Reopening the case of cold fusion
August 16, 2019
A team of researchers from MIT, the University of British Columbia, the University of Maryland, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Google are conducting a multiyear investigation into "cold fusion", the production of energy using a benign nuclear reaction at room temperature. In 1989, experiments were reported that raised hopes that cold fusion had been achieved. If true, it could potentially be a source of limitless, carbon-free energy. However, researchers were unable to reproduce the results, and the topic laid largely dormant for years.
Professor Yet-Ming Chiang is part of the Google-sponsored team that is now revisiting the possibility of cold fusion. In a paper published in Nature, they publicly unveiled their efforts; while they haven't found evidence of cold fusion as originally described, they have discovered new insights into metal-hydrogen interactions and measurement techniques at high temperatures and pressures. Since 2015, their efforts have yielded three preprints and 10 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Chiang says, "That is why we got involved, [and] that's actually the work we are continuing to do. This project is by no means over. There's lots of ongoing work we're interested in doing."