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On the idea of low-energy nuclear reactions in metallic lattices by producing neutrons from protons capturing “heavy” electrons

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Abstract

The present article is a critical comment on Widom and Larsens speculations concerning low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) based on spontaneous collective motion of protons in a room temperature metallic hydride lattice producing oscillating electric fields that renormalize the electron self-energy, adding significantly to the effective electron mass and enabling production of low-energy neutrons. The frequency and mean proton displacement estimated on the basis of neutron scattering from protons in palladium and applied to the Widom and Larsens model of the proton oscillations yield an electron mass enhancement less than one percent, far below the threshold for the proposed neutron production and even farther below the mass enhancement obtained by Widom and Larsen assuming a high charge density. Neutrons are not stopped by the Coulomb barrier, but the energy required for the neutron production is not low.