Wednesday, May 18, 2005

IEEE Spectrum Sonofusion Article

As promised, Rusi Taleyarkhan, Richard Lahey, and Robert Nigmatulin have published an article in the May 2005 issue of IEEE Spectrum. Not much new here, though they do make the interesting claim that their apparatus makes "400 000 neutrons per second" -- a pretty bold claim, considering (a) the Spectrum is not a peer-reviewed journal, and (b) the countercharges of inadequate detection leveled by Seth Putterman. Nonetheless, the trio sounds the right note for a budding group hoping to get angel financing, saying "our experiments to date have shown that with many relatively small steps" the relatively modest (they claim a "negligible fraction of a watt of power") energy produced by their reactor could be scaled to larger devices. They also claim that following an increase of pressure in the vessel holding the deuterated acetone "from 700 kPa to 1500 kPa, we detected an increase in the neutron output by a factor of about 100 000", with "1022 neutrons per second" as the ultimate goal needed for commercial power generation. Also, they look beyond acetone, and have investigated "exotic silicon- and carbon-based liquids that can work at much higher temperatures" than acetone, which they use at 0C.

The group provides as footnotes this PowerPoint presentation, which suggests energies of 200x106 K during sonocavitation are possible, and claims having recorded 108 K.

At this point, I redouble my caveats -- "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" -- and pass on.

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