Protons, Deuterons and Neutrons

Copyright © 1998 Harold Aspden

Here we will describe the contest for survival, as between protons and deuterons, that is ongoing in water. There is no absolute winner. The proton proves itself dominant but declares a truce once it outnumbers the deuteron by factor of the order of 6,700. Until this state of equilibrium is reached, this is a heated contest. Our task is to explain why the deuteron is not the sole survivor, given that energy as well as a positive beta particle are released when two protons merge to create the deuteron. Here we have the secret of cold fusion. The technological consequence is the evidence we see from the Patterson cell, the subject of U.S. Patent No. 5,672,259. This was issued on September 30, 1997 and its full text is featured in the July-November 1997 issue of 'Infinite Energy' Nos. 15 and 16 at pp. 13-17.

The Patterson Invention

The feature of the Patterson invention that is important from the viewpoint of this author's commentary in these Web pages is the disclosure, in the patent specification, of an electrolytic cell through which water flows and which produces an amount of heat energy far in excess of the electrical energy input.

The disclosure is somewhat deceptive, because it explains how the cell contains tiny spherical beads of a polymer coated with a conductive metallic actinide material. The beads are trapped in a tube between two electrodes and water flows around them as it passes through the tube, there being a small voltage impressed between the electrodes. The 'deceptive' feature is the role played by the radioactivity in generating heat.

The primary thrust of the disclosure is to show how, in a matter of a few hours, the radioactive state of those actinide coatings decays through some three half-lives, from 150 to 20 counts per minute in the measure of radioactivity detected. There is the utility of the invention that the U.S. patent examiner would recognize, namely a technique for accelerating radioactive decay. It seems, however, that a cell operating in that manner is just running itself in as a producer of excess heat unrelated to the radioactive rate of decomposition, because, as the radioactivity goes down and down over the initial nine hours of the test reported, the current input can be increased, whilst always sustaining an excess heat energy generated over electrical input of some three-to-one.

Here then is a patent which tells the world something of interest concerning the accelerated deactivation of radioactive materials, but at the same time records experimental data which very clearly shows that 'cold fusion' is a reality.

Moreover, its specification contains the fascinating observation made under the heading 'ELECTROLYTE' which reads:

The preferred embodiment of water is that of either light water (H21O) or heavy water (H21O). The purity of all of the electrolyte components is of the utmost importance.
Now, what does that tell you? Simply that you can expect to generate heat from the conversion of hydrogen oxide into deuterium oxide or from the conversion of deuterium oxide into hydrogen oxide. It tells you, as clearly as anything can, that the two forms of water interact to find equilibrium only when the normal condition of water is reached, meaning when the two components, light water and heavy water, exist in the appropriate proportion. That is the proportion we know from the standard observations of abundance ratios as we see them in our Earthly environment.

For my part, I see here the very clear proof that the transmutation of protons into deuterons is not a one-way fusion process, but one involving the possibility of fission. It is a two-way process. I am not discounting the fact that deuterons in deuterium oxide could be involved in transmutations which form atomic nuclei of higher atomic number. That would be 'cold fusion' if that occurs in an electrolytic cell, but with that comes the dilemma concerning neutrons. Nuclear physicists think that a deuteron includes a proton and a neutron. They think that cold fusion with release of heat cannot occur unless neutrons are emitted and yet no neutrons are observed in the cold fusion process. So can it be that the deuterium oxide is simply converting into hydrogen oxide with release of heat? Or are we to assume that the idea that there is a neutron within a deuteron is just plain nonsense?

These are interesting issues and it is due time that nuclear physicists woke up to reality of the cold fusion developments. To help them to see the light on this subject I will now address a key question that they will inevitably raise. How can a deuteron, of lower mass than the combined mass of two protons, ever become two protons? This would defy the notion that mass has energy! It would be a process which contravenes all common sense. Energy is always conserved and all natural processes operate to shed energy and increase entropy. Well, Mr. Nuclear Physicist, in spite of all that you have to face the facts, as evidenced by the experimental findings reported in the Patterson patent. It seems that there can be fission, not just fusion, at the bottom end of the periodic table of atomic elements.

This is where Q.E.D., quantum electrodynamics, creeps into the picture and those 'gremlins' I mentioned earlier. Physicists need not be too wary here. I could refer to Q.C.D. instead of gremlins, meaning quantum chromodynamics, but that is all just 'mumbo-jumbo' talk for saying that Nature has a way of revealing its energy activity by materializing electrons and positrons and protons and antiprotons as if from nowhere. Nature is at work and it is trying to tell us something by drawing our attention to the effects which electricity can have on water, but only if that water is light water or heavy water, and not normal water!

Picture the Action!

Imagine a proton as a spherical charge form, shown in red below to signify that it is a positive charge. I have termed the 'bare' proton, as depicted, the '+H' particle.

You see, physicists can imagine things and I can point you at a proton devised by my imagination, but Mother Nature does not thrive on imagination. She is ever active and, when she gives birth, she has a way of creating positive or negative particles with equal probability, just as with male and female issue in the birth of humans. So I could expect Mother Nature to create a proton and an antiproton with equal probability, unless I could suggest a reason for proton dominance.

Let us picture both, the antiproton being depicted as a blue sphere to signify its negative electrical charge polarity.

Now Mother Nature seems also to create other 'life' forms, or rather 'matter' forms, namely electrons and positrons and these come in pairs as well. Physically they are much larger, some 1836 times the proton size, measured as a radius. You see, the energy of a sphere containing electric charge, and so mass, is inversely proportional to the radius bounding that charge. Protons have mass some 1836 times that of the electron. I think, therefore, that we can indulge in a little imagination when we picture a cloud of those electrons and positrons enveloping the proton and the antiproton.

The negative proton will capture a positron (I denote this +e):

but the resulting neutral entity so formed will be unstable because, well, I dare to tell you, there are here three variables and only two governing equations. Charge parity is conserved, but if there is a slight perturbation and the positron radius contracts as the antiproton radius expands, energy is not then conserved, so that neutral entity must decay.

Here I must confess to an inner wisdom concerning these fundamental charge particle groups. Let us say that Mother Nature whispered something in my ear. She said:

"Look! Given that all space is a sea of energy and that energy is conserved overall, and given that the material universe has its own share of energy as it sits in equilibrium with that unseen energy possessed by space, surely you can see that the space taken up by those spheres of charge is itself conserved. After all, the enveloping space is full of energy and has that energy distributed in a uniform way. You cannot squeeze it without displacing and compressing that energy and you must expect it to refuse to accommodate to your encroachment onto its territory."
The message was clear. The overall volume of those spheres of charge must be conserved when discussing deployment of energy in the matter frame. So if one sphere of charge expands then another must contract and somehow the energy must be conserved. A little applied mathematics then tells us that no two spheres of charge can satisfy that condition; it takes at least three!

Three variables, three radii and three governing equations, namely one prescribing energy conservation, one prescribing volume of space occupied and one prescribing a condition of minimal energy will result in a stable physical system.

We therefore expect the antiproton to capture two positrons:

If one positron expands slightly then the other can contract by very nearly the same amount, but there will be a slight energy imbalance involved and that, along with the space adjustment, can be taken up by the antiproton. However, as can now be seen, the particle with the negative H particle as its core unit has a positive charge overall. It is, in fact, a proton. The version with the positive H particle in its core unit is coupled with an electron and a positron:

but it has a positive charge overall. The ultimate picture which emerges is one in which the proton can exist transiently in three different states as energy is exchanged within the form of each of the two three-particle states and as between these states and the isolated single particle proton state (that +H particle):

These are denoted proton A, B and C and I will later discuss the energy deployment between these three states, but for the moment it suffices to say that state C is a very transient state, whereas states A and B dominate, each for approximately half of any period of time. The real proton, as we detect it, is constantly flipping between these three states. When created initially it is a bare proton, a state C +H particle, but then, to survive, in the particle jungle it develops its transition characteristics as a three-state particle form.

I remember a paper rejection, some 30 and more years ago, when I was developing these ideas of electrons and positrons clustering with H particles to form protons, deuterons, neutrons etc. I was told by a referee of a paper I had submitted for publication to one of the mainstream science periodicals that my hypothesis was false, because, apart from the prospect of mutual annihilation, Earnshaw's Theorem precluded such particle forms from forming stable clusters. Well, never mind Earnshaw's Theorem, which is false anyway if the particles are immersed in a continuum having its own electrical properties, I am not saying that my proton or my deuteron is stable, but simply saying that it is ever restless in that it jumps around between states, interacting with the activity of the quantum-electrodynamic background, but keeping its package of energy intact.

All very hypothetical, you might say! Well, that may be true, but physicists will tell you that the make-up of a proton is three quarks, but what they can tell you about quarks is not at all convincing. We have far more to offer as we proceed, beginning with the deuteron.

Picture the Deuteron

Here we have a very good clue from the fact that the deuteron has a magnetic moment that is approximately 6/7ths that of the proton. It needed a little decoding effort to decipher what this meant, but it amounted to discovering that the deuteron also has a three-state existence. For 2/7ths of the time is has the state A form depicted below, for 1/7th of the time it has the state B form depicted below and for 4/7ths of the time it has the state C form depicted below.

I know that this is a correct interpretation because I can work out how those electrons and positrons affect the energy of each of those three forms and I can then work out the average and so the mass-difference as between the deuteron and that of two protons. I get the precise value observed from measurements, and I mean precise, at the part per million level of measurement accuracy. See Hadronic Journal article 'The Theoretical Nature of the Neutron and the Deuteron' [1986d].

As is evident, there is no neutron, as such, in this picture. A neutron has no electric charge, or so physicists believe, so it has no role to play in this scenario. It is irrelevant to cold fusion, but our picture above is very relevant.

In the first place, you can see that, for a deuteron to convert into two protons, it must absorb a positron from somewhere. We are interested in cold fusion as induced by the use of electrodes fed with an electric current and so our picture is one where, by Q.E.D. action, an electron-positron pair is created and the electron is drawn away by entering the flow stream of current in an electrode. The positron is transiently available as the solitary unit of energy that can effect the transmutation of the deuteron into two protons. Is that really, possible, given that the deuteron has a mass lower than that of two protons by an amount well in excess of that of a solitary positron?

Well, indeed it is. I could say that it suffices to examine a transition captured at the moment when the intermediate deuteron state, state B depicted above, applies. In that state, which is one where the transient core body of the deuteron it exhibits no positive charge to repel that positron and when it has its transient state of no magnetic moment, the neutral core of the deuteron has a mass of 1.1245 electron mass units lower than that of two protons. In contrast, two protons, one in the lower energy state (that involving two positrons) and one in the intermediate state, need overall an energy that is 0.25 electron mass units below the nominal combined mass of two protons. That addition of a solitary positron can, therefore, suffice to trigger a transmutation.

Once triggered to create two protons, the intermediate proton state can capture an electron-positron pair from the Q.E.D. environment and we have the normal presence of two protons. A modest amount of heat would be shed in this deuteron to proton transition, amounting to the energy-equivalent of 0.1255 electron mass units. The Q.E.D. energy background would be in deficit, owing to it having shed an electron-positron pair to augment the matter state.

The picture just portrayed, however, is not really fully representative of the true situation, which is far more captivating in scientific terms.

To get the gist of this picture one needs to work out the mass-energy of each of those three core unit states of the deuteron. Referring to them in the sequence illustrated above as state A, B and C, respectively, the mass-energy can be estimated as:

State A: 2P - 1.375: Abundance 2: Field Energy 0
State A: 2P - 1.125: Abundance 1: Field Energy 1
State A: 2P - 1.250: Abundance 4: Field Energy 2
where P denotes the proton mass and the numbers are in units of electron mass. The relative abundance is indicated as being in the ratio 2:1:4 and by 'Field Energy' is meant the number of free electrons and/or positrons in immediately adjacent proximity, so as to be, in effect, a dedicated quantum-electrodynamic background component needed to sustain the transitions as the deuteron flips between its three states.

We will see later how this can all be verified by formal analysis. The point of interest, which I want to stress is that the weighted mean of those numbers indicating the mass of the deuteron core state is 2P-1.2679, whereas the weighted mean of the 'Field Energy' is one seventh of (1)(1)+(4)(2) or 1.2857. What this means is that the energy in that dedicated component of the quantum field background just exceeds the energy deficit as between the mass of the deuteron in comparison with two protons. In short, there is just enough energy local to the deuteron to promote the creation of two protons, with a very small amount to spare, not as much as we thought from the preliminary analysis, but enough to be meaningful in a 'cold fusion' experiment.

However, that is not the end of our story, because I now note that you can check that that number 1.2679 comes from computing one seventh of (2)(1.375)+(1)(1.125)+(4)(1.250), which is 71/56. Then, as I have pointed out in the main published paper of record in which this subject is discussed in detail, the paper 'The Theoretical Nature of the Neutron and the Deuteron' already mentioned:

The deuteron spin angular momentum is h/2(pi), so we can express the magnetic moment in nuclear magnetons simply by taking 6/7, multiplying by the usual g factor of 2 and dividing by the deuteron core mass in proton units. The formula for the deuteron magnetic moment is then:
(6/7)(2)/[2 - (71/56)/1836]
which is 0.857439. this is within one part in a million of the measured value of 0.857438 nuclear magnetons.

The measured value is based on a combination of four physical constants which have been measured to very high precision. They are:
(i) deuteron/proton spin magnetic moment ratio: 0.307012250(56)
(ii) electron/proton spin magnetic moment ratio: 658.2106880(65)
(iii) electron anomalous g/2 factor: 1.001159652200(40)
(iv) proton/electron mass ratio: 1836.152701(37)

take (iv), divide by (ii) and multiply by (i) and (iii) and you will obtain the number 0.8574384. Put (iv) instead of 1836 in the formula in the above quotation and you will obtain the number 0.8574389.

Now, believe me, this is a fantastic result! It was wonderfully satisfying to discover this simple picture of the deuteron as a particle flipping between three states so as to present a magnetic moment which one could calculate from data pertaining to the proton and the electron!

You have no choice but to accept such overwhelming confirmation of the picture of the deuteron presented above.

What about the Neutron?

Ah yes, you see that I am talking about deuterons without putting neutrons into the picture. Well, what do you know about the neutron. It has no electric charge and it is created when gamma radiation of sufficient energy hammers into the deuteron. The amount of energy needed is 1.293323(16) MeV, that figure in brackets representing the measurement uncertainty concerning the last two digits. So, what else do you know about the neutron? It is supposed to comprise quarks, as is the proton, but what else? Well, surprise, surprise, it has no electric charge but it has a magnetic moment, a very substantial magnetic moment! Surely that should not be if it really is a neutral particle that can build 'neutron stars'!

What is that magnetic moment? Well, in terms of nuclear magnetons, it is found by measurement to be -1.91304308(54). It is as if it is nearly twice the magnetic moment that one can assign to an antiproton!

Now take your pocket calculator and suppose the neutron, meaning whatever it is that we are looking at when we fire enough gamma radiation into the deuteron to release a proton and this neutral fireball of energy, is in truth an antiproton backed by 'Field Energy' seated in a positron plus a statistical quantum-electrodynamic presence of other electron-positron activity. Suppose it is that antiproton which exhibits that negative magnetic moment and apply the usual g-factor of 2 to explain that near-to-two figure. You can then immediately see that here is another case of a particle having a plurality of different states, in one of which it has consolidated into a truly neutral form by absorbing that loose positron.

The deuteron was neutral for one seventh of the time. The neutron, as a gyromagnetically-reacting particle subjected to a magnetic field, is a negatively charged antiproton for - what fraction of the time? You work it out! Keep guessing numbers until you eventually try 22 parts in 23. Work out the value of (2)(22)/(23) and what do you get? Answer: 1.913043478, a result identical to the value of the neutron magnetic moment as measured, being within the limits of measurement error, which are 0.28 parts per million!

So we are learning something about the neutron. It flips between states just like the deuteron and the proton, but it does so in a way which results in a 1 in 23 period when it is truly neutral.

Now surely, to find that we can decipher precision measurement data with such results is sufficient to convince the greatest skeptic that here we have a true picture of the scenario of the proton, the deuteron and the neutron. Well, of course, given this clue based on the number 23, deciphering the neutron to determine its four states becomes quite a simple exercise. we find that it spends its time in states A, B, C and D in the ratio: 17:2:3:1, D being the state in which its core unit becomes an antiproton in close partnership with a positron. I know that from the same kind of exercise we used above for the deuteron, the overall mass-energy computation. It leads to another convincingly precise result, but I leave it to you, the reader, to refer to that Hadronic Journal article 'The Theoretical Nature of the Neutron and the Deuteron' for such enlightenment.

Back to Cold Fusion!

The curious result we have obtained is that a system containing protons and deuterons can have a state of equilibrium without all of those protons fusing together in pairs to become deuterons, the reason being that deuterons have a field energy accompaniment which allows them to divide into two protons on occasion. In terms of mass, the deuteron is not as 'heavy' as the combined mass of two protons, but in terms of mass-energy and the quantum-electrodynamic field activity that dances in attendance, there is very little difference. We saw above that it was estimated as being 0.0018 of the mass-energy of the electron per deuteron. This is the difference between those two numbers 1.2857 and 1.2679.

So, imagine you are a miniature version of a microbe sitting close to a couple of protons in a cold fusion cell. Along comes an electron fed in from an electrode. The electron has a finite chance of finding itself entering the field energy zone of the protons and it gets entangled with a proton with the result that it becomes part of a neutral entity which couples with that other proton. We have the charge cluster that we can call the deuteron and the energy of 0.511 Mev, the rest-mass energy of the electron, is present and surplus to the mass-energy of those two protons. The protons, of course, do not exist in isolation. In a plasma they would be amongst a sea of electrons affording overall neutralization. In atoms, hydrogen atoms, there are the electrons of the K-shell and, if we are to form a deuterium atom, one of those electrons is surplus to requirements. It could even be seen as a substitute for that electron we supplied from that electrode. In any event, we are dealing here in electron-mass quanta and that tells us that the quantum electrodynamic energy background is involved.

Somehow those deuterons can form from the fusion of two protons and somehow a deuteron can convert back into two protons. We need not, and probably cannot, understand all the details of the processes involved. All we can do is to be guided by the facts of experiment. We are considering cold fusion and are guided by experimental claims, well knowing that there are 'experts' who dispute the evidence. What they cannot dispute, however, is the fact that there is equilibrium between light water and heavy water in the world's oceans and there seems not to be an ongoing generation of heat in the sea. I say 'seems not' because I assume that if the sea were to be producing heat by nuclear activity that would have been discovered, but that could be an open question.

So how can we advance further in our question to understand the transmutations of protons and deuterons? Answer: 'Simply by deriving theoretically the ratio of protons to deuterons in normal water.'

The measured ratio is 6701:1 or 1492 deuterons per ten million protons. The theoretical ratio P/D, which can be deduced from the picture of protons and deuterons presented above, can be formulated as:

P/D = (Sp)NQp/(Sd)nQd
Sp is the factor signifying the incidence of state when a transition can occur involving the proton (this having the value 2 because there are two equally probable states,
Sd is the factor signifying the incidence of state when a transition can occur involving the deuteron (this having the value 7 because the deuteron is in its vulnerable neutral core state for one seventh of the time,
N is the number of protons that need to be subjected simultaneously to the transition stimulus of the energy fluctuations in the environmental field background in order to secure the energy balance conditions needed to assure a transmutation,
n is the number of deuterons that need to be subjected simultaneously to the transition stimulus of the energy fluctuations in the environmental field background in order to secure the energy balance conditions needed to assure a transmutation,
Qp is the number of protons created by collective action in a transition event, and
Qd is the number of deuterons created by collective action in a transition event.

The values of N, n, Qp and Qd are 35, 8, 18 and 16, respectively. The analysis involved in proving this is presented in Energy Science Report No. 5 entitled 'Power from Water: Cold Fusion: Part I', See: Report No. 5. That report was published on April 26, 1994. It had been intended to issue a Part II Report on this subject, devoted to the technological features incorporated in the author's efforts to secure patents in this field. In the event, however, the story concerning patents is now being recorded here in these Web pages. Possibly, in due course, the main substance of that Part I Energy Science Report No. 5 will be added to these Web pages.

Substitution of these numbers in the above expression, along with the values of 2 and 7 for Sp and Sd, respectively, gives the theoretical ratio:

6705: 1
which is 1491 deuterons protons per ten million protons. This is another very convincing feature of the multi-state proton-deuteron theory under discussion.

The time has now come when I must close this Essay. The next Essay, No. 11, will concentrate attention on the practical prospects for regenerating energy in our Earthly environment:

The Maxwell Demon: a 21st Century Prospect

Harold Aspden