Evidence for Ultra Dense Deuterium

Almost all of the articles on ultra-dense deuterium currently are from Professor Leif Holmlid. In somewhat of a catch-22, the fact that there have been very few replication attempts to date is likely the reason that there is little interest in further investigating Holmlid’s claims.


As such, I want to mention all of the replication efforts I’m aware of.


The first item of note is not an experiment, but theory. The purpose of theory is to explain experimental evidence and anticipate the answer to future questions without the need for experimentation. As such, theory is tested by first issuing predictions, and then testing those predictions empirically. The only theorist to comment on Holmlids work is by Friedwardt Winterberg. Besides the fact that his theory was published in 2010, and is based on evidence that is now somewhat outdated, I don’t have much to say about it. Unfortunately, since it doesn’t make immediately testable predictions, and hasn’t been updated in 8 years, it doesn’t provide much support for Holmlid’s claims.


The next relevant work I’m aware of began in 2015, when two others, PhD candidate Sindre ZG, and his advisor, Professor Svienn Olafsson from the University of Iceland, began working with Leif Holmlid to replicate this work. Sveinn himself has published three articles on the matter as a co-author with Leif (Charged Particle Energy Spectra, Spontaneous Emissions, Muon Detection)  He also reported one (apparently non-replicable) piece of evidence at the ICCF-21 conference: with a 4-point conductivity probe measuring a platinum on magnesium oxide target, he claims to have detected sudden drops in resistivity of the surface after deposition of ultra-dense deuterium.


Sindre ZG also gave a talk at ICCF-21, and described his process trying to replicate Holmlid’s experiments. His general approach has been to test for laser-induced high-energy particle emissions from the ultra-dense deuterium.


The last person working the field (that I’m aware of) is Mike Taggett, an entrepreneur in Utah who has been working on ultra-dense deuterium off and on for about 6 years. When I talked to him recently, he described having visited over 20 physics departments to find someone willing to collaborate. While he said he found a couple leads at different points, most departments were scared away by the fear of cold-fusion-esque results.


I’ve reached out to all of these researchers to find out more details about their experiments, future plans, and those they’ve worked with.

My Project

Now that you have some background on D(0), what it is, and why it is an important area of research, I can explain in more depth what I plan to do.

My goal is to synthesize and detect D(0) by replication the work of Professor Holmlid as described in several publications. There are two components to my project, the first is to actually build a device capable of producing D(0), and the second is to build a scintillation counter to detect rare spontaneous fusion events in D(0).

In Efficient Source for the Production of Ultradense Deuterium Holmlid details the key components of the emitter that his group uses to create samples of D(0). The apparatus is quite simple, and pictured below (from the article):



This set-up exposes the deuterium to two different processes. As deuterium gas flows through the platinum tubing a small portion of it dissociates into individual atoms of hydrogen, known commonly as “atomic hydrogen” or “nascent hydrogen”. Platinum is a particularly effective metal for this purpose, it is used widely in chemistry as a hydrogenation catalyst precisely because it effectively dissociates hydrogen. The tube is heated by a copper current clamp to around 200 celsius, and this further aids the dissociation process.

If two hydrogen atoms come into close proximity with each other they will recombine into regular molecular hydrogen, and for this reason, the hydrogen flow must be kept at fairly low pressure (also to limit the deuterium used and to keep as a high a vacuum as possible,

Now that some of the hydrogen has been converted into the monoatomic form it is passed through a small cylinder of potassium-doped iron oxide, specifically, a material known as S-105, which is used as a hydrogen abstraction catalyst. The when the hydrogen atoms leave (desorb from) the surface of the S-105 catalyst they are able to fall into the correct energy state to allow them to aggregate together to form D(0) clusters/chains.

After this, the D(0) clusters/chains should fall below onto a piece of metal foil, and very very rarely, one of them will have two deuterium atoms spontaneously come close enough to each other to fuse, and, though as-of-yet-unexplained mechanisms, produces mesons. These will rapidly decay into muons, which, if they exist, should pass through a block of plastic scintillator attached to the cosmic ray detector inside the container, and stimulate the plastic to produce blue photons. These photons will form a small electric signal in the avalanche photodiode, which will be picked up by the Arduino nano at the heart of the detector. If enough of these events are logged within a short period, it will provide evidence that ultra-dense deuterium has been created.



Properties and Applications of Ultra Dense Deuterium

In the previous post, I briefly mentioned that Ultra-Dense Deuterium (D(0)) has several remarkable properties in common with theorized properties of metallic hydrogen. It is important to keep in mind that these properties are difficult to confirm because D(0) has not been produced in bulk. Quantities that can be readily created are in the nanogram range.

The first property, from which it’s common name derives, is D(0)’s incredible density. Because of the inter-atomic bond distance of only ≈ 2.4 picometers, if a bulk sample of D(0) could be created its density is estimated to be in the range of 130-140 kg per cubic centimeter. This is more than 5 order of magnitude more dense than water, and roughly 1/10 th the density of a white dwarf star.

With this property, there is a caveat because the structure of ultra-dense deuterium is not known. There have been two possible proposals for the structure of D(0) and neither suggests a continuous lattice that many typical solids demonstrate (like metals or glass) a polymeric form (like plastics and wood) or even a stable periodic form (most other solids). As such it is most likely that a bulk-material would exhibit a less close-packed liquid or even gas-like form with a lower (though still astonishingly high) density.

This exceptional density means that D(0) is the more energy dense conventional (non-nuclear) material, because, being made of hydrogen, it can be burned in air. For this reason, it could prove to be a revolutionary rocket fuel.

The second property that Holmlid has reported in D(0) is superfluidity, a property previously observed only in very cold liquid helium. Superfluids are a form of matter with zero viscosity. This means that if one had a cup full of a superfluid, and stirred it in some direction, it would continue to spin in that direction indefinitely, implying that it effectively has zero friction. A truly frictionless surface has several obvious engineering applications, and would undoubtedly allow for the construction of more efficient machinery.

Having a cup of superfluid would be impossible because of another property of superfluids. Zero viscosity combined with a non-zero surface tension means that the meniscus of a superfluid is infinite, so it is able to escape from any container that it is contained within and flow to the lowest available point, even if blocked by a wall. This effect has been well demonstrated along with other remarkable properties of superfluids (such as the ability to create unpowered and continuously running fountains) using superfluid helium.

Another notable property of D(0), and perhaps the most potentially useful is superconductivity. A superconductor has zero resistance, meaning it is able to carry an electric current without the loss of any energy. The most obvious application of superconductors is for improving the efficiency of electronics and the electricty distribution system. Because loops of superconductors can carry an electric current in circles indefinitely it can also be used to create very strong permanent magnets and has been the basis of several proposals for “maglev” trains, and is already utilized for devices such as MRI which require exceptionally strong magnetic fields that can be turned on and off.

Many materials are superconductive, including many common metals and metal salts, however, this superconductivity can only manifest below materials’ “critical temperature”. Over the last few decades, there has been extensive work towards developing materials with higher critical temperatures, however, progress has been slow and sporadic. The materials with the highest critical temperature until recently have been the “cuprates”, which have a critical temperature above the temperature of liquid nitrogen. The highest recorded critical temperature is -135 celsius, and it is this low temperature of operation that hinders the large-scale application of superconductors. What makes D(0) remarkable is that it appears to be superconductive at standard temperature and pressure.


What is Ultra-Dense Deuterium?

Unless you happen to follow fusion news in exceptional depth, you’re probably wondering what “Ultra-Dense Deuterium” is and why would you want to make it.

Furthermore, if you don’t have a background in chemistry or physics you may simply be wondering what deuterium is.

One thing you should be familiar with is regular hydrogen, the first element of the periodic table, a single electron bound to a proton:


The properties of an atom are primarily determined by the number of protons and electrons it has; however, there is another component of atoms, the neutron. Atoms with the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons, are said to be different “isotopes” of the same element.

The most common isotope of hydrogen simply has a single proton and no neutrons. This form is sometimes referred to as “protium” but there are two other forms that exist in non-negligible quantities.

The isotope with 1 proton and 1 neutron is known as “deuterium”. On Earth, roughly 1 in every 6400 hydrogen atoms are the deuterium isotope. The most noticeable difference between deuterium and protium is the weight. Protons and neutrons each have a weight of about 1 atomic mass unit (AMU) while electrons have a negligible mass (<1/1600th that of a proton). As such, protium weights approx. 1 AMU, and deuterium weights about 2 AMU, which is why it is often referred to as “heavy hydrogen”.

Correspondingly, water that is made with deuterium instead of protium is known as “heavy water”. Because the weight of the oxygen atom in water is significantly higher than the density of the hydrogen heavy water is only around 11% higher than that of regular water. This is a sufficiently higher density that heavy ice will sink in regular water.

The third form of hydrogen, with 1 proton and 2 neutrons, is known as tritium. Unlike protium and deuterium, tritium is radioactive (with a half-life of around 12 years) and thus exists only in very small quantities on Earth. For this reason, tritium cannot be extracted from water, and can only be produced from the refinement of water that had been bombarded with neutrons, or directly produced from other nuclear reactions. The one application in which you may have encountered tritium in is exit signs or watches, where tubes of tritium gas coated in a phosphor layer glow without the need for electricity.

Now that we know what deuterium is, let’s get back to the first question. What is Ultra-Dense Deuterium?

In standard conditions, pure hydrogen (of any isotope) exists as a gas with two hydrogen atoms bound to each other, at a distance of 74 picometers (pm). All gasses can also be turned into “condensed” phases like liquid or solid. There are typically two ways to cause a gas to condense into a liquid or solid, either cool it down, apply pressure, or both.

Many other gasses, like nitrogen or carbon dioxide, can be condensed quite easily by cooling them, producing liquid nitrogen and “dry ice”, respectively. Alternatively, carbon dioxide can be turned into a liquid by heating dry ice in a sealed container, raising the pressure. Further heating and application of pressure can generate more exotic forms of matter, like the supercritical phase, which acts with properties intermediate a liquid and a gas.

Hydrogen molecules have very weak intermolecular forces, which means that it is very difficult to cause hydrogen gas to condense, requiring cooling to below 20 Kelvin. Turning hydrogen solid takes cooling to 14 kelvin, and solid hydrogen has a density of .08 grams/cm .

Just like applying pressure to solid carbon dioxide can turn it into a more exotic phase (the supercritical phase) it has been theorized that applying a great deal of pressure to solid hydrogen could turn it into a metallic phase, though no one has succeeded in synthesizing this metallic phase to date for prolonged periods of time. Metallic hydrogen is estimated to have a density >0.6 grams/cmand have several other remarkable properties, such as superconductivity, which will be discussed more in future posts.

Ultra-Dense Deuterium is another condensed form of hydrogen, and specifically the deuterium isotope, that does not require high pressures to synthesize and yet seems to have many of the remarkable properties of metallic hydrogen, with an even high density of approx. 140 kilograms/cm3, higher than that of any previously created material.





This is a blog tracking the progress of my efforts to replicate experiments performed by Professor Leif Holmlid of the University of Gothenburg to synthesize a new state of condensed hydrogen: Ultra-Dense Deuterium, also known as D(0).

I will be describing background about Ultra-Dense Deuterium and concepts related to it’s properties, as well as the steps involved in trying to synthesize and create it.