“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.
Mahatma Gandhi


One of the most interesting interventions – in my opinion – of the last conference of the 22nd International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ICCF-22), held in Assisi on September 8-13, 2019, was that of Lutz Jaitner, a LENR researcher who lives in Germany.

He presented his theory and model about a strange physical phenomenon – previously observed under different forms by many notable scientists –  where electrons and matter form a very special state which is predicted to produce extreme internal forces that lead to non-standard behavior. Here, I want to present to a non-technical reader Lutz’s work and its importance in the more general context of many “strange discoveries” made in the last century, including the Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).

The research in cold nuclear fusion was divided into development of power generation plants and the research works on transmutation of chemical elements. Most of the researchers are focused on development of energy generation devices, especially ever since the Andrea Rossi’s success with his E-Cat. An efficient method in the field of transmutation, until recently, had yet to be found. But if it is found, then the interest for the possibility to synthesize valuable materials is quite natural.

Many teams in the world are carrying out a very significant research work in one (or both) of these directions. But is there a common observational and theoretical basis on which this work can rest? Today we are probably able to give the first answers to this very intriguing question.


Some strange phenomena observed in the last century

In 1909, the distinguished physicist Irving Langmuir noted an excess of heat production in work he was doing on atomic hydrogen plasmas created between tungsten electrodes. A dozen of scientific papers were published between 1905 and 1927 concerning the mysterious appearance of hydrogen, helium and neon in vacuum tubes and gas discharges (Nelson, 2000). In 1922, Gerald L. Wendt & Clarence E. Irion discovered that decomposition of tungsten via high-current discharges produces helium and fast neutrons, indicating tungsten-tungsten fusion with subsequent fission.

A complete history of plasmoids and LENR is in Jaitner’s “Condensed Plasmoids” web site. 

The unusual strength of explosions caused by a pulsed current flowing through water plasma was first noticed in 1907 by Trowbridge: when he passed an arc through a spray of water, the resulting explosion was louder than in ordinary laboratory air. In 1948, Prof. F. Früngel measured the strength of water arc explosions and concluded that the observed anomalous force occurring in abrupt electric arcs in water was not caused by heat or steam, but was not able to explain the phenomenon.

In 1957, Ivan Stepanovich Filimonenko et al. discovered large excess heat during high-temperature electrolysis of heavy water with ceramic electrolytes and palladium cathode (he found nuclear byproducts such as tritium, helium 3 and 4, and isotopes of oxygen). In the 1960s and 1970s, Georges Ohsawa observed transmutation of sodium and oxygen to potassiumby plasma discharge and also transmutation of carbon and oxygen into silicon and iron by arching carbon in air.

In mid-1980s, Peter Graneau et al. showed that abrupt underwater discharge of 3.6 kJ of stored capacitor energy created pressures in excess of 20,000 bar in 7 ml of water, and demonstrated over-unity energy gain by analyzing the kinetic energy of the exploding water (at 1000 m/s). In 1980s and 1990s, Stanley Meyer, best known for his dune buggy that he claimed would run solely on water, achieved over-unity efficiencies at high-voltage pulsed-DC electrolysis of pure water.

Replication of the Graneau experiments by D.M. Marett (2007). See here

In 1986, Paulo & Alexandra Correa created a device which generates electricity based on Pulsed Abnormal Glow Discharges in air between aluminum electrodes at low pressure and discharge voltage of 600 V. Mean outputs were 200-600 W, with mean power inputs of 50-100 W. Replicators in Russia and Germany found a gain of electrical energy by a factor 1.5 to 2. This device proves that LENR does neither require hydrogen nor transition metals, and that the resulting energy can be extracted electrically.


The experimental evidences for plasmoids

In the 1950s, Winston Bostick examined fast photographs of electrical discharges from an electrode in a near vacuum. The discharge converted the electrode to small clumpy objects that he called “plasmoids.” He described and photographed these little objects that were created by vaporizing electrodes by electrical discharge in a container. The objects he discovered were shaped like the various kinds of galaxies, and he also photographed plasma vortexes. His work of plasmoid modeling was influential.

On the left, evolution of a miniature galaxy formed by the simultaneous discharge of 8 plasma gases in an experiment performed by W. Bostick. On the right, coaxial structure from the impact of a plasmoid bundle on a plastic target, obtained with a plasma focus device by Bostick.

Since then, Ken Shoulders (sometimes called the “Father of Microelectronics” for his work in this field) in the 1980s and 1990s, but also Takaaki Matsumoto, Edward Lewis and a group of “cold fusion” or “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)” researchers studied micrometer-sized objects produced during electrolysis (low current between electrodes in a fluid or ionic solution) or discharge (high current between electrodes in a fluid, gas, plasmoid, plasma, or solid).

Shoulders performed extensive experimental investigation on the anomalous properties of plasmoids. He received a number of patents for devices that utilize these anomalous properties of plasmoids. He found that a “High Density Charge Cluster” – named “exotic vacuum objects” or “EVOs” – arise in gross electrical discharges (lightning, sparks, etc.). An EVO is relatively small (about 0.1 micrometer) and has a high (-) electron charge (typically about 10^11 electrons, minimally 10^8 electrons).

EVOs can be created in an electromagnetic container with a potential well with a depth of about 2 kV. The EVO is formed and propagates to the anode whenever the DC or pulse voltage rises to the point at which field emission begins a runaway switching process aided by metallic vapor from the cathode emission site. EVOs tend to form closed “chains” quasi-stable, ring-like structures as large as 20 micrometers in diameter. Such rings can form chains of rings that are free to rotate and twist around each other.

Craters (on the lef) and rings (on the right) made by EVO observed by Shoulders.

In early 1992, Takaaki Matsumoto discovered ring traces during his attempts at the P&F electrolysis effect replication. He observed ball-lightning-like phenomena via DC discharge between thin wires in potassium carbonate dissolved in water. The voltage was above 50V, creating micro-sparks at the electrodes. The micro-sparks sometimes formed ring clusters of 20 micrometer diameter at the electrode surface. The ring clusters decayed to a regularly hexagonal plate within a few days.

The observations provided early indication about the stability and life time of condensed plasmoids trapped at an iron surface. Nuclear emulsions exposed by Matsumoto close to the cell showed rail-like traces on the surface, as if some objects of 10 micrometer diameter were walking around on the surface. This suggested, that the ring clusters could penetrate the glass wall of the cell and the water region. Radio frequency emissions and transmutations were also observed in the same experiments.

Dr. Irina Savvatimova, one of the giants of Russian LENR research, is a pioneer of the high-current glow discharge method to generate LENR and her group was one of the first to report transmutation elements from this type of experiment. In 2000, she exposed x-ray films inside and outside of the reaction chamber during such LENR experiments, and the films showed very peculiar tracks (some rectilinear, some curvilinear, some spiral tracks, some comet-like), probably caused by condensed plasmoids.

Ball lighting markings of different forms left on the emulsions (Rodionov & Savvativoma, 2006).

The applied glow discharge voltage during these experiments was 200-700 V, the current was 5-25 mA/cm, and the gas pressure was 2-5 torr. After films (Kodak BioMax MR-2 films 13×18 cm) development, the unusual tracks shapes were observed on films, which had been exposed to deuterium ion plasma, but no tracks were found on films exposed to hydrogen ion plasma. These results were obtained using either tungsten or uranium cathodes with cold cathode (< 100 °C).

In 2002, a research group directed by Leonid I. Urutskoev studied the electric explosion of titanium foil in water. By pure accident, in mass-spectrometric analysis of the titanium powder formed after the electric explosion, they noted a pronounced distortion of the natural isotope composition of titanium. Experimental searches for the monopole as a possible catalyst of the transmutation started immediately after the transformation phenomenon had been found.

Radiation traces were registered by nuclear emulsions located at some distance (up to two meters) from the plasma structure. They photographed a ball-lightning-like plasma showing up outside of the reactor. Further observations revealed a wide variety of track forms, including continuous straight lines, dumbbell-like tracks, and long tracks with a complex form similar to spirals and gratings. A hypothesis has been put forward that particles of the “strange” radiation have magnetic charge.


A possible unifying explanation: “plasmoids”

In 1996, Edward Lewis published his theory that plasmoids are responsible for LENR and transmutations, built upon the previously described works of Matsumoto, Shoulders, Urutskoev, Savvatimova and others. According to him, ball lightning are kinds of plasmoid phenomena. Their behavior is shown to be similar to the behavior of plasmoid phenomena produced by electrolysis and discharge apparatus as evidenced by certain micrometer-sized markings in nuclear emulsions and marks in materials.

Plasmoids with quasi-periodic pattern (on the top) and with aperiodic shapes (on the bottom). See, for more information, Jaitner’s overview here.

Lewis conceived the idea of miniature micrometer ball lightning being present when anomalous activity happens during electrolysis and discharge as was being reported then. He believed that perhaps the ring marks Matsumoto found were caused by very small microscopic-sized ball lightning generated in his experiments. The evidence of transmutation between the grains of a palladium electrode made it clear that the atoms themselves were converted by the ball lightning.

It was clear that the traces and markings that Matsumoto started to publish starting around the late Spring of 1992 were similar to those previously published by Bostick and his co-workers. Shoulder’s writings showed some of the anomalous effects of plasmoids, such as the plasmoids’ ability to bore through materials, their tendency to form rings or strings, and excess energy effects. These were the same characteristics that Matsumoto described about the ball lightning.

Single ring mark (on the left). Ring marks + trail marks on nuclear emulsion. (from Matsumoto)

These anomalous plasmoid characteristics are analogous to known anomalous natural ball lightning characteristics as has been described and documented by people such as Egon Bach and Egely. Lewis was struck by reports describing ball lightning in tornadoes, or whirlwind and tornado-like ball lightning. It was clear that plasmoid phenomena covers a whole range of objects from microscopic scale to macroscopic universal scale (including galaxies, as suggested by Bostick’s results).

Bostick ended up on the newspapers in the 1950s because he photographed plasmoids that had the shapes of different kinds of galaxies in space. It was clear to many people then that the Universe itself is a big plasmoid. However, what Bostick didn’t know was the various anomalous and strange characteristics of plasmoids. This is what Shoulders and some other researchers focused on in the following 3 decades, as a key to understanding fundamental universal processes.

Both observational reports and experimental effects show that not only is there a lot of similarity between experimentally produced plasmoids, natural ball lightning, and also tornadoes (about one-half of the natural tornadoes are either furrowed by lightning, or the bottom of the tornado “vomits” balls of fire, or in short the tornado is luminescent at one place or another), but that there is enough evidence to identify the phenomena as kinds or sizes of the same general thing called plasmoids.

Similarity between a small scale experimentally produced plasmoid and a natural tornado.

Microscopic ball lightning (1 mm in size or smaller) leave microscopic markings (i.e. in the size range of 400 μm to 1 μm) and residual effects similar to those caused by natural ball lightning, tornadoes and experimentally produced plasmoids. In the last 30 years, the cited researchers have published pictures of microscopic ball lightning markings and effects, and the photographs show patterns of behavior. The evidence is that these microscopic ball lightning behave like the larger natural ones.

Plasmoids such as ball lightning and tornadoes may move along a surface such as the ground and leave trails, holes, or furrows. The plasmoids Ken Shoulders produced did so, and Matsumoto has shown pictures of interesting micrometer size trail marks that meander and even backtrack on nuclear emulsions in his articles. There are rare reports of tornadoes leaving furrows in the ground a few inches or several feet deep that may sometimes be more than a mile long.


A coherent LENR theory: “Condensed Plasmoids” (CP)

In 2015-2019, Lutz Jaitner has developed a quantum-mechanical theory of “condensed plasmoids” (CP). It is a new theory of LENR based on the experimental findings previously described. “After decades of research on high-density charge clusters, ball lightning and LENR”, Luts says, “it turns out that Edward H. Lewis was right with his hypothesis: atoms can enter a previously unknown state of matter, in which they behave like ball lightning, and which is an intermediate state of the LENR reaction”.

The shape of a Condensed Plasmoid (from Jaitner’s slides for ICCF-22). See here

Jaitner associated condensed plasmoids with the strange objects found by Shoulders, Savvatimova, Urutskoev, Lewis, Matsumoto and others. He also derived most of the exotic properties of condensed plasmoids from their quantum-mechanical state. Finally, he provided an explanation for the most fundamental questions of LENR research, i.e. how the Coulomb barrier is overcome and how the nuclear excitation energy is converted to heat without gamma radiation.

In contrast to the quantum-mechanical model of the atom – which is based on the spherically symmetric electrostatic potential of the nucleus – his quantum-mechanical model of condensed plasmoids (CP) is based on the cylindrical symmetry of a very thin and dense plasma “wire”. In CP, both the nuclei and the electrons are moving rapidly in opposite directions along the plasma wire. This results in a strong electric current through the wire, pinching the plasma thin via its strong magnetic field.

As explained by Jaitner in his website on this topic (condensed-plasmoids.com), “modeling of CP is based on the following basic assumptions: (1) CP contain ensembles of atomic nuclei densely lined up in a very narrow channel. (2) The distances between the nuclei are so small, that all electrons bound to these nuclei are delocalized along the channel. In other words: Even in their electronic ground state CP don’t consist of individual atoms. CP rather form a quasi-one-dimensional plasma”.

Basic model of Jaitner’s Condensed Plasmoid (from ICCF-20 Proceedings). See here

The intrinsic magnetic field of CP leads to self-organization of their shape in complicated ways, minimizing their energy: CP are extremely dense (much more than ordinary matter) along one spatial dimension. CP enable nuclear reactions between the ions via strong electronic screening of the Coulomb barrier. The gamma radiation of nuclear reactions inside the plasma wire is suppressed, because the dense electron current in the plasma wire provides high dampening of the dipole oscillation of excited nuclei.

The form of nuclear energy production that you can obtain with condensed plasmoids is in alignment with that discussed recently in the literature by Andrea Rossi (2019), as embodied in his E-Cat SK configuration. It is a nuclear process but one without harmful radiation. It embodies neither conventional nuclear fusion nor fission and the process is harmless to humans. The energy obtained from the process is largely due to an induced change in the atomic mass of participating materials.

Condensed plasmoids (on the left) in the Plasma Vortex Reactor of A. Climov (2017). See here

As Shoulders wrote (2012), his change in mass, hence energy, is probably brought about through the use of EVOs striking the parent atoms. Many such fundamental changes to atoms by EVOs have been published by Shoulders. This process can be artificially divided into 3 apparatus parts or units: the bombarding EVO, the EVO source, and the EVO target. In Rossi (2019), Shoulders’ dense electron clusters are instead considered a probable precursor for the formation of proton-electron aggregates at pico-metric scale.

Mario Menichella

(physicist and science writer)