Nuclear fusion induced by X-rays in a crystal

  • New Arxiv preprint ---

    Nuclear fusion induced by X-rays in a crystal --

    ABSTRACT: The nuclei that constitute a crystalline lattice, oscillate relative to each other with
    a very low energy that is not sufficient to penetrate through the Coulomb barriers separating
    them. An additional energy, which is needed to tunnel through the barrier and fuse, can be
    supplied by external electromagnetic waves (X-rays or the synchrotron radiation).
    Exposing to the X-rays the solid compound LiD (lithium-deuteride) for the duration of 111 hours,
    we have detected 88 events of the nuclear fusion d + 6Li → 8Be∗. Our theoretical estimate
    agrees with what we observed. One of possible applications of the phenomenon we found,
    could be the measurements of the rates of various nuclear reactions (not necessarily fusion) at
    extremely low energies inaccessible in accelerator experiments.

  • Well it is a nicely written paper with experimental results much better analysed than is typical for LENR. This is not LENR, since 100kev gammas are hardly low energy!

    What I like is the nice quantitative theoretical analysis with approximations noted, and the quantitative experiment where theory and experiment can be compared. I'd be happier with a control to make sure that the CR-39 high energy tracks were not actually generated by the x-rays, but since this result is sort of expected there is no particular reason to think they've got this wrong.

    Compare this with the various LENR speculations about getting fusion in lattices from em radiation!


  • It would be interesting to see the experiment repeated with
    - various types of crystal defects to create energy foci
    - lower frequency stimuli, e.g., superposition of differing wavelength optical
    lasers with a strong "beat" frequencies to create short-lived "superoscillations"
    - simulatious application of a strong d.c. (or low frequency) electric or magnetic field

  • Very interesting article. The details about Columbia resin etching are very useful also.
    I remember that Dr. Miller was attending an RCCNT-BL meeting at Dagomys. This paper is a proof that it is possible to convert EM wave energy (X-rays, in this paper) into excitation of the nuclei, leading to fusion. (upgrading of Karabut)
    The invert process is also possible, according to Dr. Hagelstein.

    It is interesting to note that one fusion event produce 24 MeV.
    To promote one fusion , we only need around 5 keV.
    If these 24 MeV are converted into lower energy quanta, it will be possible to promote a lot of subsequent new fusion events.

  • It is not exactly broadband spectrum. The YXLON x-ray tube Y.TU225-D02 is mainly used for non-destructive control in industry. With 225 kV and a spot of 1.0 x 5.5 mm, the metal of the target is probably tungsten. So the main wavelenght is the K line at 59 keV. (I don't know the shielding metal).

    I like this experiment because it is very simple. Of course, I suppose that they had made a control experiment. Polonium contamination of the LiD is not impossible, if the sample came from decommissioned weapons, with an old-timer style neutron generator for the primary stage. (Radium lead to radon, and this gas diffuse and gives polonium. (The radon dissolve itself in hydrophobic material like oils, and also dissolves in ...the silicon of the O-rings...) The LiD is not hydrophobic, but it could probably absorb radon.

    I agree with Lou : It will be very interesting to reproduce the experiment in a synchroton X-ray source facility like « Soleil », with a scanning in energy, and -of course- a powerful cooling of the LiD target. Despite this cooling, it will be a strong atomic hydrogen production, leading to a change of the properties of the polycarbonate, but it don't mind.

    Regarding the discrete breathers, they are useful in our field by their counterpart, which I call the « Freezers » : a place of a cristal where the average energy of the atoms is well under the average energy.

  • That statement was written in the paper just to get it published. As you know, for the last 26 years (since the 1989 scandal) any paper, even remotely related to cold fusion, was immediately rejected by all serious journals.
    What actually was observed: 88 events (22 MeV each) in 0.61 gramm of LiD crystal during 100 hours. As it is written in the paper, not all events were registered: only about 40% of events that occur in the immediate vicinity of the detectors. But for energy production, we do not need to register events. They would release the energy regardless our ability to register them.
    So, if we take 1 kilogram of LiD ( the same X-ray source can cover such a sample), the number of Li-D pairs will be 1000 times greater (the number of events will also be three orders of magnitude greater). Further, we can take pure Li6-D compound (with 100% of Li6 isotope). This will give another factor 100 (two orders of magnitude). One more thing: the penetration through the Coulomb barrier increases exponentially with the energy. In the experiment described in the paper, the maximal energy of the x-rays was 100 keV. What if we take 150 keV? Perhaps we can get a five-order of magnitude factor?
    In total, we can increase the energy release by ten orders of magnitude. This means that more research is needed.

  • Rakitsa wrote "In total, we can increase the energy release by ten orders of magnitude. This means that more research is needed."

    Which is why the statement to the contrary

    ""Apparently, the fusion rate turned out to be too low for any possible applications of this process in energy production."

    was necessary to get the paper through peer review.

    Much of peer review is about preserving funding for unsurprising status-quo - research.

    Despite such peer review lenr research of the last 25 years has now reached critical mass.

  • The barrier is not 100 keV, it is around 1 MeV, but it is sufficient to have 10-100 keV to tunnel through this barrier. For example, the energy of protons inside the sun (and other stars) is only 1.3 keV (which corresponds to 15 million degrees of temperature), but this is enough for the sun to shine.
    I would suggest another approach to the theory of LENR in Palladium: similarly to the paper on x-ray induced fusion, the deuterons in Palladium are excited by the electrons that carry the current through the crystal.

  • If the phenomenon is real, and related to discrete breathers/superoscillations,
    then it might be very dependent on the spectrum of the EM-excitations.
    Perhaps, nuclear resonances (or nonlinear induced high harmonics) will be sensitive
    to excitation spectrum. Possibly, certain superposed frequencies cause transient
    (effective) high energy components in the nuclear momenta, even though the
    nuclei are nearly stationary.

  • I suggest you to read the paper. The idea is very simple: a nucleus in a crystal is in a potential well, where there are energy levels. When exposed to external electro-magnetic wave, nucleus jumps to a higher level from which it is easier to penetrate through the barrier (because it is thinner there). In simple words: the electromagnetic wave forces the nuclei oscillate around their equilibrium positions, and the acquired kinetic energy helps them to tunnel through the barrier. No non-linear effects, no breathers etc. We should not introduce complications when it is not necessary.

  • Rakitsa,

    First, thanks for your answer. In case some of the readers haven't noticed, you
    are one of the paper's authors.

    If it sounded like I was questioning your theory, that was not intended.
    What I am wondering is whether the effect would change (possibly significantly)
    if the excitation spectrum is changed?

    My curiosity is due to some early results where multi-laser, and superoscillatory
    (Energetics's "Superwave") signals were reported to be effective. Also the recent paper --
    "Effect of nuclear motion on spectral broadening of high-order harmonic generation"…ract.cfm?uri=oe-24-8-8194
    appears to show that short laser pulses can generate nuclear high harmonics.

    I would be very interested if you think this is at all plausible.

  • To Lou Pagnucco:
    Definitely, the effect will increase exponentially with the energy. This is because the barrier penetration exponentially increases. It is enough to look at Fig.8 of the paper to see that at higher excitations the barrier becoms much thinner. As to the paper which you cited, I just quickly looked at it (without going to all the details) and see that it has nothing to do with crystals. It is about a gas. In a gas, molecules behave individually and when interacted with photons, they get recoil (which is not the case for a crystal). As a result of the recoil the spectrum of the photons is broadening. In a crystal, momentum conservation can be ignored because whole crystal can compensate any change in momentum. One example is the Mosbauer effect, where nuclei absorb photons without recoil.

  • Rakitsa said "It is enough to look at Fig.8 of the paper to see that at higher excitations .."
    It does look like that.

    Equation 16 = 14.2 MEV... What would the calculation be for higher T like 973?

    Of course this method would not be able to test at that T.. but is great at room T for a range of hydrides, deuterides

  • To Robert:
    Sorry, one remark; in Eq.(16) the units are meV (milli-electron-volts) - not MeV. You can easily calculate yourself the average deuteron energy for any temperature T, using Eqs.(16,15,9). Of course, this is under the assumption that the system is in thermodynamical equilibrium (no x-rays) and is described by the Boltzmann distribution.

  • Thanks for your advice. I calculated at 873 degrees K that for deuterium the average energy level for deuterons is higher than 14 meV but still only about 300 meV.
    The staircase of small steps give a method by which terahertz radiation can contribute to giving the deuteron 100 keV.
    The lower step changes are definitely in the Terahertz range.

    However the higher last step changes of 15 eV for De and 9 eV for Li are definitely in the uv range.

    Is it possible that a spectrum of uv laser light(80 nm to 140nm) would give similar results to these xrays?

  • To Robert:
    In principle, by absorbing many "small" quanta of radiation the deuteron can climb up the ladder of the levels. However, to give a definite answer, one needs to solve the master equation with a given spectrum of uv radiation. The radiation causes not only moving up the ladder, but also jumping down (like in lasers). There are therefore competing processes (up and down) caused by external radiation. Moreover, there are spontaneous jumps down. This means that without calculations it is difficult to say something.

  • Prof. Rakityansky,

    I have not closely looked at the Mossbauer effect in many years, so
    these questions might be naïve. However, I would appreciate any
    answer or opinion ---

    Would introduction of crystal defects, or additional impurities, or
    changing crystalline dimensions change the recoil-free fraction of
    the x-rays? Or, possibly increase the fusion rate?

  • As I understand, the number of any defects in a crystal is always much less than the number of correct cells. This means that they cannot significantly change the "bulk" reaction rate. In our experiment, by the way, not all lithium atoms were Li6 isotopes and not all hydrogen atoms were deuterons. In the estimate, we only took into account the pairs D-Li6. The same, I suppose, should be done when deffects are present. Of course, you can imagine a defect which increases the reaction. For example, an interstitial atom (displaced from its regular position) can be at a shorter distance from a neighbouring atom. The shorter is the distance, the easier the barrier can be tunneled through.

  • Prof. Rakityansky,

    First, thanks for posting your paper.

    Second, a question for you (hopefully it is well-posed) that I would be
    interested in knowing your answer to, or even a opinion, or conjecture ---

    Is it at all plausible that the fusion rate could be enhanced by modifying
    crystalline dimensions, modifying excitation em-frequency spectrum, or
    by including atoms of different masses via Fermi-Ulam acceleration?

    -i.e., similar to the phenomena cited in --
    "Localized breathing modes in granular crystals with defects"
    "Hyperacceleration in a stochastic Fermi-Ulam model"

  • Dear Lou,
    First of all I should say that what we observed (88 fusion events during 100 hours) was just a small part of the total events occuring in the sample. Our main task was to find out if the fusion indeed happens as a result of x-ray irradiation. We got a positive answer. As it is explained in the paper, we could only register those events that took place within a very thin layers of LiD, that were in contact with our detectors. The total mass of LiD, from which we register the fusion events (even not all the events but only 40% of them) was 0.61g. When you want to produce energy, you do not care if you can or cannot register the events: you just measure total energy release. If 88 events constitute 40%, the the total number of events in 0.61g is 220 (each releses 22 MeV of energy). Now, let us take 1kg of LiD. This is roughly 2000 times greater than 0.61g. And the number of events will be three orders of magnitude greater. This sample (1kg) can be irradiated with the same x-ray source with the same energy expense. We used LiD with only about 8% of Li6 isotope. What if we take pure Li6-D substance? Number of Li6-D pairs will be 10 times greater. This means that the number of fusion events will be 10 times greater (another order of magnitude). Now, let us use x-ray source with maximum energy of photons not 100keV (as was in our experiment) but 150keV. The Coulomb barrier penetration probability is growing exponentially with the energy. So, as a result of going from 100keV to 150keV, we can get several orders of magnitude increase in the reaction rate. In total, we can increase the number of events about 10^{10} (ten orders of magnitude). I think, this is a significant increase. Of course this is just intuitive reasoning. More accurate calculations are needed and more experiments.
    My principles of scientific approach dictate that everything should be done step by step. Firstly, we should establish fo sure that x-rays can indeed induce the fusion. I expect and hope that somebody in the world will replicate our experiment and give an independent confirmation. After that we can move on. I do not want to jump to masuring excess heat before the physical mechanism is established with 100% surety.
    My other principle is that you should always try to find an explanation to a phenomenon within existing and well established theories. Dark matter, black holes, small-size atoms (or compressed atoms), and other things like that MUST be avoided when you try to explain simple observations (first of all you must be 100% sure that a phenomenon really exists).
    As to the phonon waves (oscillations of the lattice) in a crystal like Fermi-Ulam ones, I have no idea. People working in one of the nuclear research institutions in Moscow, told me that they observed many times flushes of neutrons coming from a crystal (I do not remember its chemical composition) when they cracked that crystal with a simple hammer. When you force the atoms in a lattice to move, you can achieve acceleration of the nuclei because there are very complicated electric forces there. The problem is that the effect of hammering a crystal if unpredictable and uncontrollable. The Fermi-Ulam model has an easily visulable analogy: a child is on a swing and you push it in resonance (exactly when the swing stops at the maximal displacement); you can easily encrease the amplitude of the swing oscillations.
    In this or that way, you always try to excite the oscillations of the atoms in the crystalline lattice to higher levels, from which they can easily tunnel through a Coulomb barrier. In our experiment, we used x-rays to excite the oscillations. I think, with the same success one could use electric current flowing through a crystal, or some mechanical waves.... But to make a reasonable statement, one has to perform proper calculations. Intuition and hand-waving are not sufficient.
    Sorry for a lengthy answer!

  • perhaps an extended in-situ study using synchchroton radiation as in the following paper could be used to "guide the parameters" into a higher rate of production:

    Saito, Hiroyuki, et al. "Syntheses of novel metal hydrides under high pressure and high pressure with aid of in-situ synchrotron radiation x-ray diffraction measurement." (2014).