Some Thoughts on LENR, Vibrations, Chrystals, Phonons, and Quantum Mechanics

I’ve posted a fair number of things on Cold Fusion or LENR or whatever they are calling it these days.

I think I have a handle on how to make it go more reliably. The “bottom line” (here at the top) is that you need to wiggle the atoms and protons and electrons around, faster is better, until they collide enough to join.

The more Quantum Mechanical point of view is that you need to have rapid change of the electromagnetic fields so that the particle Hamiltonians will have a diabatic change and thus have a move to a new Hamiltonian instead of staying on the same one. (or, shake them until they bang hard enough to fuse ;-)

So a lot of detail follows, but the practical implication is that once you have H or D loaded into Pd or Ni (or potentially other metals with a metalic or partially metalic bond) you need to induce atomic and electronic oscillations so the little dears bang into the walls, so to speak. That can be with high speed change of mag fields, electric fields, electric flows, light (such as UV) whacking the surfaces, thermal energy (hotter is better), ultrasonics (make those phonons wobble!) and maybe more. So some folks have cavitation LENR. Some have hot LENR (Rossi). Some have high frequency e-field LENR (Brillouin), and the Papp engine uses thermal spikes with UV and E-field spikes from a giant spark.

You can load the H or D via raw pressure, or via electric pressure via electrolysis. Just get it loaded. More is better. Probably best is some of both. Then whack it with change. Preferably controllable change so it doesn’t blow up…

The Background

Hard sledding comes first. The QM stuff.

No, I don’t fully understand this. A lot of it looks like F.M. to me… er… ‘Friendly’ Magic ;-) but it is what it is. So here’s my take on the QM of it all… First off, a Hamilton.

In quantum mechanics, the Hamiltonian is the operator corresponding to the total energy of the system. It is usually denoted by H, also Ȟ or Ĥ. Its spectrum is the set of possible outcomes when one measures the total energy of a system. Because of its close relation to the time-evolution of a system, it is of fundamental importance in most formulations of quantum theory.

Key Bits: It’s just talking about the energy of the system. Note the “time-evolution”. That matters as we need to control the rate of change of things to kick particles out of their Hamiltonian ruts.

Another word to know:

Generally, quantum mechanics does not assign definite values. Instead, it makes a prediction using a probability distribution; that is, it describes the probability of obtaining the possible outcomes from measuring an observable. Often these results are skewed by many causes, such as dense probability clouds. Probability clouds are approximate, but better than the Bohr model, whereby electron location is given by a probability function, the wave function eigenvalue, such that the probability is the squared modulus of the complex amplitude, or quantum state nuclear attraction.[21][22] Naturally, these probabilities will depend on the quantum state at the “instant” of the measurement. Hence, uncertainty is involved in the value. There are, however, certain states that are associated with a definite value of a particular observable. These are known as eigenstates of the observable (“eigen” can be translated from German as meaning “inherent” or “characteristic”).

So most of the time things are an ill-defined muddle of probability (so unusual things DO happen) but sometimes they have a more definite value. That is called an “eigenstate”. So eigenstates are more definite, the rest is a bit probabilistic.

The time evolution of a quantum state is described by the Schrödinger equation, in which the Hamiltonian (the operator corresponding to the total energy of the system) generates the time evolution. The time evolution of wave functions is deterministic in the sense that – given a wavefunction at an initial time – it makes a definite prediction of what the wavefunction will be at any later time.

So we are packing a crystal lattice of metal with Protons (H without the e-) and with a metallic bond cloud of electrons. (In covalent bonds, the electron is shared between two nuclei. In ionic bonds, one wins the struggle and captures the electron into the outer electron shell, so Na+ is down one and Cl- is up one in salt. In metalic bonds, the electrons run around in a loose soup of electrons. That’s why we can have electricity move and why they are metallic shiny as photons bounce off of the e- cloud. For colored metals, like gold, only the low energy bounces off and the high energy gets absorbed and the metal is blue deficient in reflections and looks golden. All thanks to that electron cloud wandering between atoms in the crystals.) Once packed, we’d like those e- wave functions to get smushed up with some P+ wave functions and become N. Slow neutrons that get stuck into a nucleus somewhere. Normally the e- and P+ don’t get close enough for that. We need a way to collapse their wave functions into a new thing. A way to get each off of their own Hamiltonian and onto a new common one.

Note the words “time evolution” again. So we need to do things that screw around with the motion / time aspect. Get those suckers smacked around by other atomic wave functions, and fast, so they get pushed over the hump into a new N function.

That’s hinted at in this quote:

Wave functions change as time progresses. The Schrödinger equation describes how wavefunctions change in time, playing a role similar to Newton’s second law in classical mechanics. The Schrödinger equation, applied to the aforementioned example of the free particle, predicts that the center of a wave packet will move through space at a constant velocity (like a classical particle with no forces acting on it). However, the wave packet will also spread out as time progresses, which means that the position becomes more uncertain with time. This also has the effect of turning a position eigenstate (which can be thought of as an infinitely sharp wave packet) into a broadened wave packet that no longer represents a (definite, certain) position eigenstate

We want those particles sitting there, broadening their wave functions, until if finds itself overlapping with another wave function ( the e- and P+) and then whack them FAST into one new wave function that takes less space… by forcing them into a known smaller space… by having the atoms around them crush them together into that eigenstate space.

Enter The Phonon

Now you and I might just call this vibration. Or vibrating atoms. But now, now we need a new name for it. Sigh. Just like “eigenstates” means “that stuff you always knew that was not probabilistic”, phonon means that vibration you always thought was just a vibration, but is now more, er, QM special…

In physics, a phonon is a collective excitation in a periodic, elastic arrangement of atoms or molecules in condensed matter, such as solids and some liquids. Often referred to as a quasiparticle,[1] it represents an excited state in the quantum mechanical quantization of the modes of vibrations of elastic structures of interacting particles.

Phonons play a major role in many of the physical properties of condensed matter, such as thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. The study of phonons is an important part of condensed matter physics.

The concept of phonons was introduced in 1932 by Russian physicist Igor Tamm. The name phonon comes from the Greek word φωνή (phonē), which translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound. Shorter-wavelength higher-frequency phonons give rise to heat.

So, in short, we want those suckers vibrating. In a quantum mechanical kind of way since they are small things…

Now any particle collection larger than a single hydrogen is essentially beyond description as a Hamiltonian. Too many states and too much flux. Our goal is to add a whole lot of particles and a whole lot of flux so some of those QM states end up squashing some wave functions into a new particle. How to do that?

Well, one clue is that these are thermal. So heating stuff up moves it that way. Another clue is that they make sound, so sound vibrations will move things that way. Try “hot sound” and you ought to be getting even more energetic Hamiltonians, even if you can’t write them down. Some, in that QM Probability kind of way, ought to kick some P+ and e- into being a nice Neutron. Perhaps some into turning Ni into Cu as a next step (or maybe via direct additions?)

There is some nice eye candy graphics on that page, so take a look and watch beads oscillating…

A phonon is a quantum mechanical description of an elementary vibrational motion in which a lattice of atoms or molecules uniformly oscillates at a single frequency. In classical mechanics this is known as a normal mode. Normal modes are important because any arbitrary lattice vibration can be considered as a superposition of these elementary vibrations (cf. Fourier analysis). While normal modes are wave-like phenomena in classical mechanics, phonons have particle-like properties as well in a way related to the wave–particle duality of quantum mechanics.

So those wobbles can have the nature of one whopper of a particle. And they have a spectrum of vibrations.

For example, a rigid regular, crystalline, i.e. not amorphous, lattice is composed of N particles. These particles may be atoms, but they may be molecules as well. N is a large number, say ~10^23, and on the order of Avogadro’s number, for a typical sample of solid. If the lattice is rigid, the atoms must be exerting forces on one another to keep each atom near its equilibrium position. These forces may be Van der Waals forces, covalent bonds, electrostatic attractions, and others, all of which are ultimately due to the electric force. Magnetic and gravitational forces are generally negligible. The forces between each pair of atoms may be characterized by a potential energy function \, V that depends on the distance of separation of the atoms. The potential energy of the entire lattice is the sum of all pairwise potential energies:

It is electro-magnetic in character, as well as dipping a toe in the Van der Waals pond. Just what we need to get something else that is resisting joining together (via those same electro-magnetic and Van der Waals forces) nudged into doing what it doesn’t want to do. This also implies that some electrical and / or magnetic forces can be used to stimulate more phonons. So things like a microwave excitation of short harmonic wires, or UV absorption into metals, or VHF magnetic fields. (Shades of Tesla and his spikes of HF fields and the assertion that the did odd things…) In short, we can make more, and potentially bigger aggregations of electromagnetic and Van der Waals forces inside a crystal lattice via induction of large phonon activity.

Cram metals with H or D and loads of excess e-, then induce lots of phonons. That ought to be about it. Having a metallic H bond would likely help, too. (More on that later).

The wiki goes on to point out that the math is intractable so a load of simplifying assumptions are made. I suspect we want the non-simple real actions and are looking to exploit a low probability edge case, but one big enough to make things hot. Take a Trillion atoms, and a ‘one in a billion per second’ reaction becomes very usable.

Solids with more than one type of atom – either with different masses or bonding strengths – in the smallest unit cell, exhibit two types of phonons: acoustic phonons and optical phonons.

Acoustic phonons are coherent movements of atoms of the lattice out of their equilibrium positions. If the displacement is in the direction of propagation, then in some areas the atoms will be closer, in others farther apart, as in a sound wave in air (hence the name acoustic). Displacement perpendicular to the propagation direction is comparable to waves in water. If the wavelength of acoustic phonons goes to infinity, this corresponds to a simple displacement of the whole crystal, and this costs zero energy. Acoustic phonons exhibit a linear relationship between frequency and phonon wavevector for long wavelengths. The frequencies of acoustic phonons tend to zero with longer wavelength. Longitudinal and transverse acoustic phonons are often abbreviated as LA and TA phonons, respectively.

Optical phonons are out-of-phase movement of the atoms in the lattice, one atom moving to the left, and its neighbour to the right. This occurs if the lattice is made of atoms of different charge or mass. They are called optical because in ionic crystals, such as sodium chloride, they are excited by infrared radiation. The electric field of the light will move every positive sodium ion in the direction of the field, and every negative chloride ion in the other direction, sending the crystal vibrating. Optical phonons have a non-zero frequency at the Brillouin zone center and show no dispersion near that long wavelength limit. This is because they correspond to a mode of vibration where positive and negative ions at adjacent lattice sites swing against each other, creating a time-varying electrical dipole moment. Optical phonons that interact in this way with light are called infrared active. Optical phonons that are Raman active can also interact indirectly with light, through Raman scattering. Optical phonons are often abbreviated as LO and TO phonons, for the longitudinal and transverse modes respectively.

Notice that light or sound are both able to set things jiggling, and that having different species in the crystal lattice lets you get both kinds of phonons. So hydrogen loading opens the door (and perhaps some other minor elements in the mix could make it interesting too. B or Li? Other metal alloys?) and then phonons make the smashing happen. The differing mass of H and Ni implies optical phonons, and that might be important. It could also explain why things only start when loading nears 1:1 ratio.

There’s more in that article, but for now it can wait. Just realize that this activity of phonons relates to sound and light, and also to emissions of EM waves like microwaves and such. The implication being that those energies going back in can create the phonon activity as well.

So what happens next?

This is where it gets pulled together.

Avoided Crossing of two Hamiltonians

Original image and attribution

The caption says:

Figure 2. An avoided energy-level crossing in a two-level system subjected to an external magnetic field. Note the energies of the diabatic states, \scriptstyle{|1\rangle} and \scriptstyle{|2\rangle} and the eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian, giving the energies of the eigenstates \scriptstyle{|\phi_1\rangle} and \scriptstyle{|\phi_2\rangle} (the adiabatic states).

Hopefully the Greek characters come through. If not, click to the article and read it there until I learn Greek ;-) Drat. Didn’t work. OK, that’s for later…

What it is showing is two Hamiltonians, the red curve and the blue curve, with the avoided crossover between them. Our goal is to get things to take that black line from one corner to the other and change from one Hamiltonian to the other. What does it say enhances this outcome?

Figure 2 shows the dependence of the diabatic and adiabatic energies on the value of the magnetic field; note that for non-zero coupling the eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian cannot be degenerate, and thus we have an avoided crossing. If an atom is initially in state \scriptstyle{|\phi_1(t_0)\rangle} in zero magnetic field (on the red curve, at the extreme left), an adiabatic increase in magnetic field \scriptstyle{\left(\frac{dB}{dt}\rightarrow0\right)} will ensure the system remains in an eigenstate of the Hamiltonian \scriptstyle{|\phi_1(t)\rangle} throughout the process(follows the red curve). A diabatic increase in magnetic field \scriptstyle{\left(\frac{dB}{dt}\rightarrow\infty\right)} will ensure the system follows the diabatic path (the solid black line), such that the system undergoes a transition to state \scriptstyle{|\phi_2(t_1)\rangle}. For finite magnetic field slew rates \scriptstyle{\left(0<\frac{dB}{dt}<\infty\right)} there will be a finite probability of finding the system in either of the two eigenstates. See below for approaches to calculating these probabilities.

Basically saying things stay on the red or blue line… but what can make things NOT stay on that line? A very fast magnetic slew rate. Or, I’d speculate, a very fast electric slew rate, or phonon slew rate.

In an adiabatic process the Hamiltonian is time-dependent i.e, the Hamiltonian changes with time (not to be confused with Perturbation theory, as here the change in the Hamiltonian is not small; it’s huge, although it happens gradually). As the Hamiltonian changes with time, the eigenvalues and the eigenfunctions are time dependent.


Deriving conditions for diabatic vs adiabatic passage

The math in that article is quite thick at this point, but what I think it is saying is just that if you move things fast enough, they can’t be elastic enough to stay on their Hamiltonian, and things get forced into other shapes when moved very fast. I.e. onto that black line between Hamiltonians.

In 1932 an analytic solution to the problem of calculating adiabatic transition probabilities was published separately by Lev Landau and Clarence Zener,[7] for the special case of a linearly changing perturbation in which the time-varying component does not couple the relevant states (hence the coupling in the diabatic Hamiltonian matrix is independent of time).

The key figure of merit in this approach is the Landau-Zener velocity:

v_{LZ} = {\frac{\partial}{\partial t}|E_2 – E_1| \over \frac{\partial}{\partial q}|E_2 – E_1|} \approx \frac{dq}{dt},

where \scriptstyle{q} is the perturbation variable (electric or magnetic field, molecular bond-length, or any other perturbation to the system), and \scriptstyle{E_1} and \scriptstyle{E_2} are the energies of the two diabatic (crossing) states. A large \scriptstyle{v_{LZ}} results in a large diabatic transition probability and vice versa.

Using the Landau-Zener formula the probability, \scriptstyle{P_D}, of a diabatic transition is given by

So if I’ve got that right, the more rapid and stronger the energy changes, the more likely a diabatic transition.

So high frequency EM fields, bright light, ultrasonics, and even high heat can add some increased probability.

That would explain why high temp E-Cat cells are prone to instability. They start to heat up even faster and make more heat that makes it go faster and… So make it ‘warm enough’, then modulate with something faster to switch, like HF electricity, microwaves, or even ultrasonics.

OK, that’s my theoretical whack at it. Now for a Modest Suggestion on how to make a cell.

Nano-Diamonds and Ultrasonics

There’s a nice PDF on this that I’ve got, but I need to find the link again. For now, a bit less descriptive but flashy link. How to make nano-diamonds with oil and sound:

The chamber is filled with an appropriate slurry, and ultrasound does the rest. It makes tiny spots of heat and pressure so high you get diamonds to form.

What I propose is that the same apparatus ought to make LENR happen. Use a powder of Ni in water, saturated with high pressure H2, or perhaps with a transverse electric current to load the metal, then turn on the ultrasonics to provide the phonon kicker.

Call it the Smith LENR Cell if it works, and I’ll be happy ;-)

Ah, there’s the PDF:

Up to 10% conversion of organic to diamond. Temps of about 120 C in the bulk liquid. Not exactly hard to engineer. Perhaps we could get a master mechanic like P.G. to build one in the garage… First get it to make diamonds, then swap the liquid for a metal in water slurry with H loading and stand back. (Crank up the ultrasonics slowly in case it works too well ;-)

Ultrasonic Diamond Rig

Ultrasonic Diamond Rig

Now I can also think of other ways to create the phonon activity. Make a bundle of metal rods. Bathe them in microwaves that match their length. Anyone who has put a metal trimmed bit of china in a microwave knows how that can vaporize the metal if strong enough. So keep the microwaves under control. Load the metal with H or D via pressure, or electrolysis, or whatever, then slowly add the microwaves. As radiation, or as a directly coupled electric current. (Think “antenna in a hydrogen bath”).

But wait, there’s more!

It ought to also be possible to use this same insight to make a system excited by light (just pick a color that the particular metal absorbs). Or any other phonon creating method.

And about that Papp Engine…

These folks claim they have it working:

Some other links:

Perhaps, just perhaps, as a speculative bit, the Papp Engine can work. It has a massive spark in the top from something like 6 over grown spark plugs. Lots of UV, EM, and heat there, along with a SNAP from the spark. It has a cyclic compression cycle, so heat is produced, along with lots of molecular agitation. The metals might well involve things like Ni in a stainless steel. Could it be that either a noble gas itself reacts, or that the ‘special treatment’ involved the introduction of some small amount of hydrogen into the noble gas?

I have to wonder what would happen if you had a ‘side chamber’ like in precombustion chamber Diesels, or Sterling engines, with a Ni gauze in it, and used Hydrogen gas in the noble gas mix, with loads of spark, and that external magnetic coil, add in some sound from a big fat spark, and maybe even duct in a bit of microwave energy; if somewhere in that mix enough phonons and hydrogen could get together in that gauze to heat the gas enough to make a net gain…

There’s a lot more I’d like to say, but I’m once again out of time. It will have to wait. Things like what crystal lattice looks best. ( I looked at all metal lattice types and crossed it with what is known to happen in excess energy production AND transmutations. Body centered cubic, and perhaps some face centered cubic look to dominate). Also some on metallic bonded H. Ni and Pd do it, some others don’t. Having metallic H bonding, with the right crystal type, with the bond distances the right size for H or D to fit, but only just, looks like the key magic sauce. Some oxides might also work, along with some alloys. Study the bond lengths, look for cubic crystallization, and try for metallic bonded hydrogen… Yes, I’ve got a load of papers to link for that set of ideas. But for now, it’s time to call it a day and have dinner. But at least I’ve put the marker down ;-)

(Also things like my usual typo pass and QA will have to wait, along with a how-to-do-Greek HTML study…)

It is a large search area, so lots of opportunities to bypass patents on things like Ni/H with something else like a B/Cu alloy or??? FWIW, Cu/Ni makes a cubic crystal, and ought to work as well as Ni. I’d add a touch of metal from each side of Ni and Pd and see what happens with H, D, and T loading. Slight variations in bond lengths and spaces ought to enhance some reactions. Perhaps even the ones you want…

In Conclusion

So that’s my theory and practical idea (if any LENR can be called ‘practical’) in one go. I’ve deliberately avoided the deep weeds of quantum mechanical math, while hopefully showing where it has a theoretical opening for this to work, and suggesting ways to make it go.

That also points at why there are so many ways reported as doing interesting things. From cavitation cells to those with electrolysis to others. And why some work and others don’t. It could be as simple as one guy doing his glass electrolysis cell with an open window pointed at the local airport radar…

I don’t know when I can get a chance to try any of these ideas, nor do I see any way I could make a living out of it (given my present circumstances) so I’m tossing into the Copy Left and Free world. If you can make it go, all I ask is a foot note of attribution. (Though if you make $Billions on it, a few $Million would be nice too! ;-)

At any rate, I hope it gives some order to ways to think about the LENR process and ways to make it more likely to work. Some ideas on ways to stimulate phonons, to get crystal lattices that are prone to multiple modes even if the H loading is low (like a bimetallic matrix with H added in smaller than unity amounts) and even some ideas on how to make a better Papp Engine go POP!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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30 Responses to Some Thoughts on LENR, Vibrations, Chrystals, Phonons, and Quantum Mechanics

  1. BobN says:

    EM – this was a great post and to me the most interesting of all your posts. I , along with others are looking into these areas. You hit many key points and have an interesting idea for a cell. One aspect that is very big with all those chasing this area is the material preparation and usage of nano particles. This is something you may want to roll into your thinking. Nano particles give very high surface area so it ups your working area. Also, nano particles have unique characteristics that will add to the overall affect. A nano particle has shown properties of being superconductor in nature. The tips of these nano particles have enormously high fields as well as magnetic affects. There is scant documentation on this, but it seems compelling in helping to orchestrate the desired affect.
    Many people are pursuing different aspects of what you have mentioned, I like your approach of rolling it all together for maximum energy combinations.

    I look forward to your future posts on this. The world needs a new cheap energy source to possibly save mankind, not because of Global Warming, but to free society to restructure and enable a green revolution by year around farming indoors.

  2. M Simon says:

    A room temperature free neutron has an energy of .025 eV. Just to get you in the correct order of magnitude – OM (heh).

  3. M Simon says:

    Uh. Let me make that clearer. .025 eV is the thermal energy (average actually). 1/2 mV^2.

  4. M Simon says:

    And don’t forget Polywell hot fusion. The prospects for that are VERY good.

  5. I don’t know if tackling with the theory question is the most wise .
    My perception is that premature concern about theory (impossible, new physics, pet theories) have ruined the rationality of the domain perception…

    My advice is first to buy the book of Ed Storms which synthesize experimental results and various theories: “The science of LENR ”
    (nb: if you find the pdf on black net, try to buy a copy at least if you liked … Ed worked hard)

    and then for the theory part to buy his latest book

    it details his theoretical proposal as presented here

    basically he state that LENR is necessarily aneutronic (otherwise even slow neutrons will be thermalized and detected), probably p-e-p fusion, and that an object absorb and dissipate keV quantum straight from fusion (gamma cannot be intermediate because less than 1/1million are detected, and nothing so efficient can exist) .
    phonon coupling with nucleus fusion seems not possible and he propose coupling with a 1-D metallic hydrogen, the hydroton. I cannot judge, else that all others theory seems worse.

    anyway my 2cent advice is to flee from theory until the denial stops.
    the pathology of current academic science is to focus on theory and modeling before considering evidences… and if facts dissent, ignore facts.

    follow my eyesight. ;-)

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Alain Co:

    While I agree with the notion that too much fixation on theory causes problems; I think it is also useful to explore theory as a way to inform experimental approach. So you make a theory, then do experiments based on it, then you see if that theory was helpful, or a piece of junk. Then go make a new theory ;-)

    At least, that’s the way I learned to do Science…. So my theory is about crystal structure, and what causes it to act like tiny little anvils and hammers to whack particles into new ones. Now we have some things that can be tested, and the theory evaluated.

    Theory also gives some ideas on other things that might work. So, for example, if it is ‘optical phonons’, then we know that having a 1:1 hydrogen:metal ratio will be important; but it also implies other alloys might also work and that testing for optical phonons could find promising materials even if the rest of the process was not fully worked out yet. Again, not an end point; but a thought to test. Make some 1:1 alloys with other metals of small : large size ratios and test them with a known cell type. See if it helps or hurts and modify the theory.

    For cells with an electrical ‘kicker’, the Hamiltonian to Eigenstate transition via short time modes moving to diabatic processes implies things like using a sawtooth wave. Slow rise of e- loading voltage, then a cutoff and sharp drop with as sharp a ‘rise time’ as possible to the wave form. Easy to test. Take a cell with electrical stimulation that ‘shows something’ and compare sine wave, square wave, and saw tooth (both slow rise, cut and spike up, slow decay). If something ‘different’ happens you have some useful evidence.

    So I don’t see theory as cutting down options. I see it as suggesting particular experiments and new forms of tests. Then making new theory that suggests new experiments.

    Nice references to read, and I’ll likely get the book; but it will be a while. I’m still slammed on time.

    @M. Simon:

    0.025 eV eh? But isn’t it the difference between the P+ and e- total energies and that of the N that matters? And doesn’t the presence of all that lattice make all of these ‘non-free’ energies? So while it is a nice flag in the sand, I think the actual local energy in any one lattice point will vary widely. (In fact, I think that is the purpose of inducing phonons, to make the variety of energy states very high…)

    On Polywell: Yeah, it looks good too. But I think that the gas phase theory is well worked out and ‘what to do’ is pretty well known. More density and more energy and faster bashing together ;-)


    Glad you like it!

    On nano stuff: It gets a lot of hype (outside the LENR area) and I’ve gotten ‘put off’ by some of that. So I say “metal powder” rather than “nano metal powder”. For a while, anything and everything was getting nano stuck on it to be ‘flashy and new’, and I just got tired of it.

    But yes, there are very interesting differences in electrical effects in small particles. Some that likely matter. (You can make a tiny little vacuum tube by having tiny pointy metal bits for the cathodes. At very small scale, the ‘atom or two’ wide tip emits electrons even when cold. AT&T made such a device. Microscopic vacuum tube integrated circuits become possible!) So I’d fully expect some folks to try nano-this and nano-that powders in various devices.

    Yet folks see things happen in bulk rods and in plain powders too. So why stress ‘nano’ in a broad approach? Once you have a working device, or even just one with interesting behaviours, then you can vary powder size and test the theory that “size matters” in that design.

    It is also possible, if my approach to the basic physics is useful, that the application of phonon generation could substitute for nano effects in some powders. It might give ways to make some cells show clear function, then you could have a clear test of nano vs not if both worked in that augmented cell. That lets you measure and start to move from experiment into engineering.

    (It is also very hard to get nano metal powders and work with them safely for the home tinkerer sort, so I tend to be a bit more interested in things and processes I could make in the garage… if my garage wasn’t 2800 miles away ;-)

    FWIW, I was thinking about nano-powders when I said “metal powder” in the posting. Just shying away from the idea that nano was the key bit…

    I’ve also wondered if the home brew guys could make nano-metal powders via a microwave oven, metal bits, and an inert atmosphere fill. Use a household microwave oven source, and a sealed ‘oven’ full of, say, argon. Zap metal bits until they arc and vaporize. Collect nano-dust from the cool walls when done. Not willing to try it, though, as I don’t have nano scale dust masks nor an Argon bottle nor a microwave oven I’d like to molest… but I think it could work (Seems to me Adolfo had some ways of making nano particles of metals. I think he used wet chemical precipitation that likely scales to small home brew).

    At any rate, I see the nano stuff as a performance ‘kicker’ rather than essential. Maybe important in marginal cells to get them over the startup hump; but likely not needed (even if useful) in well tuned methods. (Long way of saying I think bulk materials ought to work too…)

    But heck, test them all. Measure and compare notes. Adjust theory as needed.

  7. cdquarles says:

    Hi EM. There is a related set of chemistry and chemical reactions called pyrolysis. When you make charcoal, this is the process. Heat and pressure in a non-reactive atmosphere or pressure cell work best. The first sets of artificial diamonds made for industry used pyrolysis, I think. I imagine that they use ultrasound method now. Too bad we didn’t think of ultrasound when we were doing pyrolysis oil back in the 70s.

  8. I agree that theory is very interesting to guide optimization, development, but really our culture focus too much on it.

    about your theory there is something about it, but quantum physics and thermodynamic prevent classic physics to explain LENR. this is why most physicist abandoned, either LENR, or physics.

    What I like with ed Storms is that he try to respect the thermodynamics he masters in chemistry, asking for a local effect, in a NAE that protect some object from the chemistry turmoil.

    He say that nothing can screen gamma or neutron at 1/10million losses only, and this say there is no neutron, no gamma… this mean p-e-p d-e-d p-e-d fusion, and energy transmitted as moves …

    phonon as you say is good idea, but their energy is too small to swallow MeV… he propose hydroton (probably it is something else, but this is the kind of quantum animal we have to look for) that can have many energy level

    I did not real Ed latest book, and maybe he says more on that theory.
    he clearly have an experimental program to test his theory, and tritium is the key.

    I remember results in BARC where not only tritium was produced, but also consumed (sure it was consumed, not hidden)… so his theory, at least the principle of pep ped pet fusion, seems supported… future will say…

    currently there is a need of experimental work, because most of the effort have been to prove the phenomenon to stubborn skeptics, or try to find industrial energy or applications.

  9. BobN says:

    @E.M. Good comments. I agree with your thinking, don’t go the nano rout until the easy method fails or we are trying to increase an output. I think your method for making the nano material would work. Much of the nano particles are made essentially the way you said in a special machine. The vaporize a metal and cool the vapor by argon gas. Just like your oven but a bit more controlled for capturing the material.
    Your right in your warning, nano material can be very toxic and several LENR investigators have been sic over getting Nickel into their lungs. If you work with it you should have a hood or better yet a closed chamber.
    Thanks for your incites.

  10. J Martin says:

    I would have thought the Papp engine is the most likely to succeed. The others if eventually viable are some way off.

  11. M Simon says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    2 July 2014 at 11:14 am

    My point about the energy of thermal neutrons was just to give an idea of the energies involved with the heating method of LENR excitation.

  12. hillrj says:

    EM Have you thought about cosmic rays as a trigger?. Imagine a fully loaded lattice impacted by a high speed muon. Wikipedia”About 10,000 muons reach every square meter of the earth’s surface a minute”.

  13. Wayne Job says:

    Hi EM, As a good opera singer can shatter crystal glass, so the LENR stuff will will ultimately be harmonic in its application that is successful. You have mentioned many sources of power for LENR all can be harmonically applied to the basic substances that are being manipulated. Caution is required as a harmonic alignment of pure substances is called an atomic weapon.

  14. Adrian Camp says:

    I wonder whether, if this work or other creates the affordable ‘Mr Fusion’, we will be allowed to have one. It just seems to me to be politically difficult for folks to generate their own power with a device like this. Useless solar and wind is fine, but this will put a few noses out of joint. They won’t let us have it, and the reason (pretext) will be as described in Wayne’s last sentence.

  15. p.g.sharrow says:

    The use of a pure isotope is problematic. Just way to difficult to achieve. In the case of The Rossi device normal nickle contains a bit less then 5% active isotopes. I believe he enriches it to 20% to get a working device. When the active isotopes convert to stable copper and nickel to the point of less then 5% the activity fails and the cartridge must be replaced.
    The above observation that “the powers that be” will not allow citizens to have independent energy production is valid. The Rossi domestic water heater is being blocked by regulators requirements and refusal to permit production. “Can’t be TOO Safe” lets just add more requirements and then say no. At present you can not afford to have one. Even if you got it for free, the cost of inspections/service mandated are way too expensive. In the end a DIY internet project may be what is needed to bypass the bureaucrats and their masters. pg

  16. M Simon says:

    Caution is required as a harmonic alignment of pure substances is called an atomic weapon.

    That would be proof certain that LENR works.

  17. When it comes to LENR count me as a sceptic. While it is over 50 years since I earned my physics degree I worked with relativistic particles for a dozen years. Thus I familiar with the effect of Coulomb forces between nuclei and protons. I am also familiar with what happens when the Coulomb forces are overcome leading to the need for “Personnel Protection” involving many feet of concrete and elaborate radiation safety systems.

    While qualitative arguments can be fun it usually helps to try to quantify the energies involved using simpler tools than Hamilitonians. Let’s look at the idea of “tickling” electrons and protons to form thermal neutrons that might (if you believe Rossi) unite with a Nickel nucleus to form Copper.

    Getting electrons to unite with protons is not easy……….it is a strongly endo-thermic process. One can appreciate the problem by calculating the energy balance for the reverse process which involves a neutron decaying to a proton, an electron and an anti-neutrino. Free neutron decay releases 0.782 MeV of energy per neutron. That is fifty percent more than the rest mass of an electron!

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Standard model atomic energy results in a firestorm of liberated high energy neutrons that flash into hydrogen and hard radiations. LENR is the result of packing hydrogen at fairly low energies to get it to “dance” between hydrogen/neutron conversion. Liberation of neutrons will quench the reaction. The conversion of heavy nickle isotopes to stable copper is caused by a proton being added to it’s proper site and is no longer taking part in the reaction. Only a semi free hydrogen/neutron can be made to take part in the dance. Free hydrogen is in too low a matter/energy density to collapse to neutron and a free neutron will convert to hydrogen, again being in a too low matter/energy density to continue. This is why Hydrogen plasma fusion doesn’t work. Deuterium & Tritium fusion will produce energy out because of the firestorm of neutrons liberated that convert to hydrogen. pg

  19. pg,
    Neutrons are more likely to be captured by a Nickel nucleus when they are traveling slowly (thermalized). All you need is a desk top thermal neutron generator to get all kinds of nuclear processes working on a domestic scale. Sounds easy until you try it!

    Great progress is being made on reducing the cost of thermal neutrons but the machines are still huge while the energy required to run them exceeds the energy one could hope to generate. The Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL uses a 1 MW proton beam to generate neutrons:

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    Just how is this giant sledgehammer useful in watch repair?
    Back in the 1950s we used small versions of these things to smash atoms and examine the resulting pieces. This was useless to generate useful energy, and it created a firestorm of nasty radiation.

    A fine example of what I call “Armstrong Engineering” Just get a bigger hammer and MAKE it work!

    What is needed is finesse, a design that works because it has to. No wasted motion or parts. Maybe as tiny as a metal atom and just enough outside energy bump to cause a change in energy states of a neutron/hydrogen atom. pg

  21. Steve C says:

    Do any of you practising physicists have any observations on these recent new investigations into quantum behaviour? – from Wired (originally from Quanta magazine), ‘Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?’

    There seem to be a few people around trying to get a more satisfactory interpretation than the Copenhagen one. The experiments look rather fun, but I say that as a lab tech rather than a theoretician.

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    @ Steve C; Long ago I visited the radiation labs at Berkley when they were some of the most advanced in the world. They were showing off for their prospective physics students. I was most impressed with the equipment and not their physics. lol Decided then, I’d rather be an engineer, and not a physicist. Engineers have to get it right or things won’t work. Theoreticians just make logical arguments based on assumptions and higher math. See:
    For a story told to me about the foundations of modern physics and the experiments that proved them. pg

  23. Giant machines like the SNS show how to reduce the cost of neutrons just as the Duke university HIGS project shows how to produce intense beams of tunable gamma rays.

    If one can use these expensive machines to do something useful you can bet that some bright spark will find a way to produce neutrons or gamma rays on a smaller scale.

  24. M Simon says:

    gallopingcamel says:
    6 July 2014 at 5:34 am

    Something very similar to a Farnsworth Fusion Reactor (not capable of net energy production) is used to produce neutrons on demand at a small scale.

    Bussard took this idea and rand with it (with some modifications).

  25. Graeme No.3 says:

    Raney nickel or similar? Finely divided nickel resulting from dissolving away the aluminium part of the alloy. It is then treated with small amounts of other metals to boost its catalytic activity. It readily absorbs hydrogen. Commercially available but check MSDS first.

    “Macroscopically, Raney nickel is a finely divided gray powder. Microscopically, each particle of this powder is a three-dimensional mesh, with pores of irregular size and shape of which the vast majority are created during the leaching process. Raney nickel is notable for being thermally and structurally stable, as well has having a large BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) surface area.

    Following the development of Raney nickel, other alloy systems with aluminium were considered, of which the most notable include copper, ruthenium and cobalt.[27] Further research showed that adding a small amount of a third metal to the binary alloy would promote the activity of the catalyst. Some widely used promoters are zinc, molybdenum and chromium. “

  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    Graeme No.3 says:
    6 July 2014 at 7:49 am
    Rossi claims his device does not use Raney Metal. BUT I think it may be something similar, based on copper and molybdenum. These showed up in assay of spent cartridges in amounts higher then I would expect. He does use sintered or ceramic based nickle powder of some form to create the power cartridges. FYI , Blanks for bearings of these materials can be purchased easily from metal supply houses. He claims that he enriches the cartridge material with ? that adds about 10% to the cartridge cost. pg

  27. M. Simon,
    Thanks for mentioning Bussard. Here is some wild speculation based on some of his ideas:

  28. Graeme No.3 says:


    Just a rough guess. Raney nickel is an alloy but the surface area is virtually all nickel. It is finely divided but not a nano material. A pure guess suggests a sub-micron size (based on pyrogenic silica 200 BET area and roughly 0.05 microns size, although then fused somewhat.

    It would be a fairly cheap way of getting metal in a finely divided state. Perhaps he has an alloy based on the ‘doped’ mention above. Ceramic based nickel? Do you mean a ceramic powder with a surface coating of nickel?

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Graeme; The material that is used is not an alloy but is glued, stuck together with some lower temperature material. If the nickle powder starts to fuse the reaction stops as the fine structure of it is destroyed. Some commenters have described it as a ceramic. Rossi has not, he always calls it a nickle powder. with additives.
    Sorry, Inventors rarely share all their secrets. Just like wizards, inventors expect you to earn your knowledge, just as they did.
    I have gathered all that he has chosen to share and can infer much from my own knowledge base. Mr Smith has added his own gatherings to his blog. In my own opinion this is a real, still quite crude and poorly understood phenomena. Definitely not like fission / fusion atomic energy that we have known. pg

  30. Rabe says:

    Your formulas look like mathjax. Have you seen

    Just a test

    $$v_{LZ} = {\frac{\partial}{\partial t}|E_2 – E_1| \over \frac{\partial}{\partial q}|E_2 – E_1|} \approx \frac{dq}{dt}$$

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