Skip to comments.Gamma-producing fusion branches and solid state matter
Posted on 09/05/2013 4:20:38 PM PDT by Kevmo
Gamma-producing fusion branches and solid state matter
Eric Walker Sun, 25 Aug 2013 12:49:47 -0700
I'm including a brief synthesis of some of the thoughts that have been discussed on this list concerning a possibly novel interaction between gamma-producing fusion branches and solid state matter. This synthesis elaborates on a thought experiment that at this time lacks the rigor of something that would be turned into in a paper. My hope is that it can nonetheless be further refined as one step towards a more rigorous presentation, should that come about at some point.
Although the discussion below focuses on PdD somewhat, hopefully it will be clear that it applies equally to NiH(D). I see more promise in NiH and simply feel a desire to try to pick up some longstanding questions that have been raised in connection with PdD, which for most investigators is a system that is more familiar and better understood. For the most part I have been focused on NiH.
Since late 2011 there has been a discussion about a new way that the gamma-producing fusion branches might interact with matter, first set out to my knowledge in a post by Ron Maimon to the physics site physics.stackexchange.com . During 2012 and into 2013 that thread has been picked up on Vortex-L and the idea extended and modified. The foundation for the speculations here is not yet rigorous, so they are only a thought experiment at this point. But, phenomenologically, they go a long way to explain persistent and quirky details of the cold fusion experiments that have been described in Ed Storms's book and review articles and by others, elsewhere. For this reason I think the thought experiment merits a restatement and consideration of some observations it might explain as well as some new predictions. I'll try to do each of these things in turn.
To recap, the original proposal was that in the context of a palladium lattice the gamma-producing dd fusion branch interacts electromagnetically with lattice site nuclei instead of producing a gamma photon. The result is that you would get a prompt 4He that, when born, pushes off of a nearby heavy palladium nucleus. The heart of the idea is that the energy is yielded in a (near-) instantaneous electromagnetic transfer with the palladium lattice site. The gamma, which takes a long time to be emitted, is competetively suppressed and the energy is translated into kinetic energy of the daughter 4He and the palladium lattice site. This happens because the electromagnetic interaction is very fast compared to gamma photon emission. The process is so fast in fact that it also competes favorably with the other dd branches, which involve the production of energetic charged particles and neutrons (a slower process). The discussion here has run with Ron's idea and modified and extended it. The extension is to all gamma-producing fusion branches, and not just d(d,ɣ)4He, and to electromagnetic interaction not only with lattice site nuclei but also with the ambient electronic structure of the metal lattice. The modification involves how the chain reaction proceeds. Whereas Ron proposes that energetic charged deuterons drive the reaction in a very specific way (see  for the full discussion), the proposal here is that all electromagnetic interactions, whether directly with the electronic structure or indirectly through disruptions resulting from the motion of fast charged particles, proceed to modify the charge density in the metal lattice such that screening or possibly a mechanism similar to that of the Polywell reactor  makes dd fusion and pd fusion orders of magnitude more likely.
The motivation for the approach of this thought experiment is twofold. The first reason this hypothetical mechanism is attractive is that it has a good phenomenological fit to the cold fusion experimental observations. A second reason is that to my knowledge it does not depart too far from conventional physics. While it is true that a few assumptions must be reexamined, our basic understanding of physical laws and interactions need not be set aside, in connection, for example, with the strong interaction, the weak interaction and Coulomb repulsion.
Now for the observations and predictions.
1. In PdD electrolytic experiments, 4He seems to be produced at or close to the surface of the cathode.
The main reason for this belief is that the 4He, which is thought to be the primary ash of PdD cold fusion, is found near the surface and less and less as towards the bulk of the palladium cathode. Because 4He is not mobile in palladium (except when there are fissures and cracks), it cannot migrate out of the cathode in the same way that deuterium can. This means that any 4He that is detected at or near the surface that is the result of a fusion process will have been produced at or near the surface. The requirement for surface or near-surface production of 4He in the PdD electrolytic system does not seem to be a hard and fast one, but there are several lines of evidence that point in that direction.
If the mechanism proposed here holds, the reason for this would be straightforward. Electrical current can be expected, through the mechanism of this thought experiment, to bring alter the charge density of the lattice site nuclei. The electron charge would then become more evenly distributed throughout the lattice and into the interstitial areas, rather than being concentrated around the lattice sites as it normally is. The cause for the change in charge density is not yet clear -- in this case it could be through interactions between migrating electrons with more tightly bound electrons. But because current flows primarily through the skin of a conductor and less and less towards the center, one would see less and less of the effect with increasing depth into the cathode.
2. In PdD electrolytic experiments, it can take a while for an effect to be seen. 3. In PdD electrolytic experiments, there seems to be a relationship between impurities and an effect. Excess heat may not be seen in a pure palladium cathode, for example, whereas it may be seen increasingly effectively in a cathode which has undergone prior electrolysis and has acquired impurities through the process of electrolysis.
It would seem that impurities play a role of some kind. One thought here is that in order for the charge density to be altered, the energy within the electronic structure must be allowed to increase. This process can be expected to be defeated if electrons are mobile throughout the cathode. If there are dielectric impurities that have the effect of isolating certain portions of the cathode into their own insulated islands, the average energy of the electronic structure within those islands can be expected to increase. In a fresh cathode, there may be few impurities and insulated islands of this type. After a long period of electrolysis, however, there may be more and more insulated islands that can retain energy in this way, facilitating the modification of the charge distribution and hence the shielding mentioned above.
4. In cold fusion experiments, one often sees strange transients in the current, in which the current increases for periods of time.
This detail was noted by Abd sometime back . One possible explanation here would be that the process being proposed has two branches -- one is the electrostatic dumping of the energy of a fusion directly into the electronic structure, and the other the creation of kinetic energy as the 4He daughter (in the case of PdD) pushes off of a lattice site. The former branch is relevant here, as it seems to be equivalent to a spark discharge into the electron cloud of around 24 MeV (or 5 MeV). If enough of these events occurred, one supposes there would be an increase in current at the macroscopic level and an apparent decrease in resistivity.
5. In cold fusion experiments, very little prompt radiation is seen.
This is an observation that Ed has steadfastly defended and that I have only reluctantly come around to after reading through some of the early papers. Now that there is a mechanism that makes sense to me that does not purely involve fast particles (such as the one proposed by Ron Maimon in ), I'm more open-minded to cold fusion products being born without kinetic energy. This backtracking on my part inverts the old saying that seeing is believing -- here we have something like, "having a believable explanation is seeing."
The lack of prompt radiation suggests that of the two different branches proposed -- one in which the decaying [dd]* or [pd]* intermediate state electrostatically dumps directly into the electronic structure, and the other in which the resulting 4He or 3He pushes off of a lattice site -- it would seem to be the first branch that is dominant. In that branch, one expects 4He and 3He to be born almost motionless, and the momentum of the reaction to be carried away primarily by the electronic structure. Here it may be the local region of the electron cloud as a whole that receives the momentum, or, alternatively, a single electron. In the former case there would be almost no Bremsstrahlung. In the latter case, which would result in a ~24 MeV or ~5 MeV electron, one would expect Bremsstrahlung.
6. Excess heat has been seen in zeolites impregnated with palladium.
Because the zeolite matrix is an electrical insulator, the energy of the electronic structure in the palladium particles embedded within it can be allowed to increase over time, altering thereby through some as-yet-discovered phenomenon the distribution of charge density. This is similar to the possible role played by impurities mentioned above in connection with (2) and (3).
7. In PdD electrolytic experiments, cracks seem to play an important role. I'm going to guess that this is straightforward and is due to hydrons being kept apart within the octahedral and tetrahedral sites in an fcc lattice even further than when they are bound in molecular form. In order for screening to play a role, one presumes that it would be better to have vacancies and cracks, where the hydrogen is mobile.
Now for some possibilities and predictions.
1. Dopants added to the substrate may have an effect on how easy or hard it is to start or sustain a reaction. Because dopants often either add to or take away electrons from the ambient electron cloud, one expects them to have some kind of effect in all of this, although the exact result would not be clear.
2. Modifications to the behavior of a system under a magnetic field can be expected. The decay of the [dd]* or [pd]* intermediate state via electrostatic transfer of energy either into the ambient electron cloud or with a lattice site is essentially an electromagnetic phenomenon. One expects, then, there to be some kind of effect when a magnetic field is applied, although the precise nature of the effect is not clear.
3. Gamma-producing branches may not be required for cold fusion. Reactions that yield fast charged particles can be also be expected to alter the electron charge density within the lattice by way of the hypothetical mechanism of this thought experiment. But it may be that gamma-producing reactions are competitively favored for reasons not yet understood. Even if this is the case, it would not be surprising if precursors within the substrate that when fused do not decay to a gamma will still fuse, via the same screening or Polywell mechanism that leads to the dd or pd fusion. In that case the resulting kinetic energy of the particles would contribute to the modification of the charge density, but you would also see the kind of Bremsstrahlung expected from fast particles.
4. Sparks, natural alpha emitters and natural beta emitters (radioactive and thermionic) can be expected to catalyze a cold fusion reaction. Fast alpha and beta particles will presumably alter the electronic structure in the manner required to get a chain reaction going and to sustain it. This suggests that Rossi's temperature-activated catalyst is a thermionic emitter, which emits beta particles when heated. One suspects there is a similar function being played by Defkalion's spark plugs. Dave and Alan, who have been modeling the thermodynamics of these systems, might want to take into account a temperature activated catalyst of some kind.
 http://physics.stackexchange.com/a/13734/6713  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell  http://email@example.com/msg67322.html
The Cold Fusion/LENR Ping List
Thanks for the ping, Kevmo....but this is almost literally all Greek to me.
Anyone care to summerize and discuss where this fellows ideas fit into the LENR field of energy?
No problem. When you have the thing that’s kinda like this except for the edges and sometimes only on Tuesdays but if the cosine of the angle of incidence.....understand so far?
That’s a musical score! Can’t quite see the melody, though.
He’s trying to explain the absence of Gamma rays and why branching ratios are so different in solid matter than in gas...
To recap, the original proposal was that in the context of a palladium lattice the gamma-producing dd fusion branch interacts electromagnetically with lattice site nuclei instead of producing a gamma photon
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.