A Look at Experiments

Have you ever wondered what a physics laboratory looks like? They are seldom spacious or organized the way they are shown in movies. Most LENR researchers work at universities or home laboratories, with tight budgets in a crowded space. They keep old, broken equipment on shelves to scavenge parts for new experiments. In this section we present some photographs of equipment provided by researchers, and close up pictures of equipment. The actual cells, cathodes and other equipment used in electrolysis experiments often have an ad-hoc, homemade appearance, because they are made by hand. They have to be; they are unique, one-of-a kind prototypes. Nothing quite like them has ever been made before.

A visitor seeing a LENR experiment the first time may feel disappointed. It looks like any other electrochemical experiment. The heat or neutron flux produced by the experiment are so small they can only be detected with sensitive instruments. A null cathode that produces no effect looks exactly like an active cathode. The difference between one cathode and another is in the microscopic structure, or the traces of elements mixed in with the palladium. Only one kind of cold fusion looks dramatic; the glow discharge reaction shown below.

Here are some photographs of cold fusion cells and devices.

Photos from ColdFusionNow 2013 calendar

John Bockris and electrolytic cells (Courtesy Infinite Energy Magazine) from the ColdFusionNow 2013 History of Cold Fusion calendar.

An apparatus for detecting photon radiation (Courtesy Edmund Storms)  from the ColdFusionNow 2013 History of Cold Fusion calendar.

Photos from E. Storms

A flow calorimeter constructed by Edmund Storms, courtesy E. Storms.

Note the DieHard® battery, lower right, that serves as an uninterruptible power supply. A power failure can ruin an experiment. Whenever possible, inexpensive, ordinary materials and instruments are used. However, experiments are never cheap, and they cannot be done on a shoestring. The equipment below, arranged for another experiment, costs about $40,000.

Vacuum system to prepare particles for gas loaded cold fusion cells, courtesy E. Storms.

A flow-type cell, courtesy E. Storms.

Close up of a Miley-style cell, courtesy E. Storms. Click for larger image.

Seebeck Calorimeters

A cell installed inside a Thermonetics Seebeck calorimeter with the lid removed, courtesy E. Storms.





A Seebeck calorimeter made from commercially available thermoelectric converters. Click on images for much larger views.

a. Shown in operation.

b. Another view, looking down into the calorimeter. The cell is on the bottom left, the cooling fan is on the right.

c. With top removed.

d. Looking down

Photos courtesy E. Storms. For details, see: Storms, E. Description Of A Sensitive Seebeck Calorimeter Used For Cold Fusion Studies. in The 12th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2005. Yokohama, Japan.

An inexpensive Seebeck calorimeter made from 5-inch PVC tubing. Photo courtesy E. Storms.

See: Storms, E. How to Make A Cheap and Effective Seebeck Calorimeter.


Photos from ENEA Frascati

A high resolution mass spectrometer used for on-line helium detection during a cold fusion experiment at C. R. ENEA Frascati. (http://www.frascati.enea.it/nhe/). Click to enlarge.

A cell at ENEA Frascati.


Photo and schematic from SRI

SRI Micro-Mass 5400 Noble Gas Mass Spectrometer for cold fusion experiments at SRI, International. See: McKubre, M.C.H. Review of experimental measurments involving dd reactions, PowerPoint slides.

A cell at SRI, from the same set of slides.


Photos from Y. Iwamura

Experimental device used to perform D2 gas permeation through Pd complexes, and to perform in situ elemental analyses of the given elements by evacuating the D2 chamber and using the built in X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS) unit. See: Iwamura, Y. Observation of Nuclear Transmutation Reactions induced by D2 Gas Permeation through Pd Complexes. in Eleventh International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2004. Marseille, France, PowerPoint slides and paper.

From the same slides, Iwamura’s experimental device located at the SPring-8 synchrotron laboratory, BL-37XU beamline


Photos and Graphs from T. Mizuno

A glow discharge electrochemical cell at Hokkaido University, courtesy T. Mizuno.

This cell is installed inside a crowded constant temperature air-cooled chamber. It placed on a magnetic mixer. Cooling water is pumped through the plastic tubes attached to the top and bottom. The muffin fan at the back circulates the air in the chamber.

A schematic of the calorimeter shown above.

Cold fusion neutron energy analysis system, courtesy T. Mizuno. Click on image to enlarge.

A cold fusion neutron energy analysis system used by Mizuno and Akimoto in 1989, in the underground laboratory at Hokkaido National University. The round object at the center of the plastic blocks in the middle of the picture is a photo multiplier. Inside the white bricks, the Ne-213 liquid scintillator is placed in front of the photo multiplier, and the cell is placed in front of the scintillator. The computer and energy analysis instruments are on the right.

From Mizuno’s book Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion.

The three phases of glow discharge. Excess heat is only observed in the third, hottest phase. Click to enlarge.

Other photos of glow discharge experiments

Click to enlarge.

Unused cathodes

Power supplies

Anode and cathode assembly

Anode-cathode in cell. White object is magnetic stirrer.

Cell installed in blue Styrofoam shell

Top of cell

Cell undergoing glow discharge (plasma visible in peephole)

Eroded cathode after a run

1200 dpi scan of Ohmori’s unused cathode. The surface is roughened with quartz glass.


Photos of Accidents

Cold fusion experiments can be dangerous. Here are the remains of a glow discharge cell that exploded in Mizuno’s laboratory in January, 2005. Mizuno initially thought this caused by recombination, but that is ruled out because the event produced roughly 441 times more energy than the total input energy. For details and more illustrations of this accident, see:  Mizuno, T. and Y. Toriyabe. Anomalous energy generation during conventional electrolysis. in The 12th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2005. Yokohama, Japan. Photo courtesy T. Mizuno.

In September 2004, J-P. Biberian (Université d’Aix-Marseille II) reported that a cell with a palladium tube cathode exploded. The cell had no more than 120 ml of gas, which does not seem like enough to cause a chemical explosion of this magnitude. Photo courtesy J-P. Biberian. See Biberian, J.P., Unexplained Explosion During an Electrolysis Experiment in an Open Cell Mass Flow Calorimeter. J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci., 2009. 2.

In 2018, Biberian reanalyzed the event, and he now thinks it may have been a chemical recombination explosion. See: Reanalysis of an Explosion in a LENR Experiment.

There have been at least four anomalous cold fusion cell explosions. See chapter 12 of the e-book Cold Fusion and the Future, and Zhang, X., et al. On the Explosion in a Deuterium/Palladium Electrolytic System. in Third International Conference on Cold Fusion, “Frontiers of Cold Fusion”. 1992. Nagoya Japan: Universal Academy Press, Inc., Tokyo, Japan.


Photo from P. Clauzon

A glow discharge experimental setup.

A glow discharge experimental setup, similar to the ones described by Ohmori and Mizuno (above). Courtesy P. Clauzon. See: Fauvarque, J., P. Clauzon, and G. Lalleve, Abnormal excess heat observed during Mizuno-type experiments. 2005, Laboratoire d’Electrochimie Industrielle, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers: Paris.


Autoradiographs from M. Srinivasan

A Polaroid autoradiograph from M. Srinivasan, Neutron Physics Division (ret.), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India.

The image shows x-rays from tritium generated in a Ti disk with a plasma focus device using deuterium gas loading. The Polaroid paper is 12 cm × 9 cm. The disk diameter is 6.7 cm. This image is 200 dpi.

Click on this image for a larger, positive 300 dpi copy.

The same electrode was repeatedly autoradiographed over a one-year period, revealing the same pattern. Tritium was detected with three methods: autoradiography with X-ray film; for Ti cathodes, characteristic X-ray measurement of titanium excited by the tritium ß; and liquid scintillation method for tritium ß counting. The plasma focus device used in this experiment generates low levels of plasma fusion (hot fusion). However, as explained in Ref. 2, according to conventional plasma fusion theory, this experiment should have produced no more than 109 tritium atoms, whereas in this experiment, when the titanium target was exposed to the plasma, it produced 1016 tritium atoms. See:

1. Rout, R.K., M. Srinivasan, and A. Shyam, Autoradiography of Deuterated Ti and Pd Targets for Spatially Resolved Detection of Tritium Produced by Cold Fusion, in BARC Studies in Cold Fusion, P.K. Iyengar and M. Srinivasan, Editors. 1989, Atomic Energy Commission: Bombay. p. B 3.

2. Rout, R.K., et al., Detection of high tritium activity on the central titanium electrode of a plasma focus device. Fusion Technol., 1991. 19: p. 391.

3. Rout, R.K., et al., Reproducible, anomalous emissions from palladium deuteride/hydride. Fusion Technol., 1996. 30: p. 273.

4. Iyengar, P.K. and M. Srinivasan. Overview of BARC Studies in Cold Fusion. in The First Annual Conference on Cold Fusion. 1990. University of Utah Research Park, Salt Lake City, Utah: National Cold Fusion Institute.

From Ref. 1:

“Autoradiography is a simple and elegant technique of detecting the presence of radiation emitting zones. This technique has the advantage of being free from any electromagnetic interference (pick ups, discharge pulses etc), has relatively high sensitivity as it can integrate over long exposure times and can give very useful information in the form of space resolved images. In order to achieve good resolution of the image, the sample was kept very close to the X-ray film. Standard medical X-ray film of medium grain size (10 to 15 µm in diameter) on cellulose triacetate base was used for this purpose. The exposure time used for the deuterated samples varied from 18 hours to a few days. At times a stack of several films was used. In some cases films were placed on both sides of the sample. For latent image formation we used IPC (India Photographic Company Ltd.) made 19B developer and IPC made fixer. The developing time was typically 4 to 5 minutes. Out of many samples which had absorbed D2 gas, only a few showed a latent image.”

See also: Special Collections, BARC Studies In Cold Fusion

A 35 mm slide photo of another Poloroid original


High School Students Do Cold Fusion

Every summer, high school students work with Prof. John Dash, of Portland State University, in cold fusion experiments. This is part of the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering program, which allocates high school students to summer internships all over Oregon and Southern Washington. In 2003, Corissa Lee and Shelsea Pedersen participated. They will be seniors next semester. They were assisted by Ben Zimmerman, who was an apprentice in 2002, and who will be attending the University of Chicago this Fall. Zimmerman describes the 2003 program: “Our experiment is very rudimentary electrolysis of palladium in a D 2O and Sulfuric Acid electrolyte, running under modest current (from 3-4 amps) with a non-reactive identical control cell for comparison of heat flow. So far, we’ve analyzed temperature readings and found that the cells used so far produce on average 0.5 watts, and as high as 0.9 watts as excess. Also, we’ve analyzed the palladium cathodes of similar experiments and found anywhere from 2 to 20% of unaccounted for silver with an SEM after electrolysis from cathodes that produced excess heat.”

During the ICCF-10 conference (August 24 – 29, 2003) this experiment was set up in a laboratory at MIT, where the excess heat effects were demonstrated to over a hundred ICCF-10 participants. See more photos in our Special Collection, ICCF10.

Here are PowerPoint slides from the Summer 2002 session and the Summer 2003 session.

Photographs by Dan Chicea, provided courtesy B. Zimmerman.

Corissa Lee setting up the experiment. Click to enlarge.

From right, Abhay Ambadkar, a graduate student, Dr. Dash, and Ben Zimmerman. Click to enlarge.

Corissa Lee and John Dash taking a voltage and temperature reading. Click to enlarge.

Experimental setup, with the power supply and multimeter in the foreground and cells with thermometers in the fume hood. Click to enlarge.

Corissa Lee and Abhay Ambadkar using the SEM (scanning electron microscope) to check for transmutation. Click to enlarge.

Shelsea Pedersen and John Dash going over some data. Click to enlarge.

Shelsea Pedersen and John Dash posing with the experiment.  Click to enlarge.

The experiment shown above is rudimentary. Dash and his students have also demonstrated excess heat with precision instruments, such as the Thermonetics Seebeck calorimeter shown here.

A close-up of the Seebeck calorimeter.  Click to enlarge.

A large cold roller sometimes used to prepare titanium samples at Portland State. Most of the tools of cold fusion research are delicate, but sometimes you need a bigger hammer.  Click to enlarge.


 Jon Warner poster session material

Here are some photographs courtesy J. Warner, Portland State University. This is Poster Session display from the ICCF-9 conference, Beijing, 2002. As presented here, the poster is a large HTML document:

Jon Warner ICCF-9 Poster

This document is large, so you may have difficulty viewing it. Here is a less exciting version:

Jon Warner ICCF-9 poster materials, in simple document

The paper is: Warner, J., J. Dash, and S. Frantz. ELECTROLYSIS OF D2O WITH TITANIUM CATHODES: ENHANCEMENT OF EXCESS HEAT AND FURTHER EVIDENCE OF POSSIBLE TRANSMUTATION. in ICCF9, Ninth International Conference on Cold Fusion. 2002. Beijing, China: Tsinghua University.