Thanks to Axil Axil for posting about the following new paper by Leif Holmlid and colleagues:
Title: “Production of ultra-dense hydrogen H(0): A novel nuclear fuel”
26 March 2021
Authors: Leif Holmlid, Andrzej Kotarba, Pawel Stelmachowski.
Condensation of hydrogen Rydberg atoms (highly electronically excited) into the lowest energy state of condensed hydrogen i.e. the ultra-dense hydrogen phase, H(0), has gained increased attention not only from the fundamental aspects but also from the applied point of view. The physical properties of ultra-dense hydrogen H(0) were recently reviewed (Physica Scripta 2019 https://doi.org/10.1088/1402-4896/ab1276), summarizing the results reported in 50 publications during the last ten years. The main application of H(0) so far is as the fuel and working medium in nuclear particle generators and nuclear fusion reactors which are under commercial development. The first fusion process showing sustained operation above break-even was published in 2015 (AIP Advances) and used ultra-dense deuterium D(0) as fuel. The first generator giving a high-intensity muon flux intended for muon-catalyzed fusion reactors was patented in 2017, using H(0) as the working medium. Here, we first focus on the different nuclear processes using hydrogen isotopes for energy generation, and then on the detailed processes of formation of H(0). The production of H(0) employs heterogeneous catalysts which are active in hydrogen transfer reactions. Iron oxide-based, alkali promoted catalysts function well, but also platinum group metals and carbon surfaces are active in this process. The clusters of highly excited Rydberg hydrogen atoms H(l) are formed upon interaction with alkali Rydberg matter. The final conversion step from ordinary hydrogen Rydberg matter H(l) to H(0) is spontaneous and does not require a solid surface. It is concluded that the exact choice of catalyst is not very important. It is also concluded that the crucial feature of the catalyst is to provide excited alkali atoms at a sufficiently high surface density and in this way enabling formation and desorption of H(0) clusters. Finally, the relation to industrial catalytic processes which use H(0) formation catalysts is described and some important consequences like the muon and neutron radiation from H(0) are discussed.