[Ed. note: Dr. Akito Takahashi of Osaka University provided the following critique of the Widom-Larsen theory to New Energy Times. His critique was presented in the paper "Progress in Condensed Matter Nuclear Science" and published in the proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (p. 21-23, World Scientific, 2006). It is excerpted here. Widom and Larsen have declined the request for a rebuttal.] (Source: New Energy Times)
1) Production cross section of heavy electrone* is not given, so that we can not argue on density of very-low-momentum-neutron (VLMN) available in matter, taking into account of 10 min beta-decay of neutrons and assumed neutron-conversion cross section (see 3). If neutron density were greater than 1E+16 per cm^2 on surface, neutron reaction rate with H and host metal-nuclei were realistic level as experiments claim. According to neutron decay and inelastic phonon-scattering with lattice vibration, which is up-scattering to higher neutron energy, we need to estimate mean existing time of VLMN on surface. (I guess VLMNs get phonon energy with several barns of cross section and very rapidly in less than one micro-second- leak out.)
2) Proton (deuteron) on metal surface lattice vibrates with (1/2pi)h-omega, as Einstein oscillator, and has recoil energy of about 30 meV. VLMN converted from proton should conserve this 30 meV as kinetic energy which is a little more than averaged (thermal equilibrium) energy of 25 meV in media at room temperature. (Einstein oscillator can have higher zero-point energy than Debye oscillators of metal atoms.)
3) Cross section for p + e* to n + neutrino is not given. I think this cross section (over threshold energy as Widom-Larsen show) should be very much small, on the order of 1E-26 of usual strong interactions. And neutrino here is different from electron-neutrino and muon-neutrino. This cross section (or transition matrix) estimation is key problem for making the Widom-Larsen theory realistic!
4) Li-6 + n to He-4 + t + 4.8 MeV channel has about 1000 barns at En=25 meV, compared with very small cross section 4E-2 barns for n-capture, Li-6 + n to Li-7 + gamma. And Li-7 + n to Li-8 to Be-8 + beta to He-4 + He-4 + e process has 4E-2 barns at En= 25 meV, only. So, it is well known that Li-6 + n to He-4 + t + 4.8 MeV is predominant channel! Since reaction rate per neutron flux is (cross section)x(velocity) and cross section at lower energy than 30 meV has 1/v law, all reaction rates keep constant according to the change of momentum or kinetic energy. So that, even at very much low energy, reaction rate does not increase so. I think Widom-Larsen misunderstand these points.
5) If p + e* state exists, it should have transition to mini-atom orbit which should emit photons greater than 13.6 eV of H-atom ground state. (This has some sort of relation to Randy Mills' sub-orbital quantum state, hydrino!) We need to estimate life time of e* becoming heavy by Widom-Larsen's oscillating electro-magnetic plasmon interaction on surface.
6) If hard gamma-rays were totally absorbed by e*, we can easily test using a standard gamma-ray source to measure gamma-peak attenuation through the sample metal-hydride surface. We have no data for Compton scattering with e*, which they assume very much large to neglect gamma-electron processes with metal-atoms having usually much larger photo-electric, Compton and pair-creation cross sections compared with those for hydrogen atom. (Source: New Energy Times)
7) We know, dde*(mass=208m-electron), namely muonic dd-molecule does not emit low energy neutrons (but 2.45 MeV neutron by d-d fusion), although Widom-Larsen theory suggests dde* to d + n+ n break-up.