IDA is an open science platform run by volunteer researchers who are passionate about clean, affordable, and abundant power generation.
We are working toward the complete decoupling of nuclear power and radioactivity — a relationship that we consider to be the key hindrance to large-scale, low-cost nuclear power deployment.
How is it possible to decouple nuclear power from radioactivity? By preventing nuclear reactions from taking place incoherently, i.e. in isolation of their environment — as has been the default in nuclear power technology to date.
The canonical products of most fusion and fission reactions contain radioactive isotopes or hazardous neutrons. By coherently coupling matching nuclear reactions, their reaction products can be changed and their reaction rates accelerated. The preferred combination of nuclear reactions we presently work with are deuterium-deuterium fusion reactions that drive the excitation of metal nuclei, resulting in their clean disintegration via charged particle emission.
Coupling and modifying nuclear reactions requires no extensive capital equipment or large facilities. What is key are strong computational capabilities that allow for proper “mixing and matching” of reactions that are resonant with each other (e.g. providing stable nuclei in a lattice that can readily absorb the 23.8 MeV from the DD —> He-4 transition via near-resonant nuclear excited states). To this end, we are developing computational tools to precisely identify hitherto uncharacterized excited states of heavy stable nuclei in the 5 to 50 MeV range.
The coupling between nuclei can be instigated by oscillating electromagnetic fields such as ones generated in metal lattices by low-cost laser systems. Another set of our computational tools predicts the reaction products and reaction rates that result from coherently coupled fusion-fission reactions.
What does this mean in practice? We believe this approach can result in extremely small-scale (pocket-size) devices that convert hydrogen (deuterium) into helium while releasing large amounts of energy (>1 kWh/day) over long periods of time (over months and years).
All of the above aspects are part of the field of solid-state nuclear science. Here we present the key principles and relevant references for this emerging field.
Solid-state nuclear science lies at the intersection of quantum dynamics, nanostructured materials and nuclear physics and is concerned with the interplay of the molecular, atomic, and sub-atomic scales.
Where did this field come from? A full historical account deserves a whole blog post to itself, but in short we can say the following:
Solid-state environments have long been considered rich in their dynamics. For the longest time, the atomic nucleus was considered as merely a passive observer - like a cork bobbing up and down in a pool of water. However, as early as the 1930’s scientists showed that, at least in principle, the weakly connected atomic and sub-atomic scales could in fact influence each other (Breit 1937). Interest in such effects was accelerated by reports, in the late 1980s and 1990s, of experimental anomalies in metal-hydride systems (often dubbed cold fusion and LENR). While not all of those reports live up to our scientific standards, we believe that collectively they represent a body of formal and informal knowledge not to be ignored. Indeed this knowledge has since gone on to stimulate rigorous development in theory, materials and concepts which together define a scientific field (see about page for more details).
At Project Ida, we believe that in order to progress solid-state nuclear science as quickly as possible, we need to tap into the vast wealth of experience and resources that already exist in the scientific community. To this end, the work at Project Ida will primarily seek to:
Organize and assess existing knowledge
Create accessible original research and commentary
Facilitate novel lines of investigation
Enjoy exploring our site, where you can learn more about us and our motivations, the story behind the name Ida, some great literature to get you started, our current research and thoughts about various topics in our blog.