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June 11, 2010

Cold Fusion and Blacklight Power Explained as Stripping Reaction from Nickel Isotope

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There is new theory for explaining one category of LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions - what was called cold fusion.) results involving nickel as the active host; and in particular the Arata-Zhang results and numerous replications.

Nickel-64 can be purchased at 95% enrichment for about $100,000 for 5 grams. The ratio of isotopes is not controversial. Can these reactions be catalyzed ? Is that what is happening with many LENR and Blacklight Power experiments ?

I say yes, but experiments can be done to confirm or falsify this theory.

This theory has been updated by Jones Beene (H/T to Froarty in the comments)
An earlier version of the theory focused on Halo Nuclei but now it does not.
The O-P effect would give 59Ni as the activated nucleus - but this has a very long half-lie - thousands of years so that does not help us very much. However, with 64Ni you get 65Ni as the activated nucleus and it has a 2.5 hr half life and decays to copper. This is the range half-life that can explain "heat after death" and also the delay in heat buildup over time.

The Oppenheimer-Phillips process, or deuteron stripping reaction, is a type of deuteron-induced nuclear reaction which depends on charge shielding. In this process, the neutron component of an energetic deuteron fuses with a target nucleus, transmuting the target to a heavier isotope while ejecting a proton. An example is the nuclear transmutation of carbon-12 to carbon-13.

Let us make the clear distinction that this is a fusion reaction, followed by beta day of the heavier nucleus. The fusion is between deuterium and nickel. The ash is a proton, and eventually a beta particle and a transmuted element (to copper). The mechanics of interaction allow a nuclear fusion interaction to take place at much lower energies than would be expected from a calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus.

This is because as the deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the "proton-end" faces away from the target and the "neutron-end" faces towards the target. The deuteron must be accelerated of course, but the rate of acceleration, being a function of time, is expected to be influenced by time distortion within a Casimir cavity. In this hypothesis, the Casimir cavity of 2-10 nm is required. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the approaching neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and the trailing proton. That proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus. This is one indication of the reaction - hydrogen in place of deuterium - which will poison the reaction unless removed.
Copper 65 is the stable atom that results.

Nickel is about 1% Nickel 64 (although this can vary quite a bit. It is higher from certain meteorite sources.)

The energy release occurs mostly by de-excitation through γ emission of the intermediate excited Ni* compound nucleus. The characteristics of this γ emission (depending upon the levels of the excited nucleus), are very well known. This represents (on average) some 8 MeV (balance after deduction of the energy required for the "virtual neutron" formation, i.e 0,782 Mev). The remaining comes from the decay of the ground states of the radioactive intermediate species formed (59Ni, 63Ni, and 65Ni).
1% of 67 keV8 MeV is 80 keV per Nickel Atom and 1.3 keV per neutron or proton. Thus these reactions would have one thousand times the energy density of hydrogen chemical reactions.

Halo Nucleus at wikipedia.

In nuclear physics a stripping reaction is a nuclear reaction in which part of the incident nucleus combines with the target nucleus, and the remainder proceeds with most of its original momentum in almost its original direction.

Deuteron (proton and neutron) stripping reactions acting on nickel isotopes could also be part of what is happening.

Deuteron stripping example at Britannica

Robert Oppenheimer and Melba Philips in Phys rev. 1935 published the concept of deuteron stripping reactions and it is also called the Oppenheimer-Phillips process.

The Oppenheimer-Phillips process allows a nuclear interaction to take place at lower energies than would be expected from a simple calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus. This is because as the deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the "proton-end" faces away from the target and the "neutron-end" faces towards the target. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and a proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus




Proposed Experiment and Deuterium Fusion as Secondary Reaction

If a side by side experiment involving nickel cathodes - one of which is enriched in Ni-64 and the other is normal or depleted - show a significant variation in energy release favoring heavy nickel, then that is a prima facie case for the hypothesis that LENR part of the energy release is a result of non-fusion beta decay. Another test would be to look for copper as the transmutation product.

Once again, although this sounds suspiciously like Widom-Larsen theory it is far removed from what they are claiming, and in fact the beta decay itself would be the driver for real deuterium fusion as a secondary step in LENR.

This would be a two step process, where indeed the main energy comes from deuterium fusion, but the "driver" for that fusion is in situ beta decay. BTW the effective mass of the beta particle (fast electron) could be in the range of a muon on occasion due to the velocity - and it could well turn out that this the type of reaction is actually based on "(substitute) muon catalyzed deuterium fusion."

Further Reading

A 33 page powerpoint on Halo Nuclei.

Ten page pdf on Halo Nuclei

Exotic Nuclei webpage at Scottish University

Nickel Isotope Ratios in Meteorites Ni-64 in meteorites http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2010/pdf/1773.pdf
http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~dauphas/OLwebsite/PDFfiles/Cooketal_MAPS07.pdf
Nickel Isotope ratios from a 1967 study


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