Researchers at MIT have collaborated with a team of scientists from the University of British Columbia, the University of Maryland, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Google to conduct a multiyear investigation into cold fusion, a type of benign nuclear reaction hypothesized to occur in benchtop apparatus at room temperature.

In 1989, benchtop experiments were reported that raised hopes that cold fusion had been achieved. If true, this form of fusion could potentially be a source of limitless, carbon-free energy. However, researchers were unable to reproduce the results, and serious questions arose about the validity of the work. The topic laid largely dormant for 30 years. (In contrast, research in "hot" fusion has persisted, including the SPARC collaboration, which aims to commercialize fusion technology.)

Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is part of the Google-sponsored team now revisiting the possibility of cold fusion through scientifically rigorous, peer-reviewed research. A progress report published today in Nature publicly describes the group's collaboration for the first time.

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