Research into the possibility of low-energy nuclear reactions (as the field is also called) nonetheless continues, because of intriguing but inconclusive experimental results—such as claims of the production of excess heat, helium, or tritium where heavy water reacts with metals—and because of the desirability of producing relatively nonpolluting fusion energy in quantity at any temperature. Cold-fusion proponents believe that the fusion mechanism is different from that of
hot fusion in that it encompasses some type of unusual nuclear reaction in the metal lattice involving deuterium and possibly other atoms. Several dozen models to explain the observed phenomena have been advanced, but none accounts for the full range of experimental observations.
See F. David Peat, Cold Fusion: The Making of a Scientific Controversy (1989); F. E. Close, Too Hot to Handle: The Race for Cold Fusion (1991); J. R. Huizenga, Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century (1993); G. Taubes, Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Physics