The title of this post is my new description or term for the vast bulk of phenomena associated with cold fusion and LENR, along with other exotic energy technologies. When a reactor is in an ASTOUNDED state, atypical spheromaks (simply meaning compact toroids derived in less than commonly accepted methods used in hot fusion projects) induce a variety of nuclear effects that result in the discharge of energy reaching or exceeding unambiguous levels. Basically, cold fusion reactors that have truly ASTOUNDED researchers use one or more methods of forming spheromaks - often nano or micro-sized plasmoids that fit the profile of Kenneth Shoulders exotic vacuum objects - that bombard or interact with their fuel, which optimally has been loaded with hydrogen until an embrittled metal hydride surface layer has formed. Although such a prior embrittlement may not be required to achieve all effects associated with an ASTOUNDED condition, secondary "electron cluster" production during lattice disruption or fracture may faciliate self sustaining cycles of energy production. The conditions for hydrogen (protium) implantation and EVO production may sometimes overlap, such as when an radio frequency excited plasma is used to produce both atomic hydrogen and spheromaks (EVOs).
Viewing LENR from the ASTOUNDED perspective also provides clarity on why certain methods utilized by successful researchers and replicators seem unusually successful. For example, Me356's fuel conditioning methods (likely using corona discharge sputtering and ion implantation in an argon-hydrogen enviroment) and applied plasma generating frequencies become logical. Moreover, Rossi's likely use of lithium hydride doped nano-diamonds (multiple patents explain how lithium n-type doping utilizing the agent lithium hydride reduces the nano-diamond work function) carefully applied to his higher work function nickel electrodes to produce spheromaks for LENR triggering is perfectly logical. Utilizing the well known principles and established know how of spheromak control from the hot fusion field, we can consider additional possibilities such as the use of permanant magnet(s) behind the cathode to provide the spiraling force that helps form spheromaks by augmenting the natural magnetic field generated by their own motion or the use of a magnet on each end to produce the "magnetic mirror" trapping effect to stabilize and hold spheromaks in the center of the gap. In such a state, LENR reactions could take place due to ion collision in the gap due to bunching effects (even if the trap doesn't fully hinder plasma flow) in addition to on the surface of the electrodes.
My supposition is that in all of the most successful LENR experiments, removal of contaminant gases in the atmosphere or metal lattice interior, utilization of optimal surface structures or particle sizes, reduction of emitter work function, adequate levels of hydrogen embrittlement, and spheromak generation techniques (streamers from high voltage sources, hot tungsten filaments possibly thoriated, RF plasma generation, electrical impulses through the fuel, high frequency harmonics through resistors, three phase windings to create optimized "rotamak" rotating magnetic fields, or even high rate thermal/pressure cycling of co-deposited hydrogen embrittled layers to produce lattice damage,) came together to achieve fantastic results.
I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of members of this forum about the various methods of producing an ASTOUNDED state.