak G., Daviau G., Fargue D., Karatchentcheff M., Lehn H., Ann. Fond. L. de Broglie 33, 129 (2008).
16. Roussetski A.S., CR-39 Track Detectors in Cold Fusion Experiments, Pub. In 11-IC CMNC (2004), Marseille, France.
17. Kuznetsov V.D.,Mishinsky G.V., Penkov F.M., Arbuzov V.I., Zhemenik V.I., Ann. Fond. L. de Broglie 28, 173, (2003).
18. Urutskoev L.I., Filipov D.V. Applied Physics 2, 30, (2004) [in Russian]
19. Kevran C.L. Biological Transmutations, Happiness Press, USU (Magalia, California),1998.
20. Vysotskii V.I., Kornilova A.A. “Nuclear Fusion and Transsmutation of Isotops in Biological Systems,” Moscow, Mir, (2003) [in two languages, Russian and English]
21. Loshak G., Z. Naturforschung, 62a, p.231, 2007.
22. Stumpf H., Z. Naturforschung, 61a, p.439, 2006.

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