We have observed clear signatures for neutron emission during deuteron infusion into metals, implying the occurrence of nuclear fusion in condensed matter near room temperature. The low-level nuclear phenomenon has been demonstrated in collaborative experiments at Brigham Young University, at the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. We have shown that neutron emission can be induced in metals using both electrochemical and variational temperature/pressure means to generate non-equilibrium conditions. Observed average neutron emission rates are approximately 0.04–0.4 no/s. Current efforts focus on trying to understand and control the phenomenon. In particular, we wish to understand the correlation of neutron yields with parameters such as hydrogen/metal ion ratio, pressure (induced, for example, by electrical field or gas pressure or mechanical pressure), temperature variation, hydride phase changes, and surface conditions, e.g., a palladium coating on titanium. We want to know if fusion arises due to the close proximity of the deuterons in the lattice (piezonuclear fusion), or possibly from “microscopic hot fusion”, accompanying strong electric fields at propagating cracks in the hydride. The latter interpretation would imply neutron emission in bursts. Our experiments show clear evidence for emission of ∼102 neutrons in bursts lasting <128 μs, although random neutron-singles emissions were also observed. Experiments now underway to compare the d−d, and p−d, and d−t reaction rates will be important to a consistent description of the new phenomenon. Careful scrutiny of this effect could increase our understanding of heat, helium-3, and tritium production in the earth, other planets, and even the stars.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering