This is the major part of the substantive technical part of the response to the U.S. Patent Examiner's Office Action of April 3, 1995.
The main thrust of the disclosure in this Applicant's disclosure concerns the injection of a very strong electrical current flow through the cathode, a current which in no way participates in the electrolytic process. Such a current flowing axially along the centre of the cathode body will develop circumferential magnet fields inside the metal cathode and these can interact with heat flow along the axis to develop radial electric field gradients inside the cathode by virtue of the Nernst Effect. Heat flow carried mainly by electrons gets diverted by the magnetic field as the heat is converted into electric potential. An electric potential gradient inside a metal means a distributed charge inside that metal, notwithstanding its electrical conductivity, and that plays a key role in the invention claimed.
The physics of all this is independent of 'cold fusion' as such. It is simply a thermoelectric phenomenon and one which has utilitarian purpose in the conversion of heat to electricity or in the storage of heat energy in electrical form pending controlled release as heat.
The new claim 36 is written with the objective of securing protection for the apparatus defined and claim 36 in no way depends upon acceptance of cold fusion though the apparatus should prove useful if that technology develops in due course. Even Claim 37 which introduces the hydrogen ion as adsorbed into the cathode has a supportable basis independent of the cold fusion scenario.
As the specification of record shows the Applicant had become aware of the enhanced electrical conduction properties of a metal which comprises atoms which can group to have a mass resonance that is an integer multiple of a near-to-102 atomic mass unit value. This was evident from research on warm superconductors and it has now been realised that this property can play a major role in determining materials suitable for use as permanent magnets. For example, barium ferrite magnets have a molecular composition BaFe12O19 which has molecular weight 1113 or 11 times 101.2 and Alnico magnets include a principal atomic group component AlNiCo2 which has a mass of 203.53 atomic mass units or 2 times 101.76. In permanent magnets there are microscopic loop currents in what are virtually superconductive circuit paths and these sustain the state of permanent magnetism just as current in a superconductor is sustained. The specification of record discloses apparatus in which the cathode is specifically structured to carry an enhanced current and affected in composition to enhance this resonant effect on conductivity. Applicant seeks by the new independent claim 36 and claims 37 onwards to have the Examiner focus on the merits of the invention from this aspect.
From the point of view of the prior art search, the examination of the parent case had reduced primary consideration to the relevance of Trzyna (U.S. Patent 3,844,922).
In supplementing this response advising election of species it seems appropriate therefore to comment on Trzyna as Applicant would have replied in dealing with the parent case had the 12/16/92 Office Action been received.
Also, since doubts concerning the 'cold fusion' issue may prevail, even though the Applicant does not seek to champion that cause on the merits of what is disclosed in the subject specification, there is an important aspect concerning temperature gradient that warrants some comment.
Essentially, in the calorimeter tests used by researchers trying to verify the cold fusion process they went out of their way to ensure that temperatures of the test device were uniform. They eliminated the temperature gradients in the cathode which are absolutely the key factor for activating the Nernst Effect. Without a temperature gradient there is no energy conversion activated by current through the cathode which changes heat into electric polarization. Without the latter polarization controlling the presence of surplus ions inside the body of the metal cathode there is no uniformity in the sense needed to get a fine-tuning of what this Applicant describes as mass resonance which in turn enhances the electrical conductivity and so the whole action.
The Applicant has therefore appended a series of notes below which would have been filed in a replying to that 12/16/92 Office Action on the parent application, had it been received before that application became abandoned. Hopefully, these remarks will prove helpful in endorsing the merit of the subject application notwithstanding the aura attached to 'cold fusion'.
Concerning the importance of the 102 atomic mass factor in the subject disclosure, the Examiner may have heard recently of the outstanding discovery by U.S. researchers in Colorado that a metal formed by condensation from vapor form had been cooled to a temperature of a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero and a very large group of its atoms had merged their action to a common thermal quantum state. That metal was rubidium, which has two isotopes of 85 and 87 atomic mass units respectively. Rubidium is exceptional in this respect, because more rapid cooling occurs during condensation where atoms come together in groups having near-to-102 atomic mass units as the random thermal motion converts into orderly and concerted motion. It is then very relevant that 6 times 85 is 5 times 102 and 7 times 87 is 6 times (101.5).
Concerning Trzyna U.S. Patent No. 3,844,922, the following remarks are written with the Examiner's earlier objections in the parent case in mind. The Examiner had suggested that current through the cathode would be by-passed partially by flow through the electrolyte.
The disclosure in Trzyna (3,844,922) in the abstract illustration shows an electrolytic cell with provision for a.c. excitation of the cathode and both d.c. and a.c. excitation of the anode-cathode circuit. Note the single metal-to-metal point of contact between the metal of the two separate circuits. In that Trzyna disclosure, as in the Applicant's disclosure, with an a.c. potential between the ends of the cathode, there will be some a.c. flow shunted through the electrolyte but electro-chemists know that there is such a large difference in electrical conductivity between metal and an electrolytic solution (of the order of a ratio of 10,000 to 1) that, to all intents and purposes, unless the cathode were to be an extremely thin metal film with small cross-section and very large superficial area, it is technically correct to speak of the two circuits as being quite distinct as current paths, in Fig. 1 the a.c. path through the cathode and the d.c. path through anode and cathode.
It is submitted that this interpretation would be placed on what the Applicant has disclosed in the specification as filed without it being necessary to explain the above in detail. Evenso, the Applicant has attempted to bring clarity into this issue by suitably limiting the claims, also in order to distinguish the invention from the Trzyna disclosure.
Concerning the relevance of the Trzyna citation, note here that, although the circuit configuration does resemble that proposed in the subject specification, the technical function is entirely different. In electrolytic etching and electroplating the whole physical action concerns the process occurring exclusively in the electrolyte and at the cathode surface. The action necessarily involves low voltages and the nature of electrolysis is such that there is a limit on the current density per unit area of cathode that is feasible and any excess currents per unit area are to be avoided. Certainly, the objective in Trzyna is to provide a small fluctuating voltage potential at the surface of his cathode/workpiece with relatively minor transfer of current in the cathode and, owing to the electrolyte's small specific conductivity, this means that the a.c. current admitted to cathode is quite small and though most of that will circulate around the cathode loop it is small in relationship to the anode current as it is intended to help in equalising electrolytic actions over the cathode surface. Note the ratio 30 amperes d.c. in the anode-cathode circuit and 6 amperes a.c. in the cathode circuit (see column 4 line 65 and column 5 line 1).
In this Applicant's apparatus the a.c. cathode current is far in excess of the d.c. current in the anode-cathode circuit, a ratio of 100 to 1 being mentioned in the specification (line 18, p. 20), because it is the action of this powerful current, whether by electrodynamic pinch, electrodynamic ion-electron enhanced acceleration, heat gradient or by enhancement of ion collisions, that promotes the action for which the apparatus is designed.
Indeed, the Applicant now knows that the heat gradient plus the electric pinch and Nernst potentials resulting from the strong current are the critical criteria for best mode operation of the invention. Furthermore, the objective is not, as in Trzyna, to affect the transfer of ions between anode and cathode and their adherence or separation from the cathode work surface, but rather to have an effect on a process that occurs inside the cathode once the ions have been adsorbed into that cathode. The heat gradient exists because the heat generated is removed by a flow of fluid over the cathode surface by passage from an entry port, travel over the surface of the heated cathode, and then through an exit port by which the heat is used externally in a recirculating system.
Technically, therefore, what is disclosed can be assembled by a person skilled in the electro-chemical art and it is functionally distinct from the teachings in the Trzyna disclosure.
In these circumstances, and having regard to the amendment suggested it should be justifiable to regard the innovation as patentable over the art originally cited.
In his objections to the parent application Examiner states that there is no support in the original disclosure for referring to the cathode as having a single point of connection to a metal conductor by which its output current returns to the d.c. source.
This draws attention to a problem of wording to distinguish the 'cathode' from the 'cathode circuit'. Fig. 1 does show an anode, a cathode and connections (a) through a d.c. supply to the anode-cathode circuit and (b) through an a.c. supply feeding the cathode circuit exclusively. The single terminal point connection is shown at the left end of the cathode and, as the Examiner states in his fourth paragraph on page 3 of his Action 'the cathode itself extends beyond the ends of the housing'.
In that early examination there was some problem raised by reference to the "single turn secondary winding". This is the feature shown in Fig. 3 since cathode 2 is such a single turn. This no longer arises in the claims presented as 36-46 but it is deemed to be evident to an electrical specialist reading the specification in the context of Fig. 1 that, since the object is to promote a very high current flow through a cathode fed by a transformer, and since there is no other load, the connection through the cathode has to be a short-circuit. The logical design is to use what is effectively a current transformer with minimal secondary resistance and that means using a single turn. The multi-turn secondary shown in Fig. 1 is merely a standard illustration of a transformer action. Had a single loop been shown it might still have been seen as a two-turn secondary but the back-up showing in Fig. 3 clearly gives basis for the single turn secondary winding feature and that is located wholly within the housing for the cathode.
General Remarks on the 'Cold fusion' Theme:
Applicant is mindful that the Examiner argued in the parent case that there is no reputable evidence of record to support any allegations or claims that the invention involves nuclear fusion.With respect, what Applicant believes was in issue in the parent application was not the attempts to replicate the experiments which have led to this cold fusion fiasco, but the workability of the structure which this Applicant has described in the subject application, though it is reasonable for the Examiner to invite comment on why the adversaries on the cold fusion research could not demonstrate cold fusion. The Examiner has, incidentally, only cited the negative reports.
None of the 'reputable' evidence cited reports on an experiment specifically using Applicant's apparatus.
These preliminary comments are generic to several of the many references cited by the Examiner and so are itemised as follows:
(a) The nature of a calorimeter test where there is no excess heat is, by definition, one by which there is thermal equilibrium. In the event that a successful cell is one where a temperature gradient in the host metal cathode is essential to set up the potentials in the metal that then exist, by virtue of the Nernst Effect, the use of a well-controlled calorimeter would preclude the cell from producing excess heat because the potentials might well be the factor that brings the deuterons into needed proximity to trigger fusion. Such calorimeter tests are inconclusive and do not replicate cells which run on an open basis in which there is convection and formation of gas bubbles which bring about temperature gradients in the cathode. If the test protocol, in seeking to pin down all components in a heat balance, freezes the system into thermal equilibrium so as to sense change of temperature, then, to the extent that cold fusion needs a little activation stimulated by temperature differences in the cathode, that same test protocol stifles the effect it is supposed to measure.
This is why the Applicant has provided the cooling feature and why the input of strong currents to the cathode plays its role in upsetting the thermal equilibrium.
What is needed in a proper test protocol is a calorimeter test in which there is a controlled rate of heat flow through the system which goes hand in hand with a temperature gradient and is channelled to pick up excess heat and so deliver the excess as output without imposing the straight-jacket uniform temperature constraint that a calorimeter in equilibrium imposes.
This is why the coolant circulates in the Applicant's Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. The Examiner will hopefully see the sense of this argument and appreciate the problem. Those who set out to test the F & P claim did not trust the F & P calorimetric evaluation and so they aimed at precise calorific measurement using a calorimeter that regulated temperature in a uniform way. They assumed that if excess heat is produced then the best thing to do is to enclose all the heat in a container in thermal equilibrium and see if the temperature increased. Even if they cycled the temperature between different values over a protracted period of time they ensured that the operative temperature was uniform in the apparatus at the moment when measurements were made. The result was that they did not replicate the very conditions which mattered, namely that there had to be temperature gradient in the cathode to get any excess heat in the first place.
This point can be underlined by referring to the Miskelly et al paper in Science (November 1989) which the Examiner cited in his earlier action. In the last paragraph on p. 529 there is the argument that the F & P experiment is flawed by their finding that temperature differentials of 2 degrees C occurred in an unstirred cell, especially as there were gas bubbles, and this was seen as a source of error. In fact, it should have been seen as the clue pointing to why the F & P cell really did develop excess heat.
Without a temperature differential in the cathode, the action of the current in developing a magnetic field that acts on the heat flow through that temperature gradient in the body of the cathode will not produce the Nernst EMF within the cathode metal and so there will be no residual charge in the host metal by which the deuterons can be brought together in a fusion relationship.
Therefore, the use of good calorimetric methods or closed cells with no circulating coolant precludes a valid test of the F & P cell. If the excess heat generation is precluded by temperature stabilization any test to search even for neutron or gamma radiation is futile.
Note further that the actual fusion reaction is that by which tritium is generated along with a proton, meaning no neutron and no gamma radiation. See the discussion by Faller et al in the 1989 reference cited by the Examiner (J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. Letters). This shows the doubts as to the fusion product. F & P obtained concentration of tritium. Yet, because there is electrolytic concentration of tritium in the residual deuterium oxide as the latter is used up in normal dissociation, this is glossed over as being a reason for discounting the findings of F & P. Firstly, one had to have an experiment that did generate excess heat and only then should one weigh the balance of the tritium product. There is no point in watching the tritium concentration in a cell that is not heat-active and then declaring that any such concentration found by F & P is normal electrolytic concentration.
The problem here to keep in mind is that experimenters do not wish to waste deuterium oxide. They accept its dissociation in operating the cell, but they do not pump it through a cell with the object of extracting heat. They avoid the temperature gradients and they brush aside the tritium factor, whilst pointing at the no-neutron, no-gamma radiation aspects which are not relevant anyway to the tritium producing reaction. Two deuterons fuse to create a proton and a triton having 3 and 1 Mev of 'heat energy', respectively.
(b) Therefore, if the test is based on detection of neutrons or gamma radiation it is not relevant owing to the fact that deuterons that come together in a cool environment need not combine by producing a neutron but may simply release the 4 Mev surplus heat energy that comes from conversion to a triton and a proton. That Mev of energy is not carried by fast beta particles but rather by the relatively very heavy triton and proton and the latter are able to transfer heat directly to the phonon system to which they belong when arrested. There is no reason to insist on any gamma radiation such as one associates with excessively hot beta emission. (c) If there is no effort to supply any current confined to a circuit including the cathode but not the anode and there is no provision for setting up a temperature gradient in the cathode then the disclosure does not bear at all upon the Applicant's invention.
Proceeding now to specific comments and concerning the other references in the 12/16/92 Office Action:
Fleming reveals no excess heat: comments (a) and (c) apply.
Broad: This concerns doubt about the 2.2 Mev gamma ray detection but Fleischmann is presumably still satisfying his backers in their onward development of larger heat generators and a March 1991 newspaper report should not be given undue attention.
Henderson: This reveals no neutron or gamma emission and assumes fusion reaction with a helium product: comments (b) and (c) apply. Note specifically the statement: 'We did not measure products from reaction (2)'. It is reaction (2) that this Applicant sees as the relevant reaction.
Bosch: This was again a search for neutrons and gamma radiation. Equation 2 in Table III is followed by comment 'For those reactions which don't create directly gammas, the generation of fast charged particles would create secondary gammas...' This is a sweeping assertion based on experience with radioactivity and hot fusion. If those workers have no experience of cold fusion in producing excess heat but know from hot fusion work that primary gamma radiation can create secondary gammas, how can they declare what would happen if no primary gammas are produced? Evenso, in their article, concerning temperature measurement there was some modest temperature differential in the cathode region (bottom p. 169) but they observed 'non-equilibrium effects attributed to exothermic loading and said 'clearly better measurements were needed to draw more significant conclusions'. Comments (b) and (c) apply.
Rogers: This is a review paper and not one reporting new experiments but it states in the last paragraph that tritium has been measured as a reaction product, though trying to excuse this as being possibly due to preferential electrolysis.
Albagli: This dismisses the tritium feature by attributing growth in tritium to electrolytic concentration. Comments (a), (b) and (c) all apply.
Nova: Confusion in a Jar: This evidences the debate surrounding the subject but is not evidence that shows that the scientific community deems the 'cold fusion' suggestion as 'bordering on the incredible'. To the contrary, the fact that such a forum of debate was taking place shows that that community is so concerned that the claim could be 'credible' that they seek to drive the question forward to a termination point at a faster rate than the proponents can proceed to secure experimental clarification.
Balke: Here the temperature was varied as a test parameter but all the emphasis is on detecting neutrons. Comments (b) and (c) apply.
Myers: This does focus on the reaction producing tritium, but with strict temperature control, meaning that in searching for the fusion products, the open cell electrolytic conditions by which temperature perturbations in the cathode can occur are not present. Comments (a), (b) and (c) apply.
Wilson: This discusses calorimetry of the F & P cell and points to possible errors but (see p. 2) 'these do not lead to significant errors in their calculation of excess heat and (abstract) 'we cannot prove that no excess heat has been generated in any experiments'. This, again, is a situation where, if there are temperature differences in the test system, these are a source of potential error in heat calculations, but excess heat in any quantity that is worth considering necessarily will involve a temperature differential in the cell. By precluding one, one precludes the other. The runaway escalating heat generation condition that F & P reported is not really considered. It is the real clue to follow. If excess heat generation is proportional to temperature gradient and temperature gradient increases with such heat generation, that is an exponentially escalating action. Once that action is triggered in a cell which lends itself to that temperature gradient condition, the runaway situation develops but will be moderated if the heat escapes in a different direction or the electric current developing the field, assuming Nernst Effects apply, is diverted. Hence, finding fault with F & P data by criticizing sources of temperature difference in a calorimeter test, is to put the whole picture out of focus.
Silvera: This again seems irrelevant in that comments (a), (b) and (c) apply. The calorimeter used to measure excess heat does have regard to the changing thermal gradients during the 'slow' increase from 77K to room temperature. However, note the commentary in the middle of the first column on p. 42. 'During the warm-up, the power sensitivity fell by as much as two orders of magnitude due to changing thermal gradients in the cell'. The researchers were only concerned with looking for excess heat at a steady temperature and so they discounted what they were finding during the step changes of the controlling temperature, because their equipment had lost its sensitivity owing, one can assume, to excess heating!
Williams: Comments (b) and (c) apply, but the calorimter test data reported is very curious. At p. 375, right hand column, middle section, it is said that there was an 'apparent endothermic period at the beginning of the run..this was due in part to .. a temperature gradient ...an analogous effect at the start of electrolysis was reported by Lewis et al, who showed that the apparent heating coefficient of a similar cell varied during the first part of a run. Because of this effect, we excluded the first 10,000 minutes of data from each cell when calculating the statistics.' So, if a researcher is looking for evidence of excess heat after running a cell for an initial priming period and what he finds instead is an apparent cooling over that initial period, he can discount that finding as irrelevant. It may be relevant that the Nernst Effect in metal can provide cooling or heating and if the temperature gradient settles down to a value where cooling balances a limited fusion heating effect, there would be no heat excess. If it takes a while before fusion heating occurs that suggests initial cooling. If the cell used does not force a sustained temperature gradient then there can be heat balance. The citation, therefore, is not convincing evidence of the 'no-excess-heat' proposition and, to the contrary, it merely opens the issue for further study.
Ewing et al: This is solely concerned with neutron tests. Comments (b) and (c) apply. The Examiner includes 'Ewing et al' in his statement 'These references provide further clear evidence that no excess heat is generated in such 'cold fusion' systems' but the Applicant can find no reference to 'heat' in the Ewing paper!
It is, of course, difficult to comment on all the references cited in the earlier parent application and hopefully the Examiner will take the examination of this application forward on the basis of the apparatus disclosed and without primary attention focussed on the cold fusion issue, especially as the process claims are cancelled.
The apparatus is intended to allow the testing of thermal activity in electrolytic cells activated by passage of substantial current through a closed circuit cathode and the Applicant is willing to amend the text of the specification accordingly if that is allowed and needed to secure allowable claims.
If, in that regard, references are cited which involve calorimeter tests with very stable monitoring of temperature they do not represent the open cell structure used by F & P with its scope for a temperature gradient up the palladium cathode nor do they represent the situation where there are heating effects of an a.c. cathode circulating current. Nor do they apply to Applicant's disclosure. If the references base the rejection of cold fusion on non-neutron emission or no-gamma emission then it is submitted that they have no bearing on Applicant's invention or on the F & P experiments.
Concerning the adequacy of the description as an enabling disclosure, it is submitted that, just as so many researchers could build apparatus in the form of electrolytic cells with the object of testing the F & P cold fusion claims, and presumably by using their inherent skills as physicists or electrochemists, with no tuition from F & P, so an apparatus having the additional provision for the closed cathode circuit described and shown in the specification can be built to implement the Applicant's invention. The very skills possessed by so many researchers who are trusted to build cells deemed to offer valid tests which replicate the F & P cell are those which are appropriate and available, without specific enabling additional instruction, for building and testing what the Applicant's disclosure shows.
The Applicant cannot add new matter to the specification at this stage and so must rely on contending that the specification does suffice. Given that the processes by which palladium electrodes adsorb hydrogen are known in the relevant art, the size and form of the cathode would be determined by known criteria and the current supplied to the cathode by the added closed circuit would be limited to avoid calculable I2R resistive overheating. It is conceded that, for the invention to be operable in promoting heat generating reactions with active rather than passive involvement of the cathode-adsorbed ions, the 'cold fusion' scenario has itself to have technological foundation. However, if one can presume that is the case then the invention must contribute to enhancing the process. There is such clear physical basis for the current field action and the heat action to combine to create conditions which bring the ions into closer proximity. The well-known electrodynamic pinch effect on electron current in a wire is enough to explain how negative charge can be concentrated at the seat of the positive ions and that must bring them into more active relationship. This apart, and regarding the ions as serving a passive function, there are reasons based on dynamic mass-resonance criteria arising from the application of standard physics to the problem, for showing that heat can be converted into an electrical displacement that implies energy storage. The apparatus disclosed by the Applicant is expressly suited to research investigation on that theme.
Still on the 'cold fusion' theme, there are many reports of success on the cold fusion issue, but is seems that these are immediately branded as from 'non-reputable' sources and so have no weight in this argument. Nevertheless the Applicant makes reference to an abstracted report in FUSION FACTS at pp. 9 and 10 of the September 1993 issue. This refers to work performed by Reiko Notoya of the Catalysis Research Centre, Hokkaido University, Japan under the title 'Cold Fusion by Electrolysis in a Light Water - Potassium Carbonate Solution with a Nickel Electrode'. It is claimed that what was measured was a progressive transmutation of potassium into calcium resulting from fusion of hydrogen and potassium at laboratory temperatures. It is stated that the measured rate at which the calcium concentration in the electrolytes increased due to electrolysis was comparable with the excess heat involved.
Now, this is not direct evidence that the Applicant's invention has merit, but it is evidence that we may be destined to see research which will lead to the eventual commercial exploitation of the transmutation of elements by processes in which protons and deuterons are adsorbed into metal activated by electrical current.
It is mentioned because the use of a nickel cathode has particular relevance to an aspect of the subject invention which the Applicant has researched experimentally. Nickel has a very high Nernst coefficient, as is well known, and it is a ferromagnetic material which means that it comprises microscopic domains that are fully saturated magnetically. The Nernst Effect is that by which EMFs are set up transverse to the magnetic field when a temperature gradient exists in the mutually orthogonal direction. If, therefore, heat is generated within that nickel as by applying an electric current or by internal processes or heat is introduced to set up even modest temperature gradients the result is that the nickel behaves microscopically as a thermoelectric power converter. It has minute 100 micron regions of action involving cooling and producing electrical current flow and adjacent regions where a balancing heating occurs. This activity is ongoing in that nickel by standard and proven physical principles.
What, however, can easily be overlooked is the fact that the Nernst Effect is one by which that EMF is set up within the metal and that, as the thermal gradient is not uniform, that EMF varies within the metal, which means that the inside of the metal has pockets of positive and negative charge. Now, if a proton were to be adsorbed into a nickel cathode of porous design complementing that 100 micron domain structure so that heavier ions from an electrolyte penetrate those pores, at a region of nagative charge, one can conceive the possibility of charge neutralization leading to a merging of atomic nuclei.
An alternative explanation, however, is that the process in these potassium cabonate tests does not involve fusion inside the nickel but fusion in the electrolyte. Note that carbonated water dissociates from H2O plus CO2 into HCO3- plus H+ and, by analogy, potassium carbonate dissociates in water into KCO3- plus K+. The negative ion here has for the potassium isotope 41 a mass that is 101 atomic mass units, this being 41 plus 12 for carbon plus three units of 16 for oxygen, and in its close association with H+ in the dissociated water they will together satisfy the 102 mass resonance criterion. The evidence from the Notoya disclosure was that there was excess heat in measure related to the increase in calcium observed, the implication being that it is the K 41 potassium isotope that is experiencing cold fusion with the proton to become Ca 42.
The point made here is that one must not take the physics of nuclear processes as observed in high energy reactors as being the governing criteria where unusual electrical constraints are applied to mobile ions in conductive media, whether electrolytes or metal. On the contrary, one must heed the reported discoveries, even those giving spurious results, and since this 'cold fusion' field has become one of protracted evaluation, one ought, from a patent viewpoint, to judge more on the basis of novelty and not on there being a proven and tested end product. This is a situation, as with a new medical composition, where it may take a while before the relevant scientific community is ready to digest the product as having proven benefit. It is important to keep in mind that the grant of a patent is not an endorsement that the invention has commercial value. It is something conferred on the merits of innovation that can advance technological knowledge, even if that advance proves unrewarding in the sense that it does not lead to what eventually proves to be the best mode for taking the technology forward. In this instance, a novel apparatus useful in research aimed at tests in a promising and useful technological field warrants protection, just as a novel reactor aimed at hot fusion might warrant a patent grant even though it may never survive long enough in its duration as a patent to protect an actual commercially viable energy producing reactor.