From: Talbot Chubb
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:13:30 EST
Subject: critique of Widom-Larsen
A .doc file of this letter is attached.
This is a private communication. Please don't associate it with my name. This is NOT ON THE RECORD. I don't want to discuss it with the authors.
I looked at the Widom-Larsen (W-L) paper for someone else.
The W-L theory does not seem to describe F-P fusion since it involves the creation of neutrons. No neutrons are observed in pure [Fleischmann-Pons] fusion.
F-P fusion is essentially radiationless, except for production of a small amount of tritium under some conditions. Neutron absorption is accompanied by prompt energetic particle emission and/or by creation of radioactive elements which are not observed in either F-P fusion or [Yasuhiro] Iwamura transmutations.
W-L theory claims to reverse neutron beta decay. The only known [sic] way of reversing beta decay without using particle impact reactions is by creation of very high matter density. The densities required to reverse neutron beta decay are in the neutron star range, or the muon-catalyzed fusion range. The latter is 107 higher than the density in metals, hence not achievable inside a metal. Also, high-density fusion always results in the copious emission of energetic neutrons and protons. (Source: New Energy Times)
W-L theory seems to be unrelated to the high "effective mass" concept of metal physics. Being skeptical, I worried about possible confusion. W-L did not make a mistake in this area. In solid state theory there seem to be a number of varieties of effective electron masses m*, defined the ratio m*/me as needed to bring many-body metal theory into the same functional form that fits a more classical theory.
Ashcroft and Mermin on their page 48 of their textbook discuss specific heats, designated by g. At the bottom of the page, they caution the reader: "Since the theoretical value of g is proportional to the density of levels at the Fermi level, which in turn is proportional to the electronic mass m, one sometimes defines a specific heat effective mass m* so that m*/m is the ratio of the measured g to the free electron g. Beware of identifying this specific heat effective mass with any of the many other effective masses used in solid-state theory. See for example, the index entries under 'effective mass'.) ". Thus, the effective masses of solid state physics have nothing to do with the energy-equivalent masses of mc2.
The W-L paper you sent me seems to start with the assumption that one can create a heavy electron in the mc2 sense. The mass O(m,~) of Widom and Larsen's heavy electron is defined by ratio b = O(m,~)/m, where m is the electron mass (Eq. 7).
Referring to an earlier paper they say the (O(m,~) - m) increase in mass is created by a mass renormalization process. They postulate that the electron mass increase (O(m,~) - m) is greater than ~ 1.3 MeV/c2. This seems unrealistic. Such an energized W-L electron should escape from the metal. In the text above Eq. 7, W-L say that there are strong radiation fields. One doesn't see the expected strong x-ray emission.
Basing a cold fusion theory on the weak force seems unrealistic. The weak force requires W bosons. The mass of each W boson is 80.4 GeV/c2. Borrowing energy to meet this energy requirement means a virtual boson lifetime about 105 times shorter than the uncertainty time associated with neutron-minus-proton mass.
Based on this thinking, a strong force reaction would be 105 times faster than a weak force reaction. My point is that [REDACTED]Fermi Golden Rule reaction rate calculation in [REDACTED]1991 Fusion Technology paper is a strong force calculation. [REDACTED]'s strong force reaction rates are in the right range to fit the maximum power density generation rates observed by F-P. Weak force reactions would be too slow.
Based on the above, the W-L theory is incompatible with physics as I know it.