Breaking News: Sonofusion Claims in
by Eugene F. Mallove
As this Infinite Energy went to press
on March 5, a major development in sonofusion was announced-not
by our laboratory or by Roger Stringham, but on the pages of Science
magazine. Physicists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and elsewhere,
in what are being widely called "table-top fusion" experiments,
published evidence of neutron emissions and tritium production in
a deuterated liquid organic material (acetone-C3D6O) activated ultrasonically
to produce cavitation bubbles. A neutron source was used to help
create (i.e. nucleate) the bubbles. The piezoelectric transducer
was outside the sonofusion cell, so no metal surfaces were in contact
with cavitating bubbles, unlike sonofusion carried out in the cold
fusion field. The authors did not attempt to measure excess heat,
no surprise, because the entire context was that multi-million degree
temperatures were being created in the cavitation bubbles, and thus
mini-hot fusion of deuterons was being accomplished. They
did not report any helium measurements being performed. We'll have
much more coverage of this in the next issue of Infinite Energy,
and probably on our website, but this is what we know at this time:
Science magazine will publish an article and
a commentary about table-top sonofusion in its March 8, 2002 issue;
it is a high-profile cover story. We congratulate Science
and the authors for having the courage to publish this. The anomalous
elevated ratio of tritium to neutron production reported in the
article, which are already being dismissed by critics outright as
indicating an experiment flaw, has long been a known characteristic
of cold fusion systems. The articles are already being attacked-even
before publication!-by the usual anti-cold fusion suspects (Park,
Taubes, etc.). Some hot fusioneers who had claimed to have
attempted the experiment properly prior to the article's release
said that they did not observe the 2.5 MeV hot fusion neutrons.
These are the articles:
- "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic
Cavitation," R.P. Taleyarkhan, C.D. West, J.S. Cho, R.T. Lahey,
Jr., R.I. Nigmatulin, and R.C. Block, Science, Vol. 295,
March 2002, pp. 1868-1873.
- Commentary: "Evidence for Nuclear Reactions in
Imploding Bubbles," F.D. Becchetti, Science, Vol. 295,
March 2002, p. 1850.
The New York Times of March 5, 2002 led on
page A20 with a skeptical article, but the London Sunday Times
(March 4, 2002) was much more upbeat and even quoted Martin Fleischmann.
Infinite Energy readers worldwide are sure to find the general
media filled with commentary and coverage about this.
Sonofusion (and sonoluminescence) is an area in which
Infinite Energy has published since its inception in 1995.
In fact, our first issue, March/April 1995, had Roger Stringham
(now of First Gate Energies, Inc.) on the cover, cradling his sonofusion
reactor. The cover story, "A 'Micro-Fusion' Reactor: Nuclear Reactions
'In the Cold' by Ultrasonic Cavitation," was by Tom Benson, Vol.
1, No. 1, pp. 33-37. There have been many other pieces, notably:
* "Cavitation in D2O with Metal Targets Produces
Predictable Excess Heat," by Roger Stringham, John Chandler, Russ
George, Tom Passell, and Dick Raymond, Infinite Energy,
Vol. 4, No. 19, April-May 1998, pp. 41-44.
* "A Progress Report: Energy Transfer in Cold Fusion
and Sonoluminescence," by Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger (Reprint
of his Nov. 11, 1991 lecture at MIT), Infinite Energy, Vol. 4,
No. 24, March-April 1999, pp. 81-83.
In more recent issues of Infinite Energy since
November 2000 (Nos. 35-41), NERL's Manager, Kenneth Rauen, and I
have chronicled our experience with Roger Stringham's sonofusion
reactor, and our smaller modified reactor derived from it. The primary
purpose of this work has been to identify the primary and most desirable
signature of cold fusion/low energy nuclear reactions: excess heat,
but we may now look for tritium too. Dr. McKubre's group at SRI
International is now working with us to examine the possible helium
production in this sonofusion reactor. Roger Stringham et al.
have already found helium and other nuclear evidence in their sonofusion
devices, in addition to observing melting under heavy water of normally
high melting point metals.
The matter to celebrate the most in these Science
articles is the apparent discovery of yet another particular system
for producing fusion reactions. And we certainly celebrate that
the experiments are, indeed, "table-top"-just like most cold fusion
experiments. Of course, the work reported in Science needs
to be reproduced in its particular form, just as cold fusion experiments
had to be and were reproduced, repeatedly. But on first examination,
the work appears to have been done very thoroughly. It is immediately
apparent that sonofusion work carried out in the cold fusion/low-energy
nuclear reaction (LENR) field, although not referenced by these
authors, can provide significant support in both experimental and
theoretical aspects. We imagine that the authors were not aware
of much of this work.