NASA Report: “Experimental Observations of Nuclear Activity in Deuterated Materials Subjected to a Low-Energy Photon Beam”

Thanks to the readers who commented about a NASA paper that has been posted on the LENR Forum here titled “Experimental Observations of Nuclear Activity in Deuterated Materials Subjected to a Low-Energy Photon Beam”.

The paper has also been published on Arxiv.org here. Here is the abstract:

Exposure of highly deuterated materials to a low-energy (nom. 2 MeV) photon beam resulted in nuclear activity of both the parent metals of hafnium and erbium and a witness material (molybdenum) mixed with the reactants. Gamma spectral analysis of all deuterated materials, ErD2.8-C36D74-Mo and HfD2-C36D74-Mo, showed that nuclear processes had occurred as shown by unique gamma signatures. For the deuterated erbium specimens, posttest gamma spectra showed evidence of radioisotopes of erbium (163Er and 171Er) and of molybdenum (99Mo and 101Mo) and by beta decay, technetium (99mTc and 101Tc). For the deuterated hafnium specimens, posttest gamma spectra showed evidence of radioisotopes of hafnium (180mHf and 181Hf) and molybdenum (99Mo and 101Mo), and by beta decay, technetium (99mTc and 101Tc). In contrast, when either the hydrogenated or non-gas-loaded erbium or hafnium materials were exposed to the gamma flux, the gamma spectra revealed no new isotopes. Neutron activation materials showed evidence of thermal and epithermal neutrons. CR-39 solid-state nuclear track detectors showed evidence of fast neutrons with energies between 1.4 and 2.5 MeV and several instances of triple tracks, indicating greater than 10 MeV neutrons. Further study is required to determine the mechanism causing the nuclear activity.

There are multiple authors listed, some of whom are from NASA agencies, others from private industry and other universities and organziations. What they report does not seem dissimilar to some other reports we have seen over the years — Gerard McEk mentioned that Holmlid is getting similar results using lasers instead of photon beams.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Note the data format and style gentlemen, I look forward to seeing LENR results from you folks in this style.
    NASA must know the preferred method for reporting fusion reaction results.

    This is a lovely little template.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      Although they are talking about nuclear fusion in the introduction, the results speak rather for neutron-based reactions – that’s not fusion (another difference to Holmlid, it seems).

    • HS61AF91

      Data format and style indeed important. I am focused on the Doktore or anyone else bringing a product to market that I can buy. So some time from now, we will see what approach yields the successful strategy. Whoever is first, the whole community of forward thinking dreamers will get to quench their thrust – with near free energy. And we, lowly souls hoping for energetic salvation, may well rejoice in this, in any successful iteration.

  • Gerard McEk

    This well written report shows indeed resemblance with Holmlid’s reseach, as I wrote. Because I guess Holmlid has more yield, his method is probably much more effective using his green laser. A good talk and a joined approach of this research of both NASA and Holmlid at al is probably very fruitful.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      If both effects were indeed comparable (answering this question would require thorough analysis, though), the difference in photon energy might give a hint. 2 MeV photons are about 900000 times more energetic than the photons in green light (and wavelengths are correspondingly shorter). Thus, it would seem than total energy is more important than photon energy or wavelength.

      On the other hand, the described experiment does not work with light hydrogen, whereas Holmlid claims to have observed both UDH and UDD (as far as I remember). That would reduce the comparability of both kinds of effects.

      • Warthog

        I suspect that Holmlid gets better results because his laser photons are “dancing in sync” (coherent light) while the NASA light beam is not. In molecular spectroscopy it is known that with coherent beams that a molecule can absorb multiple photons of the same wavelength through the same energy transition. Perhaps U-D and U-H bonds can do something similar, though they are bonds to the lattice and not strictly molecular.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    Maybe the explanation is that simple:

    [2]D + [A]X -> [1]H + [A+1]X

    This type of reaction is called “Oppenheimer-Phillips process”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppenheimer%E2%80%93Phillips_process

    Obviously, it could not work with light hydrogen. Instead of deuterium, 7Li might be a possible neutron source, as has been supposed by Carl Oscar Gullström in one of his early papers on the “Rossi effect”.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      On the other hand, in addition to the isotopic shifts they observed free neutrons, whose source would have to be identified. One might speculate about the possibility of an incomplete Oppenheimer-Phillips process, where the neutron moves away before the heavier nucleus can capture it. I have no idea if this is a realistic scenario, though.

  • HAL9000

    My favorite NASA quote: “Several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted,” says NASA scientist Dennis Bushnell, proving that “when the conditions are ‘right’ prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released.”

  • HAL9000

    While we argue here about how many atoms can dance on the head of a pin and search for a stray BTU in the dust bin, according to NASA, “windows are melting and labs are blowing up!” Why are we the last to know? LENR is demolishing property and we remain uninformed about this? I simply will not hear of it! Why are there no pictures of the carnage to share with the readers? What kind of shoddy journalism is this Frank?

    • Warthog

      Anecdotal evidence. Indicative, but “not science”. I feel the same way about the Pons/Fleischmann “runaway” reactor. WHY did they not take photos, if nothing else to document the damage for historical purposes?? AARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

      • Andreas Moraitis

        If I remember correctly, Brian Ahern said on Vortex that he saw a photo of the damage. However, even such a photo would have limited evidential value. That experiment ran for several months. Do we know how much deuterium has escaped into the atmosphere of the room in that period of time? I have no data for deuterium, but only 1 m^3 of light hydrogen would equal 3 kg of TNT – certainly enough to devastate a lab.

        • Warthog

          Any deuterium released into the room would NOT contribute to the melt-down (the incident was NOT an explosion in the lab). That was fueled wholly by the deuterium “loaded” into the 1cm x 1cm x 1cm palladium cube. The energy released to melt through the vessel, the Transite benchtop, and several inches into the concrete floor is far larger than the amount of chemical energy available from chemical combination of deuterium that could be loaded into the Pd block. Any oxidative chemical reaction with room air would also be rate limited by the ability of the O2 to even get into the Palladium matrix in the first place.

          Deuterium release over time cannot explain the result.

          • Andreas Moraitis

            It is correct that the amount of loaded deuterium would not have been sufficient to cause the observed damages. But it would have been enough to melt through the vessel, or cause it to break. Imagine that now (non-explosive) catalytic combustion of the ‘atmospheric’ deuterium started, keeping the palladium hot enough to burn through the lab bench and finally through the concrete of the floor. (Concrete disintegrates at about 1400…1500 C, Pd melts at 1555 C). There was certainly enough oxygen available (100 m^3 air contain 27 kg O2, for example).

            All this would not imply that P&F did not observe excess heat. After all, in other experiments the vessels remained intact. But the famous ‘incident’ could have had a pretty trivial cause. If so, it should be easily replicatable – under strict safety measures, of course!

          • Warthog

            See my comment about the rate-limiting of oxygen. Just not fast enough, even if the palladium is molten. Recombination of D2 with O2 can explain an erroneous heat measurement in a long-running calorimetric experiment…not this.

  • Zephir

    The 2 MeV photon beam is not low energy beam but a pretty hard gamma radiation capable to splitting the electron-positron pairs (which requires 5112 keV). This observation has therefore very little to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) subject.

    • The experiments clearly show nuclear events happening in deuterium-loaded material at energies at which they are not supposed to happen. This is close to the heart of LENR phenomena observed over the years.

      Something about being embedded in a material is either jacking up the hydrogen’s energy state or shielding its Coulomb resistance (or both).

      Even if their beam is spontaneously creating positrons, those would annihilate immediately with the first electron they encountered, recreating a 511 keV gamma that does not have enough energy theoretically to rip apart nuclei.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    Pretty interesting paper, because the experiment seems well done and it shows that some “impossible” nuclear reactions can occur in the solid materials. The paper is also important because the methods used to prepare the materials were straightforward so that repeatability of the experiment should be good, given access to linac and other infrastructure.

    One additional experiment that they could do is test all combinations of bare metal, hydrogen-loaded metal and deuterium-loaded metal, and hydrogen and deuteron paraffin. In particular, the combination bare metal and deuterium paraffin would be interesting.

    It would also be interesting to gradually reduce the beam energy and see when the phenomenon stops, if it stops.

    Estimation of “quantum efficiency” of the phenomenon would also be of interest: how large fraction of the initial gamma beam energy is turned to neutrons, and what is the neutron flux inside the test article.

    Are the results completely reliable? Pretty much, I guess, although the authors point out some possible pitfalls which they are apparently working on.