Solid-State Fusion Exhibits All the Hallmarks of a Scientific Field in the Process of Formation, says MIT’s Florian Metzler
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Florian Metzler, PhD, Research Scientist at MIT Industrial Performance Center, discussed “Solid-State Fusion: The Formation of a Scientific Field” at this year’s ICCF24 conference. He summarized the current state of events in solid-state fusion, or LENR, acknowledging that the field hasn’t enjoyed the enormous momentum that the general fusion field has in the past year, but noted that there is still tremendous activity and commitment to proving its validity and realizing its promise for virtually limitless clean, low-cost energy.
There have been underestimated complications in the field, followed by periods of high enthusiasm. As an innovation researcher, Metzler notes that this is typical of any revolutionary invention, including now-ubiquitous semiconductors — a field that was once ridiculed as being the “physics of dirt.” There are many parallels between the development of semiconductors and the advancement of solid-state fusion energy.
“The potential really is for fusion devices instead of fusion reactors, small-scale devices without harmful radiation, with much more precise control over the reactions, the rates and the products. And so as such, this could be the most impactful technological innovation since the transistor,” he said.
Progress with solid-state fusion energy will require feeling comfortable with ambiguity, incremental understandings of anomalies, and more resources and researchers. A reliable proof of principle experiment will be required for large-scale deployment, and Metzler believes we are close to achieving that.
Metzler advises the path forward is to: first, focus on information-dense experiments; second, characterize the structures and dynamics at the nano level; and third, design experiments based on simulations and use known mechanisms as a starting point to accelerate reaction rates. The community of solid-state fusion researchers must transition to nanoscale characterization and control of materials and mechanisms and propose appropriate research programs that reflect that. And of course, investors must substantially increase funding to enable this transition. His talk in full can be viewed here