Nuclear Fusion Claim Leaves Scientists Cold

Research: Oak Ridge team says it created the reaction inside tiny bubbles. But other experts could not verify the results.

Published: 05-Mar-2002

A claim by a team of engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that they have achieved nuclear fusion inside tiny bubbles has been met with a wave of skepticism and criticism of the scientific journal that released the results Monday.

The team says it has created a form of nuclear fusion by zapping tiny bubbles of acetone with intense sound waves, causing the bubbles to expand massively and then implode. The imploding bubbles briefly created temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun, enough to cause hydrogen atoms to fuse together into atoms of helium, the researchers contend.

Nuclear fusion, the reaction that fuels the sun and the hydrogen bomb, releases massive amounts of energy. Harnessing that power--and creating it in a laboratory using cheap raw materials--is the goal of many engineers and physicists who say fusion might one day provide a clean and almost limitless source of energy.Memories of 'Cold Fusion' Shape Response

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