400) An Abandoned Line of Research

Ludwik Kowalski, <kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu>

Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J.

I have just reread a ten years old article (1), signed by nine authors. The main authors were probably Cecil and Jones. They loaded deuterium into titanium foils--by placing them into the hot and compressed deuterium gas--and detected energetic charged particles, emitted form foils. Presence of such particles has been reported by other researchers, as summarized in (2). But detectors used by Keeney et al. were more advanced. The authors were able to distinguish different kinds of charged particles, and to measure their energies.

Here is the abstract of their article: "We present evidence for energetic charged particles emanating from partiallydeuterided titanium foils (TiDx) subjected to non-equilibrium conditions. To scrutinize emerging evidence for low-temperature nuclear reactions, we investigated particle yields employing three independent types of highly-sensitive, segmented particle detectors over a six-year period. One experiment measuring neutron emission from TiDx foils showed a background-subtracted yield of 57 ± 13 counts per hour. (The neutron experiments are discussed in a separate paper in this proceedings.) A second experiment, using a photo-multiplier tube with plastic and glass scintillators and TiDx registered charged particle emissions at 2,171 ± 93 counts/hour, over 400 times the background rate. Moreover, these particles were identified as protons having 2.6 MeV after exiting the TiDx foil array. In a third experiment, coincident charged particles consistent with protons and tritons were observed with high reproducibility in two energy-dispersive ion-implanted detectors located on either side of 25-micron thick Ti foils loaded with deuterium.

Our overall data therefore strongly suggest low-level nuclear fusion in deuterided metals under these conditions according to the fusion reactions d + d _ n(2.45 MeV) + 3He(0.82 MeV) and d + d _ p(3.02 MeV) + t(1.01 MeV), with possibly other nuclear reactions occurring. Important advances were particle identifications, and repeatability approaching 80% for coincident charged particle emissions. Metal processing and establishing non-equilibrium conditions appear to be important keys to achieving significant nuclear-particle yields and repeatability."

Their detector was a plastic scintillator, mounted of a glass and on the photomultiplier tube (PMT), as shown in Figure 1. That tube was connected to a multichannel analyzer. I am familiar with this method of detection. In fact, my very first original scientific contribution (3) was a thin layer of CsI, evaporated on glass. I wanted to use it in my doctoral dissertation studies. But silicon detectors became commercially available. They offered a better solution to a problem I solved, and I used them instead. My setup, for simultaneous detection of two fission fragments, with two solid state detectors, was also the same as shown in Figure 10. The fragments were emitted from a very thin uranium target and the whole setup was inside a vacuum chamber. What I did not know, however, was that the shape of the electric pulse, produced by the PMT, provides information about the origin of light (plastic scintillator versus glass, as shown in Figure 8).

Note that the labels "Light output" along the horizontal axis (Figure 3 etc.) is most likely the channel number of the analyzer; it is particle energy in arbitrary units. The background was 400 times lower than the signal, according to the abstract. The lines in Figure 2, on the other hand, are not experimental data, except the Am-241 calibration point. They show where the data points were expected. The vertical axis numbers, in Figure 2, should probably be multiplied by the factor of 10, in order to agree with the energy spectrum in Figure 3. (The amplifier gain was probably not the same in each experiment.) It would be more useful if all Light Outputs were expressed in terms of MeV, not in arbitrary units.

The emission of charged particles is apparently influenced by the "non-equilibrium conditions," as stated in the abstract. That refers to the 3 A current flowing through the foils, as illustrated on the right side of Figure 1. Figure 9 shows that the dependence of the rate of emission on time, after the end of loading, was not exponential. The maximum counting rate, at t=100 minutes, was close to one charged particle (mostly a proton with the energy close to 3 MeV) every 1.6 seconds. This amounts to 2200 cnts/hr. The counting rate at t=2 weeks was only 30 cnts/hour.

How reproducible is the shape of the distribution shown in Figure 9? How can such bell-shaped distribution be explained? Unfortunately, no answers to these questions can be found in the article. Even more surprising is the total absence of the follow-up publications; this article was published in 2002, at the 10th International Cold Fusion Conference, Cambridge, MA. How can absence of the follow-up publications be explained?

1) Keeney et al. "Charged Particle Emission from Deuterided Metals," in Condensed Matter Nuclear Science: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Cold Fusion; World Scientific, 2006, pages 509-523.

2) Edmund Storms, "The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction: a Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations bout Cold Fusion."; 2008 (see Table 11, on pages 101-104)

3) Ludwik Kowalski "Thin Layers of Csl(Tl), Obtained by Evaporation Under a Vacuum, as a Detector of Fission Fragments."

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