A Colorado School of Mines researcher said Monday he has evidence that some sort of nuclear reaction is taking place in a tabletop experiment similar to one in Utah that caused a furor in the scientific community.
Energy particles escaping from the experiment could be another sign that nuclear fusion can occur at room temperature, said physicist Ed Cecil."We've found indications some nuclear reactions are taking place," said Cecil, who said he has been trying to replicate solid-state fusion since University of Utah researchers announced March 1989 they had produced nuclear fusion in a relatively simple experiment.
Cecil and his team, and electrochemists B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann at the U. of U. use the same concept, combining deuterium atoms in such tremendous concentrations they say the atoms fuse together, releasing energy.
Pons and Fleischmann separate deuterium, a form of hydrogen with an extra neutron, from heavy water and use a palladium electrode in the heavy water - made from oxygen and deuterium - to capture and compress the deuterium atoms.
But Cecil uses pure deuterium in its gas form in a sealed glass vessel containing a strip of heated titanium metal. Titanium, like palladium, absorbs deuterium as a sponge would soak up water.
The Utah researchers have measured excess heat, plus some neutron emissions and low-energy X-rays. Cecil, however, said he has been measuring "charged particles - charged alpha particles and protons."
An alpha particle is a positively charged nuclear particle identical to the nucleus of a helium atom, made up of two protons and two neutrons, and is ejected during some radioactive transformations.
Cecil is not ready to call it cold fusion, or solid-state fusion, "but I will say we've seen a number of positive results during the past couple of months. We're at the 80 percent or 90 percent confidence level."