53) Cold fusion and microscopic cracks

Ludwik Kowalski, <kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu>
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043, (4/14/03)

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In reading cold fusion papers i often saw references to fusion inside tiny cracks (size 0.1 to 1 microns) existing on metallic surfaces. The claim is that strong electric fields are often generated inside the cracks (which define boundaries between grains of different materials). The field can supply deuterium ions with a kinetic energy of 10 to 100 keV. The nuclear fusion cross sections, in this energy range, are known to be between about 0.03 and 30 mb. Bursts of neutrons and tritons, occasionally detected in cold fusion experiments, are said to be produced via traditional hot fusion in tiny cracks. According to a recent paper of M.Di Giulio et al. (from the University of Leecy, Italy) production of new elements in cold fusion is strongly enhance when cracks are present. What follows is my short description of their work. The original paper was published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (27, 2002 pp 527-531); its tittle was “Analysis of nuclear transmutations observed in D and H loaded Pd films.”

Thin palladium films were deposited on silicon wavers. Some surfaces were rough while others were smooth. The films were then loaded with H2 and D2 (by keeping them for one week in chambers filled with these gasses at the pressure of six bars). The films were then exposed to the UV light from an pulsed laser (308 nm, 1 Hz), presumably to trigger plasma oscillations inside cracks. “The laser fluence was always lower than 25 mJ/cm2 to avoid palladium ablation.” Surfaces were examined by SEM (scanning electron microscope), chemical compositions were determined by EDS (energy disparsive X-ray spectroscopy). The elements found in laser-treated films were Ca, Fe, S, Zn, Ti, Cu and Cr; their distribution over surfaces were closely correlated with locations of cracks. No quantitative information about the rates of transmutation were given in the article; the emphasis is on how to create surface irregularities rather than on production of new elements.

I am primarily interested in transmutation. That is I want to end this short summary with a quote from a paper of David .J. Nagel (Accountability in Research, 2000. 8: p. 137) about production of new elements in cold fusion experiments. The author wrote: “Transmutations of heavy elements were reported first in 1995 when the Pd electrodes in a heavy water electrolyte became radioactive and exhibited gamma ray spectral lines appropriate to neighboring elements of Pd. Later, the coated-sphere experiments and solid-electrolyte experiments lead to reports of the generation of numerous elements across the periodic table, with many of the same elements increasing in concentration within both of the very different experiments. All of these problems, the diverse experiments and the complex results continue to make study of the field of cold fusion challenging.”

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