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By: Hal Fox and Patrick Bailey

An updated and revised version of a paper originally submitted in May 1997 to the 1997 Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, the 32nd IECEC, held July 27 - August 1, 1997, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Posted to the INE Website with the permission of the authors.


Hal Fox
Fusion Information Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 58639
Salt Lake City, Utah 84158
801-583-6232; FAX 801-583-2963

Patrick G. Bailey
Institute for New Energy
P.O. Box 201
Los Altos, California 94023


Several recent developments of devices that produce low-energy nuclear reactions are explained by the deliberate or fortuitous production of high-density charge clusters. Some and perhaps most of the nuclear reactions in a variety of fluids and devices including the Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion discovery (palladium/heavy water systems), in nickel/light water systems, in Patterson Power CellsTM, in low-pressure deuterium gas devices, in sparking-in-hydrogen devices, in exploding fire balls, and in the Neal-Gleeson Process are explained by the creation, launching, and impingement of high-density charge clusters on a target element or elements. This paper presents evidence of the application of the control and use of high-density charge clusters for Plasma-Injected Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions in the production of low-cost, non-polluting, abundant thermal energy.


High-density charge clusters, as taught by Kenneth Shoulders (K. Shoulders, 1991), can be formed in a near vacuum by a short pulse of negative potential applied to a specially-designed cathode. A typical charge cluster will impact a witness plate (a thin metal foil placed near the anode) and leave various-sized holes or blisters in the metal foil. Single clusters, as produced in the lab, may vary in size from less than a micron to several microns. Higher energies can create a necklace of clusters.

Charge clusters are formed by many types of electrical discharges and are evident when a spark impacts a metal surface. Spark erosion may be primarily the effect of charge cluster action. For one skilled in the art, the strike pattern of a EV is readily identified (K. & S. Shoulders). Because the cluster can consist of 108 to 1013 electrons and are relatively small, the energy density is large. Provided that the energy of the cluster exceeds a certain energy level, the cluster can cause nuclear reactions to occur as reported by Shoulders.

Charge clusters can ionize the local media in which the cluster is formed and pick up positive ions. Thus, the typical one micron cluster (containing about 1011 electrons) can attract and carry from 100,000 to one million positive ions Such clusters, especially when more energetic than a threshold energy value, can produce nuclear reactions. The difference between the strike of a typical cluster and of a nuclear reaction cluster, can be easily seen on microphotographs. Fig. 1a (K. & S. Shoulders, 1996) is the electron microscope micrograph of an impact of a cluster. Fig. 2a (from Shoulders) is a similar micrograph of the result of the impact of a stronger cluster. In Fig. 1a the metal has been melted by the released energy of the cluster impact but there is no evidence of nuclear reactions, as shown by the X-ray microanalysis in Fig. 1b. In Fig. 2a the cluster has caused a vigorous explosion with measurable nuclear changes as shown by the X-Ray microanalysis in Fig. 2b.

The charge cluster is observed to maintain a stable configuration even though consisting primarily of electrons. It has been determined that these charge clusters are primarily toroidal. These miniature toroids are characterized by a highly dynamic nature so that electrodynamic forces are stronger than the repulsive forces of the electron charges. The mathematical model of this dynamic nature of the charge cluster has been delineated by Jin (Jin and Fox). The size and number of charge clusters is determined by formation parameters, especially by the magnitude and shape of the electrical pulse used to create the cluster.


A charge cluster, if created and launched in the presence of a strong electric field, is subject to the same accelerating potential as an electron placed in the same electric field. The velocity achieved by a charge cluster in such an electric field is about the same as the velocity achieved by a single electron. Although the cluster may be carrying a large number of positive ions, the ratio of electrons to positive ions is so large (105 to 106) that the positive ions embedded in or attached to the cluster have very little effect on the velocity imparted to the cluster by the electric field.

The velocity gained by the cluster provides a large kinetic energy to the charge cluster. In classical electrodynamics, the kinetic energy of a charge cluster is determined by the potential difference (or electric field strength) between the emitter (cathode) and target (anode). The kinetic energy of the charge cluster at the point or surface of the emitter is considered to be zero and to increase as the charge cluster approaches the target or anode.

When an ion, with mass Mi and charge Z e, is accelerated by an electric field potential difference V, the ion will attain an energy W increase of W = Z e V, where Z is the charge number of the ion and e is the unit electron charge. The velocity increase vi in the non-relativistic case is

[1] vi = (2 Z e V / Mi)1/2

where we assume that the initial velocity of the ion is zero.

Now consider a high-density charge cluster with Ne electrons and Ni positive ions with mass Mi and charge Z e. When this charge cluster accelerates through the same potential difference V as given above, the cluster will gain energy equal to (-Ne e + Ni Z e)V and the velocity increase in the non-relativistic case is

[2] v = [2 (-Ne e + Ni Z e)V / (Ne me + Ni Mi)]1/2

where me is the electron mass and Mi is the positive ion mass and zero initial velocity of the cluster is assumed.

With the cluster with positive ions, the ratio of the number of positive ions to the number of negative electrons Ni / Ne is about 10-6. Then equation (2) can be approximated by

[3] ABS [vEV] = (2 e V / me)1/2

The ratio of vEV to vi for the same potential difference V is given by

[4] ABS [vEV] / vi = (Mi / Z me)1/2

and the ratio of the kinetic energy, Ki,EV, attained by a positive ion embedded in the cluster and the kinetic energy, Ki, gained by a positive ion in a cluster of only positive ions is then

[5] Ki,EV / Ki = 1/2 Mi v2EV / (1/2) Mi vi2 = Mi / Z me

which is approx = 1836 A/Z

where A is the mass number and Z is the charge number of the positive ion, respectively.

This discovery, that high kinetic energy can be imparted to positive ions by a cluster which has been formed with relatively low-energy means, is important! As an example of the extent of the kinetic energy developed in a positive ion, when 5 kilovolts potential difference is applied, a proton (deuteron) in the case of a pure proton (deuteron) cluster will attain 5 KeV energy. However, a proton (deuteron) embedded in a cluster, using the same accelerating potential of 5 kilovolts could attain a kinetic energy of 9.18 (18.36) million electron volts! This additional kinetic energy is now sufficient to overcome the Coulomb barrier of a typical target nucleus and produce nuclear reactions. When a large number of such charge clusters, with accompanying positive ions, are produced and accelerated to a target anode, the nuclear reaction rate can be quite high.

As charge cluster research and development matures, it is likely that this technique of promoting high kinetic-energy positive ions will become one of the least expensive and easiest methods to study nuclear reactions. A table-top, compact, charged-particle accelerator may no longer be a dream but become a reality. Such table-top particle accelerators are proposed to supplement large, expensive, particle accelerators. In the near future, small colleges and even secondary schools will be able to afford a laboratory particle accelerator.


As detailed above, when a charge cluster is accelerated in an electric field (and is carrying perhaps 106 positive ions), there is sufficient energy to create nuclear reactions when impacting the positive ions into the nuclei of the target material. This statement can be clearly demonstrated by replicating the experiments of Shoulders (K. & S. Shoulders, 1996); George (George, Sept. 1996); Dash (Miguet & Dash, Jan. 1996); Mizuno (Mizuno, Jan. 1996); Dufour (Dufour, 1993); Savvatimova, et al, (Savvatimova,, Dec. 1993); Miley and Patterson (Miley & Patterson, Sept. 1996); Reiter and Faile (Reiter & Faile); Bass, et al., (Bass, Neal, Gleeson & Fox, Fall 1996); and many others. The parameters of the experiment must be selected so that the charge clusters are produced and carry positive ions. Conceptually, the difference between a charge cluster of electrons and a cluster with positive ions can be determined by the difference between the charge-to-mass ratios. Alternatively, to determine if charge clusters are carrying positive ions, it is better if the experiment is run for only a short time and the metal target is viewed before the target electrode looks like the moon's surface with too many strike patterns obstructing the view. Scanning electron microscopy can be used to determine if there are nuclear changes in the vicinity of the charge cluster impact crater. If not, then the strike was likely a charge cluster having insufficient energy to promote nuclear reactions.


If you are working with devices in which charge clusters are expected to be produced, the following procedure is suggested. Place a small transistor radio near the suspected cluster target. Tune to an AM (amplitude modulated) part of the radio band where there are no AM stations on the air. Turn up the volume and listen for "cracks" of static. When a charge cluster strikes it will emits sufficient electromagnetic energy to hear on such a radio. Remember that FM (frequency modulation) clips these bursts of EM radiation and that static discharges will not be heard on FM stations.

If you question whether these clusters can do damage to metal surfaces, just disconnect the capacitor that is wired across the breaker points of a distributor in a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine. You will soon find that you will need to replace the distributor breaker points. The capacitor is sufficient to prevent the formation of charge clusters.


In a paper presented by one of us (Fox) [11] the Neal-Gleeson Process for low-energy nuclear reactions was partially described. In the Neal-Gleeson Process, a relatively simple configuration of an electro-nuclear cell is connected to a suitable medium-voltage source (several hundred volts). With the proper cell, electrode, and electrolyte configuration, heavy elements in the electrolyte can be transmuted to lower mass elements or the process can be designed to produce thermal energy. This process has been developed over the past two years in a series of over one hundred experiments with gradually-improving results. Naturally-radioactive thorium and naturally-radioactive uranium have been processed with the result that the radioactivity has been dramatically reduced (up to 60 percent reduction in radioactivity). This is a clear indication that the radioactive elements have been transmuted. Mass spectroscopy analysis of before and after samples show that elements not present in the before samples are present in the after samples.

It is the basis of the hypothesis presented in this paper that the mechanism for the reduction of radioactivity, using the Neal-Gleeson Process (patent pending), is that many charge clusters are produced at the electrodes and injected into the heavy elements dissolved in the electrolyte. Therefore, if one desires to improve on the Neal-Gleeson Process it will be by improving the manner in which charge clusters are produced and injected into the nuclei of selected target elements.


Fig. 3 illustrates a charge cluster produced in a hydrogen atmosphere such that the positive charges attached to the cluster are protons. As this cluster is accelerated in an electric field (such as 5,000 volts), the total cluster is accelerated to about one-tenth the speed of light. Fig. 4 is a model of such a cluster as it nears the target nuclei. Note that the intense electromagnetic field of these billions of electrons have stripped away (repelled) all of the electrons from around the target nuclei and have left a target nuclei plasma which has not yet had time to move.

The kinetic energy imparted to the positive ions are sufficient to carry the positive ions into the nucleus of target elements (in the vicinity of the impact zone), overcome the Coulomb barrier, causing such ions (protons in this example) to become a part of the nuclei of some fraction of such target nuclei by high-speed ion collisions, and promoting a nuclear reaction (such as the spontaneous fissioning of heavy elements). Note that it is likely that there will be some 3- and 4-body collisions.

While this type of nuclear reaction could be considered to be a high-energy plasma physics reaction, the initiating process is low-energy (often less than 1,000 volts). The process of the nuclear reaction begins with the creation of a high-density charge cluster by low-energy means. However, the charge cluster has a high energy potential. The impact of the charge cluster, with at least some types of matter, then produces nuclear reactions. If the selection of positive ions, accelerating potential, and target material are appropriate, exothermic nuclear reactions are to be expected. For a description of cluster-palladium reactions see Jin, et al. (Jin & Fox, Fall 1996).


As taught by Shoulders (Shoulders, 1991; Shoulders, 1996; & Shoulders, 1987) charge clusters are produced in low-pressure gases by creating a strong, short-duration, negative pulse at a specially-prepared cathode. The key to producing such stable clusters is a combination of field emission coupled with an intense potential gradient.

In the case of producing charge clusters in a conducting aqueous solution, the key is to develop a high potential gradient in the vicinity of an electrode that will participate in such field emission. The magnitude of the potential gradient required is of the order of one million volts per centimeter. This type of potential gradient can be achieved by the use of metals which produce a highly-resistive oxide dielectric when used as an anode in an electrolytic solution. A review of such oxide-forming metals (labeled in the literature as valve metals) has been prepared by Bhadkamkar & Fox (Bhadkamkar & Fox).

By the proper selection and treatment of such valve metals it is relatively easy to demonstrate the production of "sparking under water". Although not deemed adequate to create nuclear charge clusters, it is relatively easy to demonstrate the desired effect with the use of small diameter aluminum rods. Place two such rods in a weak solution of water and potassium carbonate. Connect the rods to an alternating current source which can be increased to about 600 volts and provide one or two amperes of current.

Gradually increase the voltage. The alternating current will build an oxide layer on both rods. To best observe the results operate the experiment in a dim light. At about 100 to 150 volts, the electrodes will begin to glow and the glow will increase with an increase in potential. Between 300 and 400 volts, sparks will be seen developing on the electrodes. These sparks will become more numerous as the potential is increased until the immersed surface of the aluminum electrodes is sparkling with dancing miniature sparks. On occasion, one may observe a spark maintaining its luminous nature while moving away from the electrode.

Such production of sparks may not be sufficient to cause nuclear reactions. Note that the oxide layer has provided a thin (or thick) high-resistance layer so that a high potential gradient can be provided to aid in the process of charge cluster formation. As the oxide layer is increased the voltage must be increased to maintain the potential gradient for the charge clusters to be formed. This is a self-limiting process. It is believed that at some stage, increasing the electrode potential rapidly increases the current and does not increase the energy of the charge cluster. To make an effective device that will produce nuclear reactions it is necessary, but not sufficient, to produce the charge clusters. The next step is to add sufficient energy to the charge clusters so that nuclear reactions are assured. To create a commercial thermal-energy-producing device, it is necessary to provide the proper combination of charge cluster, piggy-back ions, accelerating potential, medium and dimensions in which charge acceleration can be provided, and an appropriate target material.


The use of high-density charge clusters could explain not only the excess heat phenomena that has been observed in cold fusion cells, but also the evident transmutation of elements on and within the cathodes of those cells. Additional information is available in several locations and on the Internet. A complete and updated bibliography of these and other new energy research papers and articles is available on disk (Fox, current). Selected articles and papers are catalogued in a subjects index on the Internet (Bailey, current). Several journals have recently been published that provide papers describing these phenomena (Fox, June 1996; Fox, Summer 1996; Fox, Sept. 1996). Also, several papers are available that summarize these journals and proceedings (Fox, Oct. 1996).

The work of Kenneth Shoulders has been deemed so significant, that he has been nominated for both the Nobel Prize (Fox, Nov. 1996), and for "Scientist of the Year in 1997" (Fox, Jan. 1997). While significant progress is being reported in cold fusion research (Miles, Bush, & Johnson, Nov. 1996), and with the Patterson Power Cell (Patterson and Cravens, Mar. 1997), new and significant results of transmutation occurring on and with the cathodes of cold fusion cells are being reported form various countries: e.g. Japan (Ohmori, et. al., Mar. 1997) and Russia (Vysotskij, et. al., Jan. 1995). While the science of transmutation seems impossible and new to us today, several researchers may have already obtained results decades before (Grotz, Mar. 1997). One area that would be of great benefit from such research, if possible, would be the removal of radioactivity by transmutation of nuclear waste. Several researchers are actively investigating these possibilities, and several patents have already been issued in other countries for these applications, e.g., two years ago in Japan (Harada, Sept. 1995).


This paper presents a brief description of the role of high-density charge clusters in various devices that have led to the anomalous production of thermal energy. In addition, the paper has described the method by which it is expected that commercial devices can be developed to produce large amounts of low-cost, aneutronic, thermal energy. Experiments are described by which charge clusters can produced in aqueous solutions. The development of a mathematical model and the potential applications of high-energy, high-density charge clusters is presented in a companion paper (Fox & Bailey, 1997).


As seen by the references, the authors have had the privilege of communicating with some of today's geniuses; the many scientists, engineers, and inventors who have built the foundation for this new technology. The authors' contributions are one of gathering and rearranging scraps from the intellectual feasts of the scientific elite. The financial support of the Fusion Information Center, Inc. is acknowledged.


Bailey, P.G., "INE Subjects Catalog," Institute for New Energy, current. []

Bass, R., Neal, R., Gleeson, S., Fox, H., "Electro-Nuclear Transmutations: Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions in an Electrolytic Cell", Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 3, Fall 1996.

Bhadkamkar, Atul & Fox, Hal, "Electron Charge Cluster Sparking in Aqueous Solutions", J of New Energy, vol 1, no 4, Winter 1996, pp 62-68, 28 refs, 2 figs.

Dufour, J., "Cold Fusion by Sparking in Hydrogen Isotopes," Fusion Technology, 1993, vol 24, p 205ff.

Fox, H. & Bailey, Patrick G., "Possible New Applications of High-Density Charge Clusters", companion paper. []

Fox, H., "The Most Complete Bibliography of New Energy Research Papers and Articles," Fusion Information Center, $15.00 PC Disk, P.O. Box 58639, Salt Lake City, UT 84158-8639. (current) []

Fox, H., "Second Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction Conference (Summary)," New Energy News, vol 4, no 6, Oct. 1996, pp 1-2. []

Fox, H., "Nobel Prize Nominations for Energy (Charge Clusters, et. al.)," New Energy News, vol 4, no 7, Nov. 1996, pp 1-3. []

Fox, H., "Does Low Temperature Nuclear Change Occur in Solids?" Proceedings of the 1995 Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Conference held June 1996. Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 1, Spring 1996. Summary and Table of Contents available at:

Fox, H., "Editor's Choice: Privately Funded Research in the Creation of Hydrogen," Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 2, Summer 1996, Summary and Table of Contents available at:

Fox, H., "Title TBD," Proceedings of the 1996 Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Conference held in Sept. 1996. Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 3, Fall 1996. Summary and Table of Contents available at:

George, Russ, Paper presented at second Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions conference, College Station, Texas, September 13-14, 1996.

Grotz, Toby, "T. Henry Moray and the Transmutation of Elements," New Energy News, vol 4, no 11, March 1997, pp 5. []

Harada, Hideo, Patent JP 07239397 A2; "Transmutation of radioactive waste by muon-catalyzed fusion reaction"; Hideo Harada, Hiroshi Takahashi (Doryokuro Kakunenryo, Japan); issued 12 Sept. 1995; appl. 28 Feb. 1994; 7 pp.

Jin, Shang-Xian & Fox, Hal, "Characteristics of High-Density Charge Clusters: A Theoretical Model", J. of New Energy, vol 1, no 4, Winter 1996, 16 refs, 2 figs.

Jin, Shang-Xian, Fox, H., "Possible Palladium-Related Nuclear Reactions", Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 3, Fall 1996.

Miguet, S., Dash, John (Portland State University), "Microanalysis of Palladium after Electrolysis in Heavy Water", Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 1, January 1996, pp 23, 5 figs, 3 refs.

Miles, M.H., Bush, B.F., Johnson, K.B., "Anomalous Effects in Deuterated Systems," New Energy News, vol 4, no 7, Nov. 1996, pp 4-5. []

Miley, George H., Patterson, James A., "Nuclear Transmutations in Thin-Film Nickel Coatings Undergoing Electrolysis", Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 3, Proceedings of the Second Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Conference, Sept 13-14, 1996, College Station, Texas.

Mizuno, T. et. al., "Excess Heat Evolution and Analysis of Elements for Solid State Electrolyte in Deuterium Atmosphere During Applied Electric Field," Journal of New Energy, vol 1, no 1, Spring 1996.

Ohmori, Tadayoshi, Mizuno, Tadahiko, and Nodasaka, Yoshinobu (Hokkaido Univ., Japan), Enyo, Michio (Hakodate Nat. Coll. of Technol., Japan), Minagawa, Hideki (Hokkaido Nat. Indust. Res. Inst., Japan), "Transmutation in the Electrolysis of Light Water Excess Energy and Iron Production in a Gold Electrode," Fusion Tech., Vol 31, No. 2, Mar. 1997, pp 210-218, 8 refs, 11 figs, 3 tables.

Patterson, J., and Cravens, D., US Pat. 5,607,563; "Systems for Electrolysis"; James A. Patterson, Dennis Cravens; issued 4 Mar. 1997; appl. 4 Dec. 1995; 16 claims, 2 drawing sheets. [www.padrak. com/ine/NEN-5-1-7.html]

Reiter and Faile, "Spark Gap Experiments", New Energy News, Sept 1996, pp 11ff.

Savvatimova, I., Kucherov, Yan & Karabut, Alexander, "Impurities in Cathode Material Before and after Deuterium Glow Discharge Experiments", Fusion Technology, vol 26, no 4T, Dec 1994, pp 389-394. ICCF-4, Maui, Hawaii, Dec 6-9, 1993.

Shoulders, Kenneth R., "Energy Conversion Using High Charge Density", U.S. Patent 5,018,180, issued May 21, 1991, see also "Circuits Responsible to and Controlling Charged Particles", U.S. Patent 5,054,047, issued Oct. 1, 1991.

Shoulders, Kenneth and Steven, "Observations on the Role of Charge Clusters in Nuclear Cluster Reactions", J. of New Energy, vol 1, no 3, Fall 1996.

Shoulders, Kenneth R., EV, A Tale of Discovery, c1987, published and available from the author, P.O. Box 243, Bodega, CA 94922-0243.

Vysotskij, Valadimir I., et. al., Patent RU 2052223 Cl: "Method for Producing Stable Isotopes Due to Nuclear Transmutation, Such as Low-Temperature Nuclear Fusion of Elements in Microbiological Cultures"; Vladimir I. Vysotskij, Alla A. Kornilova, Igor I. Samojlenko (Tovarishchestvo S Ogranichennoj Otvetstvennostyu Nauchno-Proizvodstvennoe Ob'edinenie "inter-Nart"), issued 10 Jan. 1996; appl. 18 Jan. 1995 (in Russian).

[The Figures will be coming soon.]

Fig. 1a

Fig. 1b

Fig. 2b

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

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