Perovskite, the Miracle Matrix

A recent headline in Scientific American magazine, and a number of other News outlets is typical of a growing chorus... even if its name is not harmonious to the ear. New Solar Cells Use Perovskite to Turn Water into Energy

The photoactive material with the unusual name in this application is replacing silicon, and it functions to splits water into hydrogen and oxygen efficiently and inexpensively with sunlight. But perovskite in this application is just the tip of a large iceberg which is strikingly diversified.


Figure 1 Octocube nanostructure is reflected

Perovskite once referred to a rare Russian mineral, but its unique structure has lent its name to the growing class of compounds which have different elemental compositions but the same type of crystal geometry as the original mineral, which was calcium titanate. The newer materials are often not based on actual minerals, but benefit from the unique structural geometry which often involves a metal oxide plus another metal, arranged in a cuboctahedron. This is the basic structure of Buckminster Fuller, which is used for several of his inventions – called Dymaxions. "Dymaxion" is a term that combines three words: dynamic, maximum, and tension.

The maximization of tensile stress creates local force fields which interact between repeating units of from 15 to 40 atoms. The perovskite crystal structure is found in many exotic materials in modern technology, including high temperature superconductors, magnetic data components with colossal magnetoresistance, ferroelectrics, a wide range of catalysts, solar cells, ferrite magnets, lasers, ultracapacitors, piezoelectrics, remarkably fluorescent materials, and more. The fact that properties can range from extreme conductivity (superconductor) to extreme dielectric (barium titanate) make this material most unusual – and most challenging to utilize since small changes make large differences.



Strange connection to Perovskites – the Dymaxion vehicle of Buckminster Fuller


A prime example of the perovskite structure is the best-known high temperature superconductor - yttrium barium copper oxide (sometimes called YBCO). This is the first material ever discovered to become superconducting above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77 K). Many YBCO compounds have the general formula YBa2Cu3O7 (also known as Y123) where the copper oxide is the backbone of a complex structure. In the case of YBCO there is often an important "deviation," which is a common feature in these arrangements, since internal stresses are maximized.
Another relevant News story related to perovskites comes from earlier this year. Superconducting and Ferroelectric Properties of Perovskite - June 27, 2014. The focus here is on lasers and luminescent efficiency, in order to create light-emitting diodes. "This feels like it's the dawn of a new field," said one researcher about the new materials, which sentiment can apply to many general areas of perovskite R&D. "So far we've looked at the common materials as they are. The question now is how good can they be?"

A few of the perovskites can operate for alternative energy applications when the crystal matrix is also a proton conductor. This happens notably with perovskites containing zirconia. In historic testing done two decades ago by Arata and Zhang of Japan and replicated by many others including Dr. Brian Ahern – thermal gain was seen in a simple experiment - due only to hydrogen pressure on various catalysts, some of which had perovskite structure . Despite replications and potential impact, this experiment has been generally neglected in the USA because it implies a nuclear pathway.

A key variable which has appeared in many energy anomalies of hydrogen, at least when it is found adsorbed into a matrix instead of as a true - is known as SPP or surface plasmon polariton. This refers to a type of surface wave along the interface of a metal and dielectric. SPPs can have tight spatial confinement and extreme local field intensity.

The subject of SPP will be covered more fully in a latter article. It is a phenomenon which is dependent on internally generated photons of light which may never escape, but must be present. The frequency of light can range all the way from infrared to ultraviolet and on occasion, two semi-coherent frequencies are present and synergetic. A perovskite as part of a complex matrix for hydrogen - which absorbs and emits coherent light should increase SPP production, and it can function as a dielectric as well. The thermal background in the reactor can provide the appropriate driving radiation in the IR range for absorption and re-emission to occur in two spectra.

"Intense Ultraviolet Photoluminescence Observed at Room Temperature from NiO Nano-porous Thin Films Grown by the Hydrothermal Technique" is a recent article which points to this the way internally generated light could start the SPP process. In this study, NiO films produced intense ultraviolet (UV) luminescence at room temperature. The optical band gaps from the absorption spectrum are found to be 3.86 and 4.51 eV. The former is similar to that of bulk NiO, while the increased band gap was attributed to the quantum confinement in the nanocrystals, which would indicate that a NiO perovskite would be an improvement, indicating the way one might proceed to produce a host matrix for more efficient hydrogen reactions.

In the 'strange coincidences' department, in the context of the experiments of Andrea Rossi - there is an old perovskite energy anomaly known as "the Bologna Stone" which is history's first persistent luminescent material. It can be described as extended anomalous phosphorescence. A number of special stones, some natural and some made from barium minerals glow for impossibly long periods after being exposed to light. There are reports of one stone glowing in a dark closet for six years and another for four years. The first of these stones were discovered near Bologna, Italy in the early middle ages and was thought to possess magical properties. Alchemists altered them in  several  ways to  in- crease the glow. It has been impossible to know if this gain is "above chemical" or not, since there are luminescent minerals containing radium which can conceivably glow for centuries. The Bologna Stone could contain traces of radioactive isotopes but that is not reported.

If a James Burke style Connection (BBC television series) were to pick up on this geographic coincidence of Rossi, his reactor and the Bologna stone, then it would describe a formative link between phosphorescence and anomalous energy via SPP, and between SPP and nickel, and between thermal gain and nickel and the invention of Andrea Rossi – with roots in Italian alchemy.

Bologna stone


There is no need to invoke a known nuclear reaction to explain thermal gain in this series of connections which start with the Bologna stone and end with the E-Cat, except by default, since there is little or no indicia of a nuclear reaction in Rossi's reports. Many physicists would say that if there is thermal gain above chemical, then it has to be nuclear, but that is short-sighted. Gain can be both above-chemical and non-nuclear, especially when mass is converted into energy in less obvious ways, which also happens in valence electron chemistry.

Finally, a Higgs boson connection should be mentioned, since we are focusing on coincidences and cross-connections. Barium itself – as a constituent of various perovskites, has been documented in modern magnetic energy anomalies (as barium ferrite) and in dielectric anomalies as barium titanate and on electrical anomalies in YBCO. Coincidentally, barium has an isotope which could be of the mass-energy of the recently confirmed Higgs boson. This is a nebulous connection to the Higgs that most physicists would rather ignore for now, but one worth pursuing eventually in light of the numerous barium anomalies.

[1] “A New Energy Caused by ‘Spillover Deuterium’,” Yoshiaki Arata and Yue-Chang Zhang, Proceedings of Japan Academy, 70, Ser. B(1994).

Ahern’s work is described at

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