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IsaacKuo
2015-Sep-29, 07:46 PM
There's been this bizarre story going around the internet about a fusion discovery that I won't repeat here because frankly I don't even understand what they're trying to say. But it references an experiment which I guess is legit...or maybe not? I'm not a physicist so I'm asking here.

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/adva/5/8/10.1063/1.4928572

Heat generation above break-even from laser-induced fusion in ultra-dense deuterium
Leif Holmlid

From my untrained reading, this paper describes an experiment about using a pulsed laser to induce ordinary D-D fusion in ultradense deuterium. Is that right? Is this paper legit? Anything questionable, or red flags?

I'm wary of the extrapolation claims, but maybe that's kind of standard for this field?

Thanks!

Shaula
2015-Sep-29, 08:31 PM
Th largest red flag is the ultradense deuterium. It seems to be a material that has had a number of claims about it made over the last 6-7 years, all by just a few researchers and all seemingly coming to not that much. Holmlid is quite strongly linked with cold fusion, which may be another flag. The other places this pops up are linked to LENR, E-cat and other questionable topics.

My first instinct would be that it is not legitimate. Looking at the experiment they seem to be blasting stuff with a large, high powered laser and claiming that they see a small excess of heat. A measurement fraught with difficulties.

IsaacKuo
2015-Sep-29, 08:37 PM
Thanks! I wasn't aware of most of that.

I was a little worried about the nature of the experiment's measurement, but I'm also aware that legitimate science often has to do difficult measurements.

Reality Check
2015-Sep-29, 09:31 PM
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/adva/5/8/10.1063/1.4928572

Heat generation above break-even from laser-induced fusion in ultra-dense deuterium
Leif Holmlid

Some warning signs about the paper:

A single author.
Leif Holmlid's affiliation is "Atmospheric Science, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden".
Not nuclear physics.
Leif Holmlid (http://www2.chem.gu.se/~holmlid/) is a Professor emeritus at that department, i.e. a retired professor.
Note that he gives a reference to Wikipedia for "ultra-dense deuterium" but that article no longer mentions "ultra-dense deuterium". It looks like Holmlid was the one who added a section on it but that was removed die to conflict of interest.
"Laser-induced nuclear fusion processes1,2 are expected to occur quite easily in ultra-dense deuterium D(0)." but his references are not about D(0)!
The theory behind this is a paper by Leif Holmlid.
SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) (http://www.adsabs.harvard.edu/) gives 172 abstracts for Leif Holmlid.
About half are single author papers. Picked a couple from 2010:
"Deuteron energy of 15 MK in ultra-dense deuterium without plasma formation: Temperature of the interior of the Sun" is only cited by him and co-authors.
"Laser-driven nuclear fusion D+D in ultra-dense deuterium: MeV particles formed without ignition" is cited mostly by him and co-authors.


So I would say that this is a dubious paper about a disputed state of matter.

ETA: Looking at further claims shows that this is bad science. Small-scale nuclear fusion may be a new energy source (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150925085550.htm)

This produces almost no neutrons but instead fast, heavy electrons (muons), since it is based on nuclear reactions in ultra-dense heavy hydrogen (deuterium).

"This is a considerable advantage compared to other nuclear fusion processes which are under development at other research facilities, since the neutrons produced by such processes can cause dangerous flash burns," says Leif Holmlid, Professor Emeritus at the University of Gothenburg.

But nuclear fusion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion#Criteria_and_candidates_for_terrest rial_reactions) tells us that is impossible. The density of the deuterium does not matter - it is D fusing with D. Half of D-D fusions produce He with a neutron. Half of D-D fusions produce T with a proton. That T can also fuse with D to produce neutrons.
For that matter that list of nuclear fusion reactions has no muons at all produced!

John Mendenhall
2015-Sep-29, 11:13 PM
Needs to be indepently reproduced.

a1call
2015-Sep-30, 12:04 AM
A discussion:
http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Thread/1906-Heat-Generation-Above-Break-Even-From-Laser-induced-Fusion-in-Ultra-Dense-Deuter/

Another:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Cold_fusion

a1call
2015-Sep-30, 12:46 AM
The research done in this area has been supported by GU Ventures AB, the holding company linked to the University of Gothenburg. The results have recently been published in three international scientific journals.Find out more:
L. Holmlid and S. Olafsson, “Spontaneous Ejection of High-Energy Particles from Ultra-Dense Deuterium D(0)”. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 40 (2015) 10559-10567.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2015.06.116.
L. Holmlid and S. Olafsson, “Muon Detection studied by Pulse-Height Energy Analysis: Novel Converter Arrangements”. Review of Scientific Instruments 86, 083306 (2015). DOI: 10.1063/1.4928109.
L. Holmlid, “Heat Generation above Break-Even from Laser-Induced Fusion in Ultra-Dense Deuterium”. AIP Advances 5, 087129 (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4928572.
Contact:
Leif Holmlid, Professor Emeritus
email: holmlid@chem.gu.se

telephone: +46 (0) 31-7869076.


http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/news-calendar/News_detail//small-scale-nuclear-fusion-may-be-a-new-energy-source.cid1323710

IsaacKuo
2015-Sep-30, 12:49 AM
Thanks, Reality Check and a1call!

Yeah, the "Small-scale nuclear fusion may be a new energy source" article is the one that has been going around, and I found bizarre.

Reality Check
2015-Sep-30, 12:54 AM
Next problem with the paper: "Laser-induced fusion in D(0) using nanosecond and picosecond pulsed lasers has been reported.4–10" has no independent references. There is in fact no report of fusion being detected in any of these experiments that Holmlid and his coauthors have done! They all assume that fusion happens even though they report no actual products of D+D fusion. The act of starting with pure D and analyzing afterwards to see how much T and He was created by fusion seems to have escaped them.
A good example of bad science is TWO-COLLECTOR TIMING OF 3–14 MeV/u PARTICLES FROM LASER-INDUCED PROCESSES IN ULTRA-DENSE DEUTERIUM (http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0218301313500894)

D + D fusion may be initiated in ultra-dense deuterium D(-1) by nanosecond and picosecond pulsed lasers, as reported previously. Two in-line current collectors observe the MeV particles ejected from the laser target at up to a meter distance in a vacuum. The current signal is measured directly by using a fast oscilloscope with nanosecond resolution. Most of the signal observed is due to fast particles with energy of 3–14 MeV u-1. This confirms that the second stage of fusion reactions 3He + D and T + D initiated in D + D fusion takes place, since otherwise such a large energy would not be available. The reaction rate for 3He and T at MeV energies is high, which means reaction with D after moving a short distance of 150 nm in the ultra-dense material.
What is ejected from D + D fusion is protons and neutrons with ~3 MeV energies.
What is ejected from 3He + D is ~13 MeV protons.
What is ejected from T + D is ~14 MeV neutrons.
Some unspecified "fast particles" with 3–14 MeV per atomic unit need not be protons or neutrons. They could be almost anything, e.g. deuterium ions. Competent scientists would have used neutron detectors to detect the neutrons and proton detectors to detect the protons.

ETA: D + D fusion produces a 50/50 mix of protons and neutrons. The following processes produce both protons and neutrons. So Holmlid later shoots himself in the foot with Neutral multi-MeV/u particles from laser-induced processes in ultra-dense deuterium D(0): accurate two-collector timing and magnetic analysis (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015arXiv150801332H) where the protons mostly and mysteriously vanish!
"The neutral multi-MeV particles are concluded to be fragments of ultra-dense hydrogen HN(0) as observed in other experiments." debunks the existence of any fusion by concluding that none of these other experiments detected any neutrons.

Shaula
2015-Sep-30, 04:40 AM
http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/news-calendar/News_detail//small-scale-nuclear-fusion-may-be-a-new-energy-source.cid1323710

http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/news-calendar/News_detail//small-scale-nuclear-fusion-may-be-a-new-energy-source.cid1323710
Odd that none of those papers are published in any of the big physics journals.

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy - impact factor 3.3 (Nature's is 42)
Review of Scientific Instruments - is about the apparatus, not the results - impact factor 1.6
AIP Advances - you pay to be published in this journal - impact factor 1.5

a1call
2015-Sep-30, 06:14 AM
The subject matter is ATM so it is normal for the big journals to stay away in particular with past hoopla with the original cold fusion claim.

Reality Check
2015-Sep-30, 09:12 PM
The subject matter is ATM so it is normal for the big journals to stay away in particular with past hoopla with the original cold fusion claim.
I think that the issue is more that the papers are so obviously wrong that journals with stringent peer review (i.e. high impact) would not publish them. Thus Holmlid etc. submitted them to low impact journals with less stringent peer review.
If the papers contained valid science then the big journals would publish them even with the cold fusion association.

Jens
2015-Sep-30, 11:10 PM
I think that the issue is more that the papers are so obviously wrong that journals with stringent peer review (i.e. high impact) would not publish them. Thus Holmlid etc. submitted them to low impact journals with less stringent peer review..

That's not necessarily true. High-impact journals have retraction dates that are just as high or higher than lower impact specialized journals. People might cut corners to get into those journals and regrettably, peer review does not always catch them. Believe me, I know. I'm not saying that there are not poor journals that will publish poor articles; there are. But you cannot make a simple association that high IF means good science.

ETA: and note that I'm not defending the papers. They seem obviously flawed, for the reasons that others have brought up.

Reality Check
2015-Sep-30, 11:50 PM
That's not necessarily true. High-impact journals have retraction dates that are just as high or higher than lower impact specialized journals.
More stringent (not necessarily more correct) peer review affects acceptance. High IF means papers with authors who have higher confidence about their results. Authors who are not confident enough that their papers will not pass peer review for high impact journals tend not to submit them there. That is a probable reason why the "ultra-dense deuterium" papers are not in high impact journals. But there are other possibilities:
* Habit.
Early papers on a subject may be accepted in one journal and authors just stick to that journal. But this does not seem to be that case here.
* Journal "shopping".
Papers that are rejected by a journal can be "shopped" around to other journals until they are accepted. This is Ok for editorial rejections such as not a subject for the journal. This is bad scholarship for rejection because of invalid science.
* Trying to sidestep peer review.
For example the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/international-journal-of-hydrogen-energy/) does not specialize in nuclear fusion. So it is more likely that peer review would not include people working on or knowledgeable about nuclear fusion.