When you read cold fusion theories you hear a lot about collective effects, ways that atoms in a solid work together to do things individual atoms cannot. One iron atom cannot be a permanent magnet, but a trillion of them together can be.
In high school chemistry and 1st-semester quantum mechanics we all learn that “1s” is the ground state of a hydrogen atom. Wake up sheeple! A few brave souls have argued that hydrogen has a lower-energy state than 1s. According to some, it’s a whopping 500keV lower! These alleged lower-energy states are called “deep Dirac levels” or “hydrino” states.
My assessment? The ground state is 1s. The textbooks are correct. Boring but true.
This post, like the previous two posts, has nothing to teach us about cold fusion, except that this is a dead-end to avoid. But it’s still an interesting story about what can go wrong when solving differential equations.
Randell L. Mills is the founder of Brilliant Light Power (previously called BlackLight Power), a company trying to generate useful energy by catalyzing transitions of hydrogen into the “hydrino state”, i.e. an alleged state of hydrogen with a lower energy than the 1s state. The existence of this state is justified by Mills early on in his 1800-page tome, The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics. The book throws out quantum mechanics on the first page, and proceeds to purportedly derive all of physics and chemistry from a classical foundation. TL;DR – everything in the book is nonsense as far as I see. I’m sure this is glaringly obvious to physicist readers but I have written this post anyway for the benefit of non-scientists.
(There have been other arguments by other people besides Mills that a “hydrino state” exists. These arguments are also wrong but for more interesting and substantive reasons. I will address them in a separate post.)
Let’s just be clear: It’s not impossible to do world-beating invention and technological development despite having a terrible understanding of how the technology works microscopically. Just look at the pharmaceutical industry.
OK now that that’s out of the way: There’s a company from Berkeley, California called Brillouin Energy. Its CTO and founder, Robert Godes, has posted a theory of cold fusion he calls the Controlled Electron Capture Reaction Model. And it’s just terrible.
If there is a microscopic theory of cold fusion, I don’t think that this paper offers even a sliver of insight into it. Honestly, you probably have better things to do than to read this blog post.
Most of my blog posts are spent criticizing other people’s attempts to explain cold fusion, but this one is actually constructive! Yes, my own (sketchy, partial, proto-) theory of cold fusion! Or maybe just wishful thinking? Regardless, read on and at least I think you’ll learn something new about X-ray physics if nothing else.
Hi again, sorry for the long break since the last post, life has been busy. :-)
I came across this recent article which allegedly describes notes by “Louis F. DeChiaro, Ph.D, a physicist with the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Dahlgren Warfare Center”. (I say “allegedly” because the article is a third-hand account. It’s not Dr. DeChiaro’s own pen.) As usual for this blog, we skip over the fascinating experimental findings, and instead go straight to the discussion of microscopic mechanism. Here’s the relevant part: Continue reading
I’ve mentioned before (here and here) one of the main challenges of explaining cold fusion. In conventional nuclear fusion, nuclear energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of a few (usually 2 or 3) very-fast-moving particles. But if cold fusion is a real thing, then the nuclear energy would seem to be transformed into something else. The reason we know this is, very-fast-moving particles create radiation (I mean neutrons, gamma-rays, etc.), and people have looked for it and found that there is very little of it (see here). For example, some people have been doing cold fusion experiments for many years, without dying of radiation poisoning. Well, I mean, I’m not an expert, but they don’t look dead. So, this is the mystery of the missing radiation. The mystery has been approached in sensible ways and in nonsense ways, and in this post I’ll give some examples of both. Edmund Storms’s “hydroton theory” will be my nonsense example.
In this earlier post, I introduced Yeong E. Kim’s Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) theory of cold fusion. According to this theory, when you pack lots of deuterons into palladium, they condense into a BEC, which makes nuclear fusion possible, and then the fusion energy is collectively absorbed by the BEC, thus explaining all the mysteries of cold fusion. In my earlier post I said that the two biggest problems with the theory are: (A) The deuterons do not actually condense into a BEC; and (B) Even if they did, it would not help explain cold fusion. I already blogged about (B) here. Today I will talk about (A). I have changed my mind: Although I suspect that deuterons would not condense into a BEC, I don’t know enough to say for sure! :-P
In this post I’ll mainly just summarize Kim’s argument. If anyone reading this is a BEC expert, please comment (or better yet write a guest post, just email me) with your opinion!
For those who haven’t been following along, cold fusion is a set of disputed experiments, in which there is (allegedly) indirect evidence that nuclear fusion is occurring, under circumstances where it seems impossible for nuclear fusion to occur. One problem: Everyone knows that when nuclear fusion releases energy, the energy usually winds up as the kinetic energy of fast-moving particles, but such particles are not seen in cold fusion experiments; the only energy that anyone sees is heat energy. This leads us to the lossy spin-boson model of cold fusion, which says that the fusion energy gets directly transferred into creating a billion phonons in a single phonon mode. It seems crazy, but the authors (MIT Professor Peter Hagelstein and collaborators) have produced intricate arguments in favor, which I have been gradually working my way through over many blog posts.
Anyway, here is another post on some details of the theory: Why cooperative effects over large volumes are not really helpful for making this reaction more likely to start.