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364) Polyneutrons again

Ludwik Kowalski (May 14, 2009)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, 07043



1) There was an interesting discussion about meaning of the term fusion, the Internet list for CMNS researcher. Responding to what someone wrote, John Fisher posted the following message.

“There has been recent discussion of whether the term "fusion" appropriately applies to LENR processes. There has also been related discussion regarding the Widom-Larsen theory.

For those who maintain an open and objective mind I suggest that you not dismiss polyneutron theory. This theory accounts for the LENR phenomena by a combination of isotope changes, beta emission, and alpha emission. Fusion of charged particles is not required, and nothing is contrary to what is known of nuclear physics.

Although it is widely believed that polyneutrons cannot exist there is no fundamental reason for this belief. The physics of nucleon clusters has so far been applied only to charged clusters (atomic nuclei) using phenomenological particle interaction strengths selected to fit the available data. There is no reason to believe that the binding energy of neutron clusters can be computed using neutron-neutron interaction strengths that were selected to accommodate interactions between neutrons and protons. Experimentally the existence of bound polyneutrons is an open question, one that for me is tentatively answered in the affirmative because of the existence of LENR reactions, which are the only experiments so far capable of providing relevant evidence.

As one example of a polyneutron reaction we have isotopic change of deuterium 2H into hydrogen 1H

2H + An --> 1H + (A+1)n

where An is a cluster of A neutrons (a polyneutron). In a chain of such reactions we can continue

2H + (A+1)n --> 1H + (A+2)n
2H + (A+2)n --> 1H + (A+3)n
2H + (A+3)n --> 1H + (A+4)n.

Then we can have beta decay of the polyneutron in the reaction

(A+4)n --> (A+4)H

where (A+4)H stands for a cluster in which a neutron has changed into a proton, but the nuclear symmetry of the cluster has not changed and the nuclear portion of its energy has not changed. (The energy liberated is the same as that liberated in 1n --> 1H.) In a second beta decay we have

(A+4)H --> (A+4)He.

Now alpha decay becomes possible,

 (A+4)He --> 4He + An.

Overall these reactions lead to

4(2H) --> 4(1H) + 4He.

in which helium is produced from deuterium and where the polyneutron plays the role of a catalyst. (The initial polyneutron is restored in the overall reaction). Of course there will be many other reactions in any LENR experiment, including isotopic changes and transmutations of Pd and other elements present. Still, overall, polyneutrons play the role of catalysts, and there are none left over at the end of an experiment. Because only isotope shifts, beta decays, and alpha decays are involved I would not personally call this helium production process fusion.

The question of an initial polyneutron can be answered in terms of a naturally occurring long-lived precursor from which polyneutrons can be liberated by radioactive decay or by cosmic rays. (Such precursors are expected from the theory but are not discussed here.) In this view F&P were lucky to have assembled a system that could support a polyneutron chain reaction, and were lucky that a cosmic ray released a polyneutron in it. We can understand why their experiment cannot be reliably reproduced, as it depends on a random event to initiate reaction. (In a laboratory where reaction has once been achieved, subsequent reactions are more easily ignited by precursors produced in previous reactions and present as contaminants in the laboratory environment.)

Overall, polyneutron theory has potential for accounting for excess energy, for transmutations, and for energetic particles. Energetic charged particles may offer the best hope of revealing the microscopic processes involved, just as energetic charged particles enabled our predecessors to reveal microscopic neutron processes.”

2) Responding to the above Ludwik wrote “I agree that John's theory is a good candidate for explanation of many CMNS phenomena. My own description of that theory, composed 4.5 years ago can be seen at

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/191fisher.html

and at

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/227fisher.html

I see that notation changed (for example, (A+1)n instead of (A+1)Nt) but that is not important. In the subsequent message I asked: “:

The phrase  "a good candidate for explanation" can be replaced by "a reasonable explanation," or "an acceptable explanation," or “ . . . “. What is better and why? I hope this question will generate a discussion.

An experimental claim, that something can be observed in a specified way, is either valid or not valid. It is valid when qualified experimentalists observe the claimed phenomenon.

But how do we validate a physical science theory? A mathematical theory is said to be valid when no computational mistakes are found in it. But this is not sufficient in physical sciences. A physical science theory is said to be valid when it explained what is known and when it predicted what was not known. Sometimes two different theories might predict the same thing. Competing theories can be evaluated in terms of numbers of confirmed predictions, it terms of simplicity, in terms of beauty, etc. A single not-confirmed prediction is a good reason for rejection or modification of a theory.

This well known methodology of validation should also apply to CMNS theories. But how can a theory be validated in proto-science, where experimental results are not always reproducible-on-demand?

 Appended on 5/22/2009
There were several messages about polyneutrons this week. They are worth preserving. How does this discussion differ from debates between all other scientists? Why do many skeptics say “we do not want to waste time on listening to this kind of speculations? What is wrong with speculations about hypothetical particles, when they are recognized as such?

In early 1920s neutron was a hypothetical particle--in Rutherford’s lab, where it was visualized as a union of one proton and one electron. Chadwick was one of the researchers in that laboratory. Speculations prepared him to immediately recognize that the so-called “beryllium radiation” consisted of neutrons. Joliot Curie reported (in 1932) that highly penetrative beryllium radiation (discovered in 1930 Germany) knocks out protons from paraffin. That was a sufficient hint for Chadwick; his decisive experiment, proving reality of neutrons, was performed shortly after the French report was published.

Neutrino, a tiny neutral particle of zero mass, was also highly hypothetical in early 1930’s. It was invented by Pauli, to explain the so-called “missing energy” in beta decay, discovered by calorimetrists. Existence of neutrinos was also experimentally confirmed, about ten years later. Naturally, textbooks do not inform us about particles still waiting to be discovered. A theoretical “discovery of a possibility” does not count as a great achievement, unless it leads to an experimental discovery.

1) Ed Storms wrote: “Making 1 watt of fusion power requires 1012 events/sec. How can such a large reaction rate be supported by a small number of polyneutrons? Eventually they will be modified by the process, thereby becoming inactive, requiring active forms  to diffuse from greater distances, which would cause the process to slow down and stop. Heat production does not show such an effect.”

2) Bill Collis wrote: “If polyneutrons exist (or neutral Erzions for that matter) they will typically interact with matter at a rate of about 6 orders of magnitude greater than say ordinary neutrons.  This means they will have a mean free path in ordinary condensed matter measured in microns (causing highly localized hot spots and inhibiting "diffusion"). The reason for this enhanced rate is that ordinary neutron induced reactions are inhibited by 1 of 2 effects.

a) One possibility neutron interaction is capture followed by gamma emission.  This channel must compete with the much faster (6-7 orders of magnitude faster) re-emission of the neutron causing what appears to be an elastic collision.

b) Another possibility is the break up of the compound nucleus.  This can only occur by emitting charged particles (ie fission).  There are no other normal neutral particles which can be emitted to conserve energy. Unfortunately charged products must overcome a Coulomb barrier to separate and so this channel too is usually inhibited unless the reaction energy is greater than the Coulomb barrier.  An example:-

       n +  3He->  1H +  3H   +0.764 MeV

This reaction has a cross section of 55000 barns if I remember correctly.  It's so efficacious that 3He is used in neutron detectors.

3) Reply from Ed:
“Even if what you say is true, we still have a problem with this process.  We now know that nuclear reactions can be initiated on nanosized particles of palladium. The content of polyneutrons or Erzions in each particle will be soon exhausted by such a reaction. How can these be replaced? The D can be replaced by gas phase diffusion between particles. Can polyneutrons or Erzions diffuse through the gas. If so, what is their primary source?  Must we conclude that heat can only last until the contained PN or Erzions are used up? I suggest heat and helium production by the gas loading method cannot be explained this way. If this is true, must we believe that each method has its own mechanism.”

4) Replying to Ed Storms, John Fisher wrote: “ A key feature of polyneutron theory is that a single polyneutron can initiate a chain reaction in which the number of polyneutrons grows exponentially until it reaches the maximum that can be supported by the experimental environment. (This is similar to ordinary nuclear reactors, where the number of neutrons grows exponentially until it reaches the maximum that can be supported by the experimental environment.) Polyneutrons are not exhausted by being used up. Energy generation continues until the nuclear fuel is used up, or until sufficient poisons accumulate, just as with neutron-mediated reactors.  

There is however a qualitative difference between polyneutron reactors and neutron reactors. Polyneutron reactions are millions of times more rapid than neutron reactions, and polyneutron reactor sizes can be millions of times smaller.     
 I do not expect very small polyneutrons to be bound, just as I do not expect very small liquid helium drops to be bound, or very small water drops to be bound. Their surface energies are high and small droplets evaporate. Large polyneutrons are required for binding, and these are achieved only rarely under special circumstances, a couple of possibilities for which I have discussed in my writings on the subject. Tetraneutrons may or may not be large enough to be bound. My guess is that they are not large enough, and that six or eight neutrons are required. I also believe that the average polyneutron in an active reactor contains hundreds of neutrons, at which size the rate of the polyneutron fission reactions that support exponential growth have become appreciable.”

5) A comment from Andrew Meulenberg:
“The first evidence for "tetra-neutrons" -- nuclear clusters containing four neutrons and no protons -- has been found at the GANIL accelerator in France. An international team of researchers detected six candidates for the four-neutron clusters among fragments of neutron-rich beryllium nuclei that were produced in a collision experiment. The team hopes to confirm its discovery in future experiments, an achievement that would have a major impact on our understanding of nuclear forces (F Marques et al 2002 Phys. Rev. C 65 044006).

Studies of the interactions between nucleons -- neutrons and protons -- in small nuclei are crucial for theories of nuclear binding in larger nuclei. Physicists know that pairs of neutrons can exist in an ‘almost bound’ state – that is, if they interacted any more strongly, they would form a "di-neutron". This has led to speculation that larger numbers of neutrons could form clusters, which might be found in nuclei that contain many more neutrons than protons.

Over the last 40 years, several collision experiments have been conducted to search for neutron clusters. But these experiments have been unable to tell the clusters apart from single neutrons that are also ejected in the collisions, because neither have an electric charge. Now a new technique has provided the first hints of them.

In the GANIL experiment, led by the CNRS Laboratoire de Physique Corpusculaire in Caen, neutron-rich nuclei were broken up, and the fragments were then collided with protons. The make-up of these fragments was then deduced from the energy of the recoiling protons and the time the fragments took to reach the protons.

The researchers carried out the experiment on beams of neutron-rich lithium-11, boron-15 and beryllium-14 using the UK CHARISSA and the Franco-Belgian DEMON detector arrays. An analysis of the data led by Francisco-Miguel Marqués identified six protons with energies that could be explained most easily by collisions with newly formed tetra-neutrons.

The researchers admit that other effects in their experiment could have mimicked the presence of tetra-neutrons, but believe that these account for no more than 10% of the signal. They plan to conduct similar experiments next year with better fragment detectors, a more intense beam of beryllium-14, and a beam of helium-8 nuclei, which is also expected to form tetra-neutrons.”

6) Replying to Andrew, Dean Sincler wrote:
“They  think that they  have detected groups of "Four neutrons," What is the rationale that these "packets," if they exist,  are not simply units of four electrons and four protons, a "plasma cluster," or what if one went with the Iso-set notation, one of the Iso-2,2-Aggregate clusters?  Does it not seem more plausible that electron-proton clusters would have more staility than clusters of neutrons which are known to undergo decay to electrons and protons?

I would wonder, "What would be the decay patterns, the decay times, and the decay products of these "tetra-neutrons?."   If they are truly composed of neutrons, they should be highly radioactive as beta-emitters.   If composed of electrons and protons, their pattern of collapse should result most probably  in Helium 4,  Deuterium, or Hydrogen..without Beta Emission. In any case, they'd need a lot bigger "sample" to prove anything....”

7) Addressing Storms, Collis wrote:
“Actually there are many remaining problems with Erzion or polyneutrons - particularly the complete lack of radio-active products.  But then this is a problem of all CF theories and perhaps these 2 theories make a better attempt than most to solve it.

The whole point of Erzions and polyneutrons is that they act as nuclear catalysts to facilitate the transfer of nucleons between natural isotopes.  As such they regenerate and are not "used up".

Uncharged polyneutrons or Erzions can of course diffuse through gasses or solids just like say, neutrons.

8) Responding to Bill Collis, Mike McKubre wrote: ” As non-theorist to non-theorist I must respectfully disagree. I suggest you look more carefully at the theories of Preparata,   Hagelstein and the Chubb's which explicitly address this problem   (there are others, also).  Any theory that does not account for the   relative absence of penetrating radiation, directly and formally, does   not have a close relationship to the majority of experimental results.

9) Addressing Bill and Mike, Ed wrote:
“ Since this is a discussion between non-theorists, I feel right at home and would like to extend the discussion. I suggest any theory must at least address the following issues.

(1*) The process allows helium production at rates in excess of 1012 events/second, but occasionally producing tritium with a few neutrons. 

(2*) The process allows hydrogen isotopes to enter the nucleus of heavier nuclei resulting in transmutation products.

(3*) The process leading up to the nuclear reaction is exothermic. 

(4*) The process does not result in emission of gamma radiation, energetic particles in excess of about 1 MeV or radioactive decay.

(5*) The process making helium is very sensitive to the concentration of deuterium in the NAE.  

(6*) The process is accelerated by higher temperature, laser light, and RF radiation. 

(7*) The mechanism apparently involves clusters. 

For a theory to be useful, it must have a close relationship to variables in the material world that can be controlled.  In other words, it must identify the NAE so that it can be created on purpose. Can anyone explain how the Preparata, Hagelstein and Chubb theories, or indeed any theory, addresses ALL of these issues without making a large number of unsupported assumptions?  Personally, I expect only those theories that can address these issues using only one or two assumptions that have logical support outside of CF will gain any traction.”

10) Responding to Bill, Ed wrote:
“I know neutron addition is attractive because of its lack of charge.   However, the growing evidence is showing that the reactions involve   addition of protons or deuterons, sometimes as clusters.  Addition of   neutrons requires beta emission to produce a new element, which is a   radioactive process.  Absent of beta emission, I suggest eliminates   any process that involves neutrons, unless some strange assumptions   are made about how the electron is removed without being detected.”

11) Another clarification from John Fisher:
“ Polyneutron theory can account for the absence of energetic electrons and bremsstrahlung in association with beta decay.      Beta decay of a polyneutron, or of an ordinary nucleus bound to (or in strong interaction with) a polyneutron, can be very rapid (short-lived) compared with beta decay of a free nucleus. This comes about because the polyneutron vibration spectrum offers a range of rapidly accessible energy levels that can absorb much of the emitted energy. These levels compete with those of the electromagnetic field, and in my view they win out with the result that not only is the decay faster, but little energy remains for kinetic energy of the emitted electrons. Because the emitted electrons have so little energy they fail to produce detectable bremsstrahlung. The polyneutron then cools down, its excitation energy being emitted as low-energy electromagnetic radiation.”

12) Replying to the above, Ed Storms wrote:
“OK, John, I give you this possibility, but you have spent one of your   two amazing assumptions I'm allowing.  It would be good if some way   existed to show that such degraded electron radiation actually occurs   somewhere in nature.  Also, how can I create a NAE that will allow   this process to take place?”

13) Replying to the above John Fisher wrote:
“I mistakenly wrote "electromagnetic field" where I should have written "weak interaction field"in my discussion of bremsstrahlung. I have corrected the error below. This is important because the polyneutron excitation energy field is so much stronger than the weak interaction field that it absorbs much of the beta emission energy and leaves little for electron kinetic energy.”

14) Another clarification from John:
“Detection of degraded electron radiation is a tough problem. One would have to be highly motivated to tackle it. So I set it aside for now. But I am happy to discuss creation of a NAE that will allow the process to take place.      As I understand it, you think of a NAE as a SUBSTANCE that supports LENR. I on the other hand think of it as a PROCESS that supports LENR. I think in analogy with ordinary nuclear reactors that operate as long as fresh fuel is periodically added to replace spent fuel, and as long as poisons are removed. Similarly a LENR reactor will operate as long as fresh fuel is added and poisons are removed. But because of its tiny size the time available for refueling a LENR reactor is only a fraction of a second. If we don't refuel that fast the reaction dies.     

In my view F&P were successful because they used rapid bubble formation (provided by electrolysis) as a method of bringing fresh fuel to, and removing poisons from, a reaction volume confined to the bubbling region. They used a palladium cathode, but palladium is not necessary. Oriani uses a nickel cathode. Others have used other cathode compositions. The composition and properties of the cathode are not primary (except possibly for palladium which absorbs a lot of deuterium and tends to remove fuel from the bubbling region and slow or suppress reaction until the palladium is fully loaded). The primary cathode features are surface irregularities that affect bubble formation. But also laser irradiation, ultrasound, and other external factors can influence bubble formation and growth, and hence can influence reaction rate.     

The are other ways to shear and mix and refresh the fluid that supports a LENR chain reaction, and thereby to maintain the reaction. Mechanical stirring should work. Oriani and I tried this some time ago and got a positive result. But the result was marginal and not impressive and we did not follow it up. I now think that microfluidic mixing offers the best hope for a sustained reaction that can be scaled up (many microfluidic mixers in parallel, not one giant mixer). If I were younger I would put my effort into microfluidics. There is much fundamental work to be done with in this field in support of the emergence of a practical system.      

As for me, in the time I have left I prefer to investigate the properties of the neutral particles that are emitted in LENR experiments. Oriani has shown that they can be detected by CR39 tracks that begin and end within the body of the detector, never breaking the surface of the plastic. This describes an instrument for polyneutron detection, which I intend to use to study the properties of polyneutrons and polyneutron reactions.”


15) Adressing John, Ed wrote: “
a) “OK, John, I give you this possibility, but you have spent one of your two amazing assumptions I'm allowing.  It would be good if some way existed to show that such degraded electron radiation actually occurs somewhere in nature.  Also, how can I create a NAE that will allow this process to take place?”

b) [You wrote]: “Detection of degraded electron radiation is a tough problem. One would have to be highly motivated to tackle it. So I set it aside for now. But I am happy to discuss creation of a NAE that will allow the process to take place.

As I understand it, you think of a NAE as a SUBSTANCE that supports LENR. I on the other hand think of it as a PROCESS that supports LENR. I think in analogy with ordinary nuclear reactors that operate as long as fresh fuel is periodically added to replace spent fuel, and as long as poisons are removed. Similarly a LENR reactor will operate as long as fresh fuel is added and poisons are removed. But because of its tiny size the time available for refueling a LENR reactor is only a fraction of a second. If we don't refuel that fast the reaction dies.”

c) [Ed responding]: “John, you are partly right in your description of the NAE. I describe   the NAE as being a location on a substance that has acquired the   unique and rare properties required to allow a mechanism  to initiate   a nuclear reaction. Variation in the properties at this location   influence which of the possible nuclear reactions will occur. The fact   that CF is so difficult to make work indicates that this region is   rarely created and then largely by chance.  We need to know how to   create the unique properties on purpose and in large amount if we are   to make the effect reproducible at a high level.  The rate at which   fuel is added determines how fast the reaction will occur at such   locations.  Unless the special properties are present, nothing will   happen no matter how much fuel is present.  A similar situation exists   in chemistry when a special arrangements of atoms is necessary to   catalyze a chemical reaction.  If the atoms are not arranged just   right, the reaction will not occur regardless of how much of the   reactant is present.”

d) [You wrote] “In my view F&P were successful because they used rapid bubble formation (provided by electrolysis) as a method of bringing fresh fuel to, and removing poisons from, a reaction volume confined to the bubbling region.”

d) [Ed responding]: Bubble action is complex and has been explored in the past. Bubbles   are released from two different types of locations. Gas exits from   cracks in the surface, some of which are too small to see by eye.   Other gas originates at scattered active locations where the H ions   can combine to form H2 molecules. Most of the surface does not produce   or experience the effects of bubbles except for the convection   currents created thereby.  Such currents can be created much more   effectively by mechanical stirring. Consequently, I don't think your   description fits what actually occurs on the surface.

e) [You wrote:] “They used a palladium cathode, but palladium is not necessary. Oriani uses a nickel cathode. Others have used other cathode compositions. The composition and properties of the cathode are not primary (except possibly for palladium which absorbs a lot of deuterium and tends to remove fuel from the bubbling region and slow or suppress reaction until the palladium is fully loaded). The primary cathode features are surface irregularities that affect bubble formation. But also laser irradiation, ultrasound, and other external factors can influence bubble formation and growth, and hence can influence reaction rate.”

f) [Ed responding:] “I don't think application of any of these sources of energy influence   bubble formation, at least no one has reported such an effect as far   as I know. While bubbles are leaving the surface, H ions are being   absorbed by the surface and diffusing to regions of lower activity. In   addition, Li ions are hitting the surface, a few of which are   dissolving in the Pd and diffusing away from the surface.  As a   result, the surface is rich in H and Li.  While the concentration of H   is important, it clearly is not the only condition that is required to   cause a nuclear reaction. The question is, "What are the other   essential conditions"?

[You wrote:] “The are other ways to shear and mix and refresh the fluid that supports a LENR chain reaction, and thereby to maintain the reaction. Mechanical stirring should work.”

g) [Ed responding:] Electrolytic action occurs as long as current flows and it is not   altered significantly by stirring.  In short, the surface   concentration of H does not care what the fluid is doing.  The   hydrogen exists either as H+ ions in the surface or H2 molecules on   the surface. The fluid can be viewed as an inert solvent that only   gets involved when it is decomposed by action of the current at the   surface. That is why the process works when solvents other than water   are used, as long as H+ can be formed on the surface.

h) [You wrote:} “Oriani and I tried this some time ago and got a positive result. But the result was marginal and not impressive and we did not follow it up. I now think that microfluidic mixing offers the best hope for a sustained reaction that can be scaled up (many microfluidic mixers in parallel, not one giant mixer). If I were younger I would put my effort into microfluidics. There is much fundamental work to be done with in this field in support of the emergence of a practical system.     As for me, in the time I have left I prefer to investigate the properties of the neutral particles that are emitted in LENR experiments. Oriani has shown that they can be detected by CR39 tracks that begin and end within the body of the detector, never breaking the surface of the plastic. This describes an instrument for polyneutron detection, which I intend to use to study the properties of polyneutrons and polyneutron reactions.”

i_ [Ed responding:] “I agree, detection of particles is important and will eventually solve   the riddle.”

16) Ed Stroms (commenting on a theory based on the idea of another hypothetical particle--erzion) wrote: “I am glad you find the discussion interesting. I think every theory should be subjected to such a discussion so that an understanding can become clearer and the ideas made closer to experimental observations. Unfortunately, every theoretician claims his  theory fits the 7 conditions I list. This fitting is done by making various assumptions.  In fact, use of enough assumptions will allow any theory, no matter how imaginative, to fit any and all experimental observations.   Many of these assumptions are not identified or acknowledged in the theory, but must be teased out in discussion, thereby making the discussions very valuable.  In general, the greater the number of assumptions that are required, the less value the theory has, either to gain support for the field or to design experimental investigations. That is why I encourage people to keep the number of assumptions as small  as possible. An "assumption" ceases to be an assumption once evidence can be provided outside of the CF effects showing that the proposed process actually exists in nature.   Unfortunately, many people use circular logic in their theories. A process is proposed that predicts a certain observed action in CF. The correct prediction is then used to prove that the process really occurs.  This kind of thinking is not useful. An assumption must be related to an observed effect outside of CF for it to be useful. Anything short of this requirement is simply the application of self-serving imagination. I encourage everyone not to use self-serving imagination in their efforts to explain CF."

 Appended on 5/25/2009

Another clarification from John Fisher is worth recording. He was replying to Andrew Meulenberg, who is promoting yet another theory for CMNS phenomena. John wrote:

"My view of the language of physics is very simple. I fully and unconditionally accept quantum mechanics as a thoroughly and quantitatively verified theory that applies on both the nuclear scale and the cosmic scale. In my view a theory that contradicts quantum mechanics disqualifies itself for consideration. It is wrong from the start.  A few LENR theories pass the quantum mechanics test and are worth thinking about.

1. Quantum mechanics has not been fully applied to nuclear reactions in condensed matter, where vibration levels of the condensed matter can absorb some of the energy released in DD fusion and may possibly enhance the rate of the DD ->> 4He reaction while at the same time replacing the gamma ray of fusion in vacuum with the lattice vibrations of fusion in condensed matter. This would be truly cold fusion in a previously overlooked decay channel. It appears to be qualitatively possible but it has not yet been shown to be quantitatively correct. Nor has it been successfully applied to energetic particle production or to transmutation.

2. Quantum mechanics does not rule out theories that are based on the possibility of as-yet unrecognized particles. (In the past such theories have been highly successful. After quantum mechanics but before neutrons were known the atomic nucleus was a mystery. A nucleus was viewed as a tiny group of protons and electrons, the only known charged particles at the time. But quantum mechanics did not allow confinement of electrons in so small a volume because of the buildup of kinetic energy associated with the uncertainty principle. Fortunately neutrons were discovered and the problem went away.) For cold fusion Edward Teller suggested a heavy neutral particle he called a meshuganon. Bazhutov has suggested particles called erzions originally hypothesized to explain other high-energy phenomena. The meshuganon idea was not seriously explored. The erzion idea has not yet been shown capable of accounting quantitatively for the full range of LENR phenomena.

3. Polyneutron theory explores the possibility that neutrons can be strongly bound in clusters that resemble atomic nuclei except for containing no protons, and that such clusters can account for the LENR phenomena. The existence of such clusters is not ruled out by quantum mechanics, nor has it been ruled out by experiment. I personally like the polyneutron theory because the applicability of quantum mechanics is never in doubt, and what is already known of nuclear physics is not overturned. Polyneutron theory simply adds a little more to what was previously known. This is the way that nuclear theory has advanced over the years. Polyneutron theory will succeed or fail depending on the success or failure of its quantitative fit to experimental observations. I am encouraged, but not yet convinced, that it is the right theory.


ADDED ON JULY 31, 2011

Here is an interesting massage posted taday by John Fisher, at the private list for CMNS researchers:

Hi X, I enjoy and learn from your comments. As I understand it, you initially were attracted to the idea of LENR by the excess energy production by F&P, and subsequently by many others. But you were not convinced. Then came measurements of helium production, more or less in proportion to heat, and roughly comparable with what would be expected from deuterium fusion. I understand that to your thinking these experiments confirmed LENR and confirmed deuterium fusion. Like you, I initially was attracted by excess heat by F&P, and then by others. I also was encouraged by measurements of helium production, more or less in proportion to heat, and roughly comparable with what would be expected from polyneutron reactions with deuterium. To me the experiments suggest suggest that deuterium may be a fuel for LENR, but they do not imply that polyneutron theory is correct, or that DD fusion theory is correct. Both of these theories predict helium, hence neither is disproved by helium, and the two theories stand as equals in light of the heat and helium experiments. So my questions are: Do you accept DD fusion and reject polyneutron reactions? If so, on what basis?
Experiment is supreme and theory must account for it or fail. The test for DD fusion versus polyneutron reactions must be found in an experiment where outcome is consistent with one theory but not with the other. An example would be to measure the hydrogen produced per helium produced. This ratio is zero for DD fusion to helium and four for polyneutron reactions. This would be a definitive experiment. If no hydrogen is found, polyneutron theory would be wrong. If 4H were found for each He, DD fusion would be wrong. Perhaps your proposed experiments could distinguish between H and He and could settle this question.

    John.

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