Scientist Creates Cold Fusion For the First Time In Decades

Illustration for article titled Scientist Creates Cold Fusion For the First Time In Decades

Cold fusion, the act of producing a nuclear reaction at room temperature, has long been relegated to science fiction after researchers were unable to recreate the experiment that first "discovered" the phenomenon. But a Japanese scientist was supposedly able to start a cold fusion reaction earlier this week, which—if the results are real—could revolutionize the way we gather energy.


Yoshiaki Arata, a highly respected physicist in Japan, demonstrated a low-energy nuclear reaction at Osaka University on Thursday. In front of a live audience, including reporters from six major newspapers and two TV studios, Arata and a co-professor Yue-Chang Zhang, produced excess heat and helium atoms from deuterium gas.

Arata used pressure to force deuterium gas into an evacuated cell that contained a palladium and zirconium oxide mix (ZrO2-Pd). Arata said that the mix caused the deuterium's nuclei to fuse, raising the temperature in the cell and keeping the center of the cell warm for 50 hours.

Arata's experiment would mark the first time anyone has witnessed cold fusion since 1989, when Martin Fleishmann and Stanely Pons supposedly observed excess heat during electrolysis of heavy water with palladium electrodes. When they and other researchers were unable to make it work again, cold fusion became synonymous with bad science.

But the method Arata showed was "highly reproducible," according to eye witnesses of the event. If nobody calls this demonstration out as a sham, Arata might have finally found the holy grail of cheap and abundant energy—nuclear power, without its destructive heat. [Physicsworld via Slashdot]


Cool fusion is a better term..., it's actual name is muon catalyzed fusion.

Muon-catalyzed fusion (μCF) is a process allowing nuclear fusion to take place at temperatures significantly lower than the temperatures required for thermonuclear fusion, even at room temperature or lower. Although it can be produced reliably with the right equipment and has been much studied, it is believed that the poor energy balance will prevent it from ever becoming a practical power source. However, if negatively charged muons (μ−) could be made more cheaply and efficiently somehow and/or if virtually every one made could somehow be used to catalyze as many nuclear fusion reactions as possible, the energy balance might improve enough for muon-catalyzed fusion to become a practical power source. It used to be known as cold fusion; however, this term is now avoided as it can create confusion with other suggested forms of room-temperature fusion that are rejected by mainstream science. A much more appropriate name would be cool fusion, particularly if muon-catalyzed fusion ever did become a practical power source.


And still they fuse...