The long awaited test report of the latest E-Cat reactor of Andrea Rossi was released last week. Entitled Observation of Abundant Heat Production from a Reactor Device and of Isotopic Changes in the Fuel By Giuseppe Levi et al, it was seen as a "glowing" success by many and a disappointment by others. The most amazing detail is in the isotopic changes, which were a huge surprise.
A complete analysis of this paper will not be attempted at this time, but it is a good opportunity to pursue an operational parameter known as SPP. Surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) can be described in several ways - as electromagnetic interfacial waves, usually at infrared or visible-frequency, which travel along a metal-dielectric interface. At least a dozen new papers have appeared in the last four weeks, mostly related to SPP lasers fast switches. SPPs can have tight spatial confinement and high local field intensity. Producing them can require high precision - but in a few cases they may seem inadvertent. The intense IR glow of the Rossi reactor along with other details such as the ceramic body may indicate that SPPs are involved.
There is nothing simple about SPPs. In keeping with wave/particle duality - the plasmon can be defined as a quantum of plasma oscillation - a quasiparticle. Polaritons too are quasiparticles that arise when plasmons couple with photons. Devices which operate both optically and electrically can benefit from the very strong fields involved in SPP, which are the "darling" theory of NASA for advanced Space propulsion. SPPs have been shown to cause nuclear reactions.
In a replicated experiment from 2003, Analysis of Ni-Hydride Thin Film After Surface Plasmons Generation by Laser Technique from Violante and others, a SIMS analysis was implemented to reveal differences in the isotopic composition of Cu, as marker element for fusion of nickel hydride, following plasmon-polariton excitation. It is a very solid study which is underappreciated in implications.
In short, it has been known for over 10 years that laser irradiation, using a much smaller laser than the huge ICF laser program at Lawrence Livermore, will produce fusion at level which is substantial, albeit nowhere close to breakeven.
The beauty of the SPP in this circumstance is that is self-focusing which will allow for the effect to occur over a very large surface area. One can envision a tubular device with a ceramic to metal interface in which internal coherent light can be generated all along the plane of that circumferential interface. Of course, this feature of "internal light" may never have occurred to many observers. The first reaction to this procedure is: what is the purpose of a internal light source which cannot escape the reactor?
The self-focusing effect of SPP is a function of what is known as Anderson localization, also known as strong localization. This is the absence of diffusion of waves; somewhat like a polarized standing wave, and is a phenomenon of many types, which includes optical and electromagnetic waves, acoustic waves, quantum waves and spin waves, all of which are relevant to a situation where SPP are used to focus very intense energy - as if a multitude of lasers were operating across a planar surface. The result does not have to end in thermonuclear fusion, such as was proved can happen by Violante in 2003. Another form of mass-to-energy conversion is possible which can come closer to breakeven, or even exceed the power input.
In addition to the high power focusing of opto-electric waves in SPP there is another kind of leveraging mechanism which is known as anharmonic energy localization. This is based on the famous Fermi, Pasta Ulam, experiment and theory from 60 years ago and the apparent paradox in chaos theory that many complicated physical systems exhibit periodic behavior – called FPU recurrence instead of thermalization.
On one level FPU recurrence is anti-entropic. Fermi thought that after many iterations, the systems in question would become more or less random. Instead, they continued to exhibit a complicated quasi-periodic behavior, which others have engineered to robust levels. One of the resolutions of the paradox includes the insight that many non-linear equations are exactly integrable.
The FPU experiment was important both in showing the complexity of nonlinear system behavior and the value of computer simulation in analyzing systems. A number of papers and experiments from Dr. Brian Ahern have focused on this version of the broader field which can be called energy amplification, which becomes much more relevant at the low nanoscale geometry. Thre is a rather specific range between 2 and 12 nanometers where surprises happen.
It is not a coincidence that the Casimir effect, FRET (Forster resonant energy transfer), SPP and other forms of energy amplification occur in this low-nm geometry. The main problems for modern physics is explaining why some systems, and the Rossi system may be one of them, appear to exhibit strong thermal gain without the gamma radiation or free neutrons. If there are transmutation changes in reactants or electrodes, the novel nuclear or subnuclear reactions are the likely culprit.
One explanation for the success of a few anomalous energy experiments lies in the emerging fields of nanomagnetism and superferromagnetism (superparamagnetism). These are an evolving explanation of Ahern's work with nanopowders, and the Arata-Zhang effect, where thermal anomalies are seem simply from contact with nano-geometries with spin effects. Ferromagnetism is a cooperative phenomenon which exhibits a number of properties which are taken to a higher level in superferromagnetism. Ferrites processed at 3 – 12nm have cooperative oscillations and magnetic vortices arise at that dimension, which are coordinated in precession of magnetic grains. Vortex interactions can potentially extract or amplify energy via energy localization. Specialty ferrites which are Perovskite structures based on nanopowder manufacture – will "run cold" as a result of magneto caloric effect, allowing ambient heat to be used elsewhere in a system.
The common denominator of many of parameters seen in anomalous energy, which include SPP is the specific geometry which was first notice in the Casimir effect as far back as 1947 but only recently has moved from a stationary force to a dynamic and even relativistic effect which can influence nuclear decay rates or possibly tap into the zero point field. DARPA the funding arm of the Defense Department, supports a "Casimir Effect Enhancement program" through several major Universities is to develop new methods to control and manipulate attractive and repulsive forces. Tiny machines called micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are close to being self-powered, and the arena may shift to chips for harvesting energy which seems to defy the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
In a convergence of technology from different fields, the same manufacturing process for MEMs, electronic switches, and discrete components like cavity resonators can now be fabricated in what is essentially the Casimir geometry. This due to the incremental progress in computer chip manufacturing, which still called microlithography, even though currently the commercial limit is generally 22 nm for CMOS circuit lines. The 22 nanometer process follows in the footsteps of 32 nm dimensions in CMOS semiconductor device fabrication and was first introduced by semiconductor companies in 2008 for use in memory products, while first consumer-level CPU deliveries started in April 2012. On the Moore's law roadmap, the successor to 22 nm technology will be 14 nm technology - which still is a disappointment in the progression towards the Casimir geometry. This is an indication that CMOS scaling in this area has reached a wall possibly the end of Moore's law but "nano-tech" will get us there eventually.
Energy production, which for hundreds of years starting at the industrial revolution has moved to greater-and greater economies of scale, is now poised to see a complete reversal as a paradigm shift. The future is smaller-and-smaller. And when a level of "smallness" is reached such that active components for heating, cooling and circuit line components can be fabricated at 2-12 nanometers, with the larger components in the 100 micron range, surprising efficiency should accompany the reduced footprint.
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