Nuclear fusion induced by X-rays in a crystal

  • 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).