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Critique of Widom-Larsen Theory by Dr. Edmund Storms

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Excerpted from "The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction" by Edmund Storms

Widom and Larsen (Northeastern University and Lattice Energy, LLC) attempt to explain neutron induced transmutation by proposing a series of events, starting with formation of super-heavy electrons on an electrolyzing surface. These electrons make “cold” neutrons by combining with protons or deuterons. Next, the very low energy neutrons or dineutrons are proposed to react with elements (seeds) that are present and generate a range of transmutation products. The authors propose that the expected gamma radiation is absorbed while super-heavy electrons are present, thereby accounting for the absence of radiation from the expected (n,g_ reactions. They do not explain why gamma radiation is not detected once the super-heavy electrons stop forming.

At this time, previously made neutrons would continue to react and produce a decay chain of beta-gamma emitting isotopes. Observed behavior can only be explained if the half-life for super-heavy electron loss after production stops exactly matches the half-life for beta-gamma decay of the resulting radioactive isotopes, a very unlikely coincidence. They claim a match exists between a calculated cross-section for low-energy neutron capture and the distribution of elements reported by Miley (Figure 51). Based on the model, addition of neutrons to the seed and to all resulting isotopes would have to be extremely rapid so that only radioactive beta emitters of very short half-life are present in the sample. Presumably, these isotopes decayed away to produce the measured element distribution without their radiation being detected. Absence of detectable radioactivity after such a process is very unlikely. The NAE for this model would be the environment required to create the super-heavy electrons.

From ACS Proceedings, Chicago Meeting, 2007

A mechanism has been suggested recently by Widom and Larsen based on a series of especially extraordinary assumptions, as follows:

1. Energy provided by the voltage gradient on an electrolyzing surface can add incrementally to an electron causing its mass to increase. This implies the existence of energy levels within the electron able to hold added energy long enough for the total to be increased to 0.78 MeV mass equivalent by incremental addition. This idea, by itself, is extraordinary and inconsistent with accepted understanding of the electron.

2. Once sufficient energy has accumulated, the massive electron will combine with a proton to create a neutron having very little thermal energy. This implies that the massive electron reacts only with a proton rather than with the more abundant metal atoms making up the sample and does not shed energy by detectable X-ray emission before it can be absorbed.

3. This “cold” neutron will add to the nucleus of palladium and/or nickel to change their isotopic composition. This implies that the combination of half-lives created by beta emission of these created isotopes will quickly result in the observed stable products without this beta emission being detected.

4. The atomic number distribution of transmutation products created by this process matches the one reported by Miley (41) after he electrolyzed Pd+Ni as the cathode and Li2SO4+H2O as the electrolyte. This implies that the calculated periodic function calculated by the authors actually has a relationship to the periodic behavior observed by Miley in spite of the match being rather poor. In addition, residual beta decay has not been detected.

5. Gamma radiation produce by the neutron reaction is absorbed by the super-heavy electrons. This implies that the gamma radiation can add to the mass and/or to the velocity of the super-heavy electron without producing additional radiation. In addition, to be consistent with observation, total absorption of gamma radiation must continue even after the cell is turned off. If this assumption were correct, super-heavy electrons would provide the ideal protection from gamma radiation.

These assumptions are not consistent with the general behavior of the LENR phenomenon nor with experience obtained from studies of electron behavior. Indeed, these assumptions, if correct, would have extraordinary importance independent of cold fusion.