Now in 2009 U.S. Navy researchers say Pons and Fleischmann were right. The problem, according to those Navy researchers, was that no one had the right instrumentation to accurately measure neutrons released by the cold fusion reaction.
U.S. Navy researchers claimed to have experimentally confirmed cold fusion in a presentation at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting.
"We have compelling evidence that fusion reactions are occurring" at room temperature, said Pamela Mosier-Boss, a scientist with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (San Diego). The results are "the first scientific report of highly energetic neutrons from low-energy nuclear reactions," she added.
...the Naval researchers claim that the problem was instrumentation, which was not up to the task of detecting such small numbers of neutrons. To sense such small quantities, Mosier-Boss used a special plastic detector called CR-39. Using co-deposition with nickel and gold wire electrodes, which were inserted into a mixture of palladium chloride and deuterium, the detector was able to capture and track the high-energy neutrons.
In case you're wondering what CR-39 is, it's no special super-secret formulation. It's quite common. In fact, if you wear glasses made with plastic lenses, those lenses are likely made from CR-39.
Who knew your eyeglasses would make such great neutron detectors?
If this breakthrough proves true, and so far a number of other groups have provided evidence of cold fusion, yet another path to cheap and plentiful power could be just around the corner.
One of the other fusion projects showing great promise is polywell fusion, a project started by the late Robert Bussard. Bussard's program has continued past his death, with some researchers from Los Alamos taking a leave of absence to continue Bussard's work at Emc2 Fusion Development Corporation.