Woodpecker, proof of concept

  • I suspect the tube in your Geiger might be failing, losing vacuum... all those SBM tubes are pretty antique really, mostly manufactured in the cold war period

    Wouldn't this make it progressively lose the ability of producing pulses? Mine (manufactured in August 1985) seems to be doing fine on this regard. Looking for data around it seems that the outer cathode walls of these tubes is 50µm-thick stainless steel, by the way. Some links:

    After having put it away from the testing location for a longer period (possibly simply away from the fans) the reported signal decayed like it has done many times earlier with an apparent T1/2 of roughly 43 minutes. The base background signal in this location still seems more elevated than normal. As of writing I haven't opened the window yet by the way, in order to keep testing conditions as consistent as possible (30.5 °C, 56% humidity right now).

    I have to point out though that this is an eyeballed fit over the 6-sample data.

    It is possible that the tube (or driver circuit) is resonating with some EMF from the cell and driving the tube voltage higher, so it becomes more sensitive?

    I know Alan showed that the counter is pretty stable under EM noise, but that may not have been the ideal embodiment.

    However the extra counts should go away immediately when the cell is turned off if the above happened, unless the tube can somehow hold an extra charge for a long time (unlikely).

    It could have to do with the air flow over the exposed GM tube. In an earlier test I turned off the PSU completely, which turned off the fans, and the signal decayed similarly to what it has done this time. After the signal decay test I'll try putting the cell away in a different room, clean the desk here from potentially radioactive dust and see if just having a flow of air more directly on the counter produces a similar signal.

    * * *

    EDIT: cleaned desk, removed cell and restored Geiger counter to its previous location. Afterwards I added the fans back.

    03:03 min, 113.11 CPM average.

    The background signal is still elevated. For context, in the days prior to these tests it has been about 75 CPM all along.

    Edited once, last by can ().

  • The background signal is still elevated. For context, in the days prior to these tests it has been about 75 CPM all along.

    Background still elevated .... but I get the impression from the time record that there is a slow declining phase that might take the signal back down to 75CPM if allowed to play out over 2 days or so.

  • Bruce__H

    It could also have to do with the ventilation as I previously mentioned. Today I left the testing room's window and door open longer and wider and increased the speed of an ambient fan to the maximum before turning on the air conditioning in the floor as usual at about the same hour (09:00 UTC) after closing all windows, and it did manage to eventually decrease to about 75 CPM. No testing was performed at all today (unlike other days as I've done for about a week so far) and the cell was placed two rooms away with a cap on top to mitigate evaporation.

    Timestamps on the first graph:

    • 2019-07-09 05:47:30,"Removed cell from PSU"
    • 2019-07-09 06:04:00,"Returned Geiger counter to its original location"
    • 2019-07-09 09:00:00,"Closed all windows on the floor and turned on air conditioning in the corridor"
    • 2019-07-09 11:05:00,"Closed the door of the testing room"
    • 2019-08-09 13:30:00,"Opened the door of the testing room"

    I've made a timelapse video:

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  • Personally I see the "detailed description" in paragraphs 0021-0033 in this patent application as fitting for Woodpecker-like devices:


    Good answer!

    Ahern is claiming that lattice vibrations in metallic nanoparticles ( size ~ 10 nm) can drive adsorbed protons together with enough force to fuse them. I am interested in whether or not this mechanism is realistic given the energy and size scales at play in the woodpecker. There are a number of considerations

    1) In the penultimate step (i.e., just before fusion), Wyttenbach has suggested earlier on this thread that a particular energy range needs to be achieved. I would have thought that the nanoparticle lattice will fly apart before this level is reached. Is there a way to calculate oscillation modes and their energies in a nanoparticle to determine this? Ahern claims that there is a tetrahertz resonance mode in the nanoparticles. What energy level would this correspond to?

    2) In the beginning steps of the woodpecker mechanism, an electric field that you ( can) estimate to be on the order of 2 MV/m is concentrated by having to flow through the ~10 nm particles. How much would this concentrate the field and how does the concentrated field compare in scale to the sorts of energies Wyttenbach suggests is needed as a lower limit for fusion events?

    As I mentioned previously, the fields needed for interesting effects seem to me to be many orders of magnitude larger than the starting point. I think that a lot of amplification is needed and I wonder if anyone has a handle on how much. Maybe Ahern or someone else has done the calculations ... I don't know. But they seem doable to me.

  • Bruce__H

    I think the general idea is that when energetic discharges transiently flow through a cloud of small particles (at least partially turning them into a plasma), a large number of short-circuit/separation events can occur. Locally the di/dt may give rise to enormous electric fields, boosting what was initially provided on a larger scale.

    Whether things will occur according to Ahern's or others' theories is a different matter, but that was only a possible example of special or unusual conditions that could be created in this and [somewhat] similar experiments such as Ahern's.

  • Earlier I put the Geiger counter into a plastic bag and tried to seal the openings with tape. Then I tried applying a relatively thick folded Al sheet on the area around the Geiger tube. After a while I removed the Al sheet.

    The changes observed are interesting. It appears that the sheet caused the reported Geiger counts to increase at a faster rate. Removing it restored them immediately (see the orange rolling mean line) to the previous trend and level.


    2019-07-09 16:40:00,-1,"Put Geiger counter into plastic bag"
    2019-07-09 23:08:00,-1,"Put Al shield over Geiger tube"
    2019-07-10 00:52:35,-1,"Removed Al shield from Geiger tube"

    * * *

    EDIT #1: perhaps there is radioactive dust accumulation that can be removed? At 01:38 UTC I swiped the general Geiger counter area (below, besides, the painted steel panel on the back, etc) and plastic bag with a lightly used electrostatic cloth. No major change happened in the data.


    Edited once, last by can ().

  • Bruce__H

    The cell is still two rooms away with the anode immersed and a plastic cap on the top opening.

    Alan Smith

    Fundamentally I don't think there is something wrong with this GM tube. It increasingly looks like it could be due to Radon progeny decay from accumulated particulate on parts close to the tube due to the air flow. The signal is consistent with changes in the house from human activity. Conditions that make it stronger:

    • Windows and door closed in the room
    • Air conditioning in the floor turned on and all windows in the floor closed
    • Fans allowed to draw air more directly from the thick bearing wall in front of it
    • Presence of an area close to the Geiger tube where dust from the air flow can accumulate

    Opening all windows on the floor and increasing general ventilation causes the signal to slowly attenuate until it returns back to the normal background, but turning off the fans blowing air on the Geiger counter makes it almost immediately start decaying.

    This website has a couple interesting graphs showing the decay from a typical balloon test as previously suggested by Robert Horst. They note an initially long T1/2 time of around 3000 seconds, similar to what I have recorded:


    They justify it with this:


    [...] To help decipher the curiously long half-life observed, the experiment was repeated and the balloon was placed in a NaI scintillation spectrometer. Five very strong gamma peaks were observed. Two of them were identified as gammas associated with Pb-214 (353 keV) and Bi-214 (609 keV) decay, both daughters of radon. On the other hand, a strong 239 keV peak was most likely due to the presence of Pb-212, a daughter of thoron. Pb-212 decays into Bi-212 by β emission (0.346 MeV) and has a half-life of 10.6 hr (details are given in the Thoron Decay demonstration below). Apparently, even though thoron has a half-life of only 56 seconds, enough is getting out of the ground so that its progeny is also collected by the balloon. One further note, the 727 keV gamma associated with the decay of Bi-212 (half-life = 60.6 min) was not observed. Only 7% of the decays give off this gamma and consequently its signature was too weak to appear in the background.

  • If radioactive dust is being collected on area close to the Geiger counter, then electrically charged surfaces should work better for this, following the balloon experiment previously suggested and linked.

    So, today I tried reversing Geiger tube polarity. Normally the outer case (cathode) is at ground potential, while the anode is a coaxially mounted inside of it, which should be normally held at about 450-500V (I cannot measure this properly with my multimeter as a high impedance probe is required). With the polarity reversed the entire outer steel casing rests at that voltage. In this mode of operation counting efficiency decreases, but perhaps a correction factor could be applied to make up for that.

    From a short test made about 12 hours ago after all windows were closed this didn't seem to yield quick changes, so I waited until the apparent rate of increase and base level became sufficiently high to repeat the same test.

    There's roughly a 2.5x ratio in the reported count rate between both polarities. This relationship seems to have held on both occasions. By applying such correction factor, it looks like with a positively charged outer Geiger tube case the rise is indeed faster and therefore that it might be able to more efficiently collect radon progeny particulate or radioactive dust in general.

    Perhaps it could work even better for this with a higher voltage and a larger tube.

  • The rise in Geiger counts even with the inverted tube polarity maxed out over the past hours. So I turned the power supply off, turning off the fans, and as expected the high signal started decaying in the usual semi-exponential fashion. The second vertical dashed line denotes when I opened all windows and doors on the floor. Today it's a cooler and drier day than it's been recently.

    This last graph with 2.5x correction to compensate for the lower efficiency with the inverted GM tube polarity shows that the decay progressed exactly the same as in past instances:

    In summary:

    • This seems to be due to radioactive particulate in the environment
    • The initial T1/2 appears to be 45-50 minutes, but the decay is not perfectly exponential
    • Only gamma spectroscopy will be able to tell the true nature of this signal
      • In absence of that it would be safe to say this could be due to Radon (Rn-222) and Thoron (Rn-220) progeny
    • Curiously, the day when I got the highest readings (2019-07-09) was when I performed a few runs with the cell also in the early night

    * * *

    EDIT: I started a test which unfortunately will postpone a request of running a filter in front of one of the fans and checking out its radioactivity after a period of time.

    I connected an aluminium foil placed beneath and in front of the Geiger tube to the +500V anode, so that now the entire foil is electrically charged. At the same time I restored the original GM tube polarity. If all goes well this should increase the counter's ability of showing a higher signal from radioactive particulate accumulated from the continuous air flow, at least once the room will be sealed from the external environment again.

    Edited 2 times, last by can ().

  • This has been really interesting.

    It’s also kind of ironic that high static may be linked to LENR in some ways and perhaps plays a role at producing particles that may decay or activate it may also result in collecting Radon Daughters collecting on the equipment some how.

    Which ever it is it’s good this process is being done and people like Can are looking and checking.

    Although Radon looks like a likely cause in such cases I get the impression we are curious if this or other potential sources are the cause. I wish Can could get hold of a spectrometer but if not I wonder if there is a way to verify this with out a spectrometer.

    Would putting the equipment inside a grounded or insulated help?

  • StephenC

    For the most part this appears to involve an air flow over electrostatically charged surfaces, which start acting as air ionizers and attract dust particles from the environment. The air flow does not even need to be active: it can also be passive like from the heat of the tested device, which is likely what I initially saw before using the computer fans. I guess one could easily get fooled into thinking that the experiment at high temperature is actually producing (directly or indirectly) gamma emissions. Higher voltages will also increase the effect.

    Oddly, however, earlier I tried putting the Geiger counter in a plastic bag but I still observed a similar effect. I wonder if the bag itself was getting charged. I think this could be tested by other experimenters with suitable equipment as well. It's probably not necessary to be in a high-radon area.

    By the way, connecting the Geiger counter's HV to a somewhat crumpled thick aluminium foil apparently worked in producing a higher signal, in fact I observed the highest so far with it. The decay curve still has the characteristics of those observed so far, including a kind of "kink" about halfway, which probably indicates that the observed curve is the combination of more than one decay curve. Since the starting signal this time was larger, it's clearer here.

  • Alan Smith

    To clarify, the above signal was obtained just by providing an air flow over the Geiger counter sitting close to an Al foil connected to its HV anode, while the room and window were closed. The signal started decaying after I turned off the fans and opened the room to the external environment again. The Woodpecker-analogue device is still in a different room several walls and meters away, left untouched since it was put there days ago.

  • Just to clarify was the woodpecker previously operated in the room where the Gieger is currently being measured?

    Or was that also in a different room?


    It would be interesting to check with another unused Geiger in the same location to check if active agents or some other effect on the Geiger itself are stimulated by the static or something. if Radon then both should be affected.

    Also maybe to check with the same tests in a different location in the near locality but distant from the current air flow. I suppose Radon progeny should be similar in both locations... but if something else is the cause such as other nano particles or activated constructs then it might be just local to the original test environment.

  • StephenC

    Yes, the Woodpecker previously operated in the same room where Geiger measurements have been occurring so far. It might be speculated that the radioactive dust the Geiger counter is presumably picking is actually dense hydrogen/water clusters that evaporated during those experiments, but the only way to know would be measuring the gamma spectrum in loco. I don't think the electrodes would give off anything, were I to send them to Alan Smith.

  • Yes, the Woodpecker previously operated in the same room where Geiger measurements have been occurring so far.

    Bring the geiger to clean place - outside and if you believe the plastic bag is an issue the just change it.

    Radon usually flows to the cellar if it's possible or leaks out of a brick/stone wall. If your dust is a problem just check the vacuum cleaner after you did run it fore some time.

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