This website contains other cold fusion items.
Click to see the list of links

370) What is going on?

Ludwik Kowalski

Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA
June 11, 2009


1) What follows is a message I posted on the private list for CMNS researchers. It a reply to a comment on my ongoing attempt to verify Oriani’s claim that pits he observes are indeed reproducible on demand. Three other researches are going to make the same attempt this year. I will certainly have a unit devoterd to this cooperative project. I am showing this message because it leads nicely to updating of the situation with SPAWAR-type experiments. I wrote:

“Yes, the first question is hard to answer because we do not know how particles are emitted. I suppose they are emitted continuously during electrolysis. But that might not be so. One thing, however, is certain--one long experiment will not produce less tracks than an experiment lasting only three days. Your comment about not counting tracks outside the o-ring was a useful reminder. Your ICCF14 paper reported tracks on the "other side" of CR-39. The side facing air, rather than mylar and the electrolyte, might contain tracks due to radon in air.

There are so many things to study, once results become reproducible on demand. Another parameter to investigate would be the effect of magnetic field, as in SPAWAR experiments. Showing that presence of magnetic field changes the density of excessive tracks significantly would be a very convincing argument against many artifacts. In the last paper SPAWAR people show how magnets are used to keep hold pieces together. I would very much like to know if their earlier observations (strong effect of magnetic and electric fields of production of tracks) were confirmed by more recent experiments. Perhaps Pamela will tell us something about this (I have strong neodymium magnets, ready to be tried).”


2) Two days passed and no one responded. This prompted me to post another message. I wrote: “Dear all, the most recent SPAWAR publication, at:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

is worth reading and discussing on this list. About 90% of previously-observed pits disappeared when a thin mylar film was inserted between the cathode and the CR-39 detector. That simplifies the analysis of the remaining pits; they do not overlap as much as before. The mylar film absorbs  alpha particles with energies up to 1.45 MeV. The previous hypothesis, that most pits are due to alpha particles of about 1 MeV, is thus rejected. The current thinking is that "“the majority of the particles formed as a result of Pd/D codeposition are 0.45-–0.97 MeV protons,  0.55-–1.25 MeV tritons,  1.40-–3.15 MeV 3He and/or  1.45-3.30– MeV alphas."”

This conflicts with results from another codeposition experiment, described in Section 5 of:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/KowalskiLcommentson.pdf

A mylar film, of equal thickness was used in that earlier experiment. But results were dramatically different. First, the number of pits was orders of magnitude smaller. Second, the pits were identified as protons,  suspected to be produced by 2.5 MeV neutrons. Is this a real discrepancy or are the different results (from two presumably identical codeposition experiments) due to something different in how the experiments were performed? Knowing what made the difference seems to be very important. Were magnets used in both experiments? “


3) After posting the above I started to read the now-published proceedings from Catania conference. Then I posted this message:

“This question is answered on page 182 of Catania proceedings. No external electromagnetic field was used in SPAWAR-type experiment performed at SRI. The last paper of Pamela et al., on the other hand, shows that two magnets were used in their experiment (see the first link above). It seems that the difference (eliminating only about 90% of pits versus eliminating at least 99.9% of pits, by mylar) is due to the magnet. This is the only logical conclusion, provided experimental results are indeed reproducible on demand. What else can be responsible for the dramatic difference? I tentatively translation "200 tracks in 15 days of electrolysis" into "at least 99.9% pits were eliminated by mylar." Is this acceptable?

P.S.
(a) Actually, the magnetic field is not the only parameter that has a  dramatic effect on the number of tracks created in SPAWAR-type experiments. Nearly all tracks disappear when D2O, used to make the electrolyte, is replaced by H2O, and when PdCl2, also used to make the electrolyte, is replaced by CuCl2. These are extremely powerful arguments against many suspected artifacts. Details are in Section 1 of

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

(b) Why is the report by Lipson, Tanzella et al. not  even mentioned by Pamela et al. in their paper

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

published two years later? Is there a good reason for ignoring what was independently reported in Catania? If so then please let us know.

(c) Who else, besides the SRI team, continued replicating SPAWAR-type experiments, after phase one of The Galileo Project?  We have an ideal situation, at least three parameters influencing the unexplained nuclear activity, have been identified. Perhaps it is time for initiating phase two of that project.”


4) I am still hoping that Pamela, or someone else from SPAWAR team will comment on what I wrote. Meanwhile, one CMNS researcher (Ed Storms) posted the following observation: “

“You should consider that the radiation produced by SPAWAR conditions is not produced by the same conditions that produce heat and helium. In other words, the conditions determine the nuclear product. Consequently, this experiment says nothing about the other aspects of CF.

When neutrons are detected, they are always produced at a very low rate compared to tritium and even lower compared to helium.  In fact, these three products appear to have no relationship to each other. Helium seldom occurs with tritium or neutrons. Tritium and neutron can occur at the same time, but with a t/n ratio that is highly variable with an average near 10^6.  In other words, the conditions giving the different nuclear products should not be used in theories to explain all nuclear products. The SPAWAR conditions are producing the least active of the possible nuclear reactions.”


5) Responding to the above, I wrote: “This might be true. But ‘the least active’ does not bother me. We are not yet at the stage at which scientific understanding can lead to useful devices. Reproducibility on demand, confirmed in phase one of The Galileo Project, seems to be more important, at this time. Information from experiments that are not reproducible is not very reliable. What other experiments, demonstrating presence of unexplained nuclear particles, reached the same status as SPAWAR-type experiments, as far as reproducibility on demand is concerned?”

Responding to Ed Storms, a theoretically-inclined researcher (Andrew Meulenberg) posted several messages about significance of “the least active.” I am not going comment on their ongoing debate. But here is how Ed responded to my message above: “My point Ludwik, is that an effect, although reproducible, must be applied properly to understand CF.  I suggest this result may be caused by a mechanism that has no relationship to the main CF effect. While it is unique and gets people's attention, it may not give any insight into the major reaction, which is helium-heat production. In other words, people may be chasing a distraction even though this distraction is interesting from a scientific point of view.”

Here is my reply: “My recollection is that excess heat was measured in earlier SPAWAR-type experiments. Is this correct? In my opinion, any electrolysis, based on D2O, is a potential candidate for understanding helium-heat production. Other CMNS reactions, described in your book, are also worth studying”

Ed responded “Although heat was claimed, my efforts to replicate this claim have revealed many problems with such a measurement. I don't think this claim can be accepted until it is replicated at higher levels when these problems are eliminated.”

I wrote: “Scott Little made an offer to measure excess heat with his sensitive instrument for other researchers. If I were Pamela, I would bring the cell to Texas and would perform at least two experiments inside Scott's calorimeter. The instrument is probably available on short notice. It has more than enough space for several SPAWAR cells, used at the same time. They can be connected in series.”

In another message I wrote: “What would I do if I were a powerful NSF director? I would release the following solicitation for proposals: "It has been reported that SPAWAR-type CMNS experiment, demonstrating a nuclear process triggered by electrolysis, reached the level of reproducibility on demand. To verify this claim, and to promote further research, NSF is now willing to support further investigations. Financial support for five grants, $50,000 each, is available to qualified scientists. Please submit your proposals as soon as possible; the deadline is December 30, 2009."

6) Several hours later I asked another question: “Another question to authors of paper

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

I have no doubt that pits shown in Figure 6 resemble tracks of nuclear particles. Looking more carefully, I see that sizes of dark pits in Figure 6, are much larger than sizes of pits in Figure 7.

All pits in Figure 7 are due to alpha particles (of several energies). The photo in Figure 6a and all photos in Figure 7, cover an area whose height is 100 microns. Unfortunately, the magnification 500 is specified for the Figure 6a only. Should I assume that pictures in Figure 7 were taken under the same magnification as the picture in Figure 6a? If not then what was the magnification for pictures in Figure 7?

7) We were informed that magnification was 500, as I assumed.

8) My next post: “Please tell me what is wrong with the following argument.

a) Both Figure 6a and Figure 7d are self-calibrated (by 100 micron arrows along borders). Therefore diameters of pits, shown on these figures, can be determined independently of each other, and independently of magnifications under which the pictures were taken.
b) I zoomed on a dark pit in Figure 6a (near the upper right corner); that pit is due to a post-electrolysis particle. Then I determined its size on my screen (in millimeters). After that, under the same zoom, I determined the size of the largest pit in Figure 7d (also in millimeters on my screen). Pits in Figure 7d are due to alpha particle of very low energy; they were nearly stopped by a mylar filter of 24 microns.
c) I divided the first size by the second size and the ratio happened to be 2.0. I concluded that post-electrolysis pits are typically twice as large as pits due to alpha particles of very low energy.

The sizes could have been expressed in microns (by measuring the length of the 100 micron arrow on my screen). But I do not think that this is necessary; I am interested in ratios of sizes not in individual sizes expressed in microns. Where am I wrong?

P.S.

d) Who else can confirm that sizes of pits due to alpha particle, recorded two different batches of Fukuvi CR-39 material, can occasionally differ by as much as a factor of two, under the same etching conditions? I would certainly noticed this, using Fukuvi chips from different batches for several years. My chips are also irradiated with alpha particles, at a little corner spot. The first thing I always do is to look at that spot, to verify that etching was successful. 

e) Unless convinced by missing information, I will continue claiming that dark pits in Figure 6a are about two times larger than pits on Figure 7d. 

9) Let me review the evolving interpretations, based on reproducible on demand SPAWAR data.

a) The first hypothesis was that  "copious pits" are due to alpha particles of several MeV (which was not consistent with my own successful replication results, under The Galileo Project. The pits at the little corner spot were 1.7 times smaller than typical post electrolysis pits.

b) The second interpretation, emerged after our Catania conference, nearly two years ago, was that pits are due to alpha particles of about 1 MeV. Please confirm or deny that this resulted from information provided by F. Tanzella et al. As far as I know, they were the first to use a thin mylar filter in a co-deposition experiment. 

c) The interpretation presented in the most recent SPAWAR paper (April 2009), based on new information, is different. Some tracks are now attributed to protons and tritons while others are attributed to 3He and alpha particles with energies between 1.5 and 3.5 MeV. 

d) Changing interpretations, after learning more from new experiments, is a sign of health, especially in our situations. Taking (c) for granted, one is led to believe that large pits in Figure 6a are due to alpha particles. That is why I expected sizes of pits in Figure 6a be the same as sizes of pits in Figures 7e and 7d. 

e) But dark pits in Figure 6a seem to be twice as large as pits due to alpha particles of 1.5 to 3.5 MeV. How can this be interpreted? The only thing I know is that pits due to heavier ions, such as fission fragments, are about two times larger than pits due to alpha particles. Yes, it is crazy to think about fission. But this is not less crazy than thinking about fusion. Reproducible acts, should always be respected. Correct interpretation will emerge, sooner or later. I think that we are making progress. 

f) The new design of SPAWAR electrolytic cell, shown in Figure 1 of

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

seems to be perfect for replacing the CR-39 chip with a commercially-available silicon detector. That is what I would recommend to do next. ”


Let me summarize the most recent SPAWAR paper, available at

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

That paper, submitted on January 15 , was published in April 17, 2009. Suppose my note is submitted tomorrow (June 12); would it be published in the middle of September? That would three weeks before our next conference (ICCF15).

a) The authors remind us that CR-39 detectors are widely used in hot fusion research. Their reference 13 points to a recent review article. After describing previous uses of CR-39 in CMNS research, they describe their own codeposition method. Here is a quote: “In these experiments, a non-hydriding cathode substrate, such as Au, Pt, or Ag wire, is placed in direct contact with a CR-39 detector. The cathode is then placed in a solution of PdCl2 and LiCl in D2O. When cathodically polarized, Pd metal plates out on the cathode in the presence of deuterium gas. At the end of these experiments, tracks were observed along the entire length of the cathode. The density of tracks was greater than that obtained for the Pd wire experiments indicating that the nanostructures created as the result of Pd/D co-deposition exhibit greater activity than bulk Pd.”

b) What follows is a description of control experiments. First they verified that cell components are not contaminated with an alpha-radioactive substance. Their electrolyte consists of PdCl2 and LiCl. They showed that PdCl2 is essential; an experiment conducted without that substance did not produce tracks on the CR-39 detector. That experiment convinced them that tracks are not due to D+ ions reacting with CR-39 material. In some experiments PdCl2 was replaced by CuCl2. No tracks were produced. Track formation rate was reduced by four orders of magnitude when heavy water is replaced with light water. These important observations are then used to argue agains suspected artifacts.

c) I would like to know what the track density was when electrolyte was made from light water. Is it comparable with what was observed by Oriani? In an experiment lasting three days he often observes at least hundred tracks per square centimeter. How as the “four orders of magnitude” estimated from experiments in which counting of tracks was practically impossible, due to overlapping? The same question can be asked the effect of th e mylar filter on the number of recorded tracks. They say that ~90% of particles were stopped in mylar. How was this estomated? I suspect it is just a reasonable guess. It may be 90% and may be 99%. Both numbers show that most particles were stopped.

d) Their electrolytic cell, made from butyrate plastic, has a hole, civered with a thin mylar window. “A silicone-based cenent was used to epoxy that film to the flat cell surface. (I did not know that the word epoxy can be used as a verb. In my limited vocabulary, epoxy is the name of a very strong glue.) Two strong neodymium magnets are used to keep the CR-39 detector very close to the mylar film. A rubber band would probably be eqaually effective. Based on what SPAWAR people published earlier, I will assume that the main purpose of using magnets was to create a magnetic film inside the cell. But that aspect is not emphasized in this paper. In an earlier paper they reported that, with a nickel cathode, tracks were produced only when magnetic field was appled. This is an extremly important discovery--no tracks are formed unless PdCl2, D2O, and magnetic field are present.

e) Etching of chips after electrolysis, and microscopic examinations of pits are described in Section 2.4. In addition to human examination of pits they used an automated scanning track analysis system. In this case decisions about what to count and not to count is made by sophisticated software. A scanning electron microscope was used to observe the surface of gold cathode after electrolysis.

f) Here the description of the electrolysis protocol: “Typically 20–25 mL solution of 0.03 M palladium chloride and 0.3 M lithium chloride in deuterated water is added to the cell. Palladium is then plated out onto the cathode substrate using a charging profile of 100 microA for 24 h, followed by 200 microA for 48 h followed by 500 microA until the palladium has been plated out. This charging profile assures good adherence of the palladium on the electrode substrate. After the palladium has been electrochemically
plated out, the cathodic current is increased to 1 mA for 2 h, 2 mA for 6 h, 5 mA for 24 h, 10 mA for 24 h, 25 mA for 24 h, 50 mA for 24 h, 75 mA for of 0.4 cm2. Given the amount of plating solution placed in the cell, the density of Pd is estimated to be 9*1020 to 1.1*1021>/sup> Pd atoms/cm2.

g) Next section, named “Results and discussion,” shows photographs of what was actually observed. Figure 4.1, for example, shows that pits near the cathode no longer overlap as strongly as in the case of experiments conducted without mylar. I have no doubt that pits shown if Figure 6 resemble tracks of nuclear particles. But what kind of particles are they? Looking more carefully, I see that sizes of dark pits in Figure 6, are much larger than sizes of pits in Figure 7. All pits in Figure 7 are due to alpha particles (of several energies). The photo in Figure 6a and all photos in Figure 7, cover an area whose height is 100 microns. Unfortunately, the magnification 500 is specified for the Figure 6a only. Should I assume that pictures in Figure 7 were taken under the same magnification as the picture in Figure 6a? If not then what was the magnification for pictures in Figure 7?

11) Another appeal for a clarification (appended on 6/23/2009)
On June 19, 2009, I posted this message on the Internet list for CMNS researchers

Waiting for clarifications, I would like to reconstruct recent history of experiments said to demonstrate a nuclear effect due to electrolysis. I will begin The Galileo Project (ignoring very important earlier publications). Please correct me if something is  wrong.

a) SPAWAR team started using CR-39 detectors in codeposition experiments. The discovered a large number of pits said to be due to  nuclear projectiles.

b) The Galileo Project, to confirm presence of reported SPAWAR-type pits, was organized by Steve Krivit.

c) Most participants, including Richard Oriani and myself, independently confirmed presence of such pits.

d) Detailed investigations convinced Oriani, that dominant SPAWAR-type  pits are due chemical corrosion, as he reported on this list.

e) Instead of using the codeposition method, invented by SPAWAR team,  Richard returned to his old method (using Li2SO4 electrolyte based on light water). But he borrowed one element of SPAWAR design; his  cathode was put next to CR-39. To minimize a chance of corrosion,  Richard protected the CR-39 by a layer of Mylar. The layer's thickness  was six microns; this corresponds to the range of alpha particles of  about 1.5 MeV.

f) Meanwhile SPAWAR team continued studying pits resembling tracks of  nuclear projectiles, and publishing results. Their report was  presented at the ACS meeting in 2007. It was followed by a publication  in a refereed journal (The European Physics Journal; Applied Physics).  That paper can be downloaded from:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBossuseofcrinp.pdf

g) Ludwik Kowalski, one of several participants in The Galileo Project, also observed SPAWAR type pits. His first report was also  published at the ACS 2007 meeting. But he presented evidence that  dominant pits could not be attributed to alpha particles, or to less  massive projectiles.  That interpretation was also published in The  European Physics Journal; Applied Physics. The paper can be downloaded  from:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/KowalskiLcommentson.pdf

h) Arguments against that interpretation were developed in another  paper, published by SPAWAR team:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBossreplytocom.pdf

i) Another team of CMNS researchers, Francis Tanzella et al., also  conducted a SPAWAR type experiment. But, like Oriani, they used Mylar  to protect the CR-39 chip, as reported at out Catania Workshop  (October 2007). Their protected CR-39 chip was exposed to the cathode  for 15 days. Only about 2000 pits were recorded. In other words, at  least 99.9% of pits seen without a Mylar filter were eliminated. What  remained, however, was much higher than on the control chip. The 2000  pits were identified as protons, with energies close to 2 MeV. That  number of pits seems to be consistent with numbers of pits observed by Oriani.

j) SPAWAR team also started protecting their CR-39 detectors with Mylar films of six microns. This was reported in their 2009 paper,  downloadable from:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MosierBosscharacteri.pdf

That report states that a Mylar filter eliminated only about 90% the  previously observed pits. Their analysis of pit sizes resulted in the  following conclusion: "the majority of the particles formed as a result of Pd/D codeposition are 0.45–0.97 MeV protons, 0.55–1.25 MeV tritons, 1.40–3.15 MeV  3He and/or 1.45–3.30 MeV alphas” No reference to Tanzella's experiment was made in the last publication.

k) Richard Oriani was not successful in trying to publish results of  his experiments in a refereed journal. But his earlier results were presented at our Catania workshop (October 2009).

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/368TGP_oriani.pdf

l) Ludwik Kowalski was able to confirm reality of clusters of tracks, reported by Oriani. But results were not reproducible on demand. That  was also reported at our Catania workshop (October 2009).

m) Motivated by The Galileo Project, Ludwik Kowalski tried to find CMNS researches willing to replicate Oriani-type experiments. This  initiative was named The Curie Project. Unable to succeed, he appealed to teachers (on the Phys-L list for physics teachers) and found three participants. Results from the four ongoing studies, including his  own, will probably be known before ICCF15.


But the list remained silent, conrary to my expectation. On June 22 I made another appeal, to break the silence. Quoting the above I added:

n) I forgot to include another very important piece of data. Looking at the first two lines of Oriani's first table in:

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/368TGP_oriani.pdf

I see that he also performed two SPAWAR-type experiment in which CR-39 were protected from the cathode. The first experiment lasted 168 hours (7 days) and produced 284 tracks/cm2 on the side facing the cathode and 150 tr/cm2 on the other side. The second experiment lasted 172 hours (7.2 days) and produced 156 tracks/cm2 on the side facing the cathode and 160 tr/cm2 on the other side. As far as I know, Richard was using the same CR-39 from Fukuvi that I am using (background ~13 tr/cm2).

The total number of tracks he observed was probably close to 750*4=3000, where 4 cm2 is the total area over which tracks were observed.  Like in Tanzella's case, the total number of observer tracks was much higher than the background. And Richard's 3000 number is surprisingly close to 2000 tracks found on Tanzella's Chip #7. Each of these two numbers is probably orders of magnitude smaller than the 10% of the remaining tracks, observed on SPAWAR chips, as described in the most recent SPAWAR paper.

What else should be mentioned in my summary? Is the discrepancy between what was seen on Tanzella's Chip #7, and what was published recently by SPAWAR, real or is it apparent? Please share with us what you know, and what you think.

Appended on 6/25/2009

Why is no one responding to my questions about the apparent discrepancy between the new SPAWAR results (CR-39 was protected with mylar) and results from a similar SRI experiment (F. Tanzella et al) and from two similar experiments of R. Oriani? All participants, including Russian scientists, are on this list. Do authors and coauthors of reports know something that I do not know?

This sudden silence reminds me of another episode of silence. This was in 1940, when scientists decided not to publish results connected with nuclear fission. They realized that a chain reaction could possibly be used to produce a new weapon. They did not want Germans to benefit from research conducted in other countries. I do not think that SPAWAR-type experiments are already yielding practically useful (patentable) results. But who knows; they are in a miltary lab. Perhaps they received an order to stop sharing. But who knows; perhaps this can explain silence.

P.S. How many people on our list know that conspicuous silence about nuclear fission research (in 1940) was noticed by a Russian scientist G. Flyorov? Guessing the reason, he wrote a letter to Stalin and provided a possible explanation. This was in April of 1942, at the early stages of Manhattan project. Soviet governmental preoccupation with nuclear fission was probably triggered by this letter. K. Pietrzak and G. Flyorov, by the way, discovered spontaneous fission of uranium; this was in 1940. After the war, Flyorov became an academician, and the director of the heavy ion acceleration laboratory in Dubna.

Appended 12/5/2009
1) My article, replying to the reply from SPAWAR, submitted to EPJAP, was rejected during the ICCF15. On October 12 I submitted it to JCMNS (Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science). It is our own peer-reviewd journal. Two days ago I received comments from the referees. Let me show them here, to illustrate that CMNS researchers do not belong to a mutual admiration society.

Referee #1
In reviewing this paper for publication I do not concern myself with the question of the reality of the production of nuclear particles by electrolysis. My sole concern is to judge how well the author has succeeded in invalidating the assertion by the authors of refs. 1,2 and 4 that the etch pits that they observe were caused by alpha particles.

This paper is almost impossible to understand due to the author's manner of writing. The author refers to the measurements by the Spawar group of the etch pits produced by Am-241 alpha particles and those produced by the alleged nuclear reaction during electrolysis. The latter are one-half as large as those produced by 2.2 MeV alphas from Am, and therefore the electrolysis produced pits can not have been caused by 2.5 MeV alphas. In this the author is correct, but those results do not preclude alphas of energies larger than 2.5 MeV, and this is what the Spawar group claims in ref.1.

The author attempts to contradict the Spawar group assertion that the calibration curves of Brun et al. (ref.7) do not apply to Fukuvi CR39 plastic because the curves were established with a different detector plastic. The author does this by pointing to the similarity of the ratios of pits sizes for alphas of two different energies for two kinds of CR39 plastic. However, this is a weak argument because size ratios for alphas of two energies are functions of etching time and conditions.

I conclude that the author has not succeeded in invalidating the Spawar group's contention that alphas of 1.45 - 3.30 MeV are involved, although the Spawar group's assignment may in fact be incorrect. Because the attempted invalidation is the purpose of the paper, this paper should be rejected.

Referee #2
This paper gives unprejudiced critical view on SPAWAR results and it will be very desirable to publish it in JCMNS.

Referee #3
I find Kowalski's paper very difficult to follow.  The logic is poor and it is all expressed in a very unscientific way.  I do not know what the Spawar tracks are due to. pretty much agree with Kowalski that they most likely are not due to alpha's - but he does not make the case very well - and I don't know who claims that they are.  A strong statement such as "cannot possibly be" needs much stronger support. The title MUST be changed. It is not clever - it is insulting and unscientific.  All in all I guess the paper does not advance any case and I would be just as happy to not see it in JSCMNS.

Referee #4
I think that some version of the manuscript by Kowalski might be publishable, but that it should not be published in its present form. The SPAWAR group has attributed some of their tracks to low energy alpha particles, based on their interpretation of track diameters in experiments which they have published in several papers. We know from the experiments of Lipson and Roussetski that the primary signals that they see included the dd fusion products, as well as energetic alphas above 10 MeV. If the SPAWAR interpretation is correct, then the energetic particles that are seen are different from those reported by Lipson and Roussetski.

Hence, the interpretation of the tracks attributed to the low energy alpha particles are of interest, and worthy of discussion. In essence, we would like to be sure as to what they are. Kowalski has published on this previously, challenging the interpretation of the tracks as due to alphas, and the SPAWAR group has responded. In the new manuscript of Kowalski, comes back to similar arguments. One thing that is new is the speculation that the tracks are due to more massive particles than alphas.

I would recommend for publication if some significant changes are made in the manuscript.

[***] The title is inflammatory, and is not supported by the text.  It needs to be changed.

[***] The conclusion section is only weakly connected to the paper.  Some of the nontechnical discussion should probably be eliminated; or if kept, it should probably be moved to an introductory section.

[***] It would be helpful to change the Conclusion section to a Summary and Conclusion section.  In this section, a short summary of the key arguments should be given.  This should be followed by the comments regarding the use of a silicon SSB detector.  Note that Kowalski's suggestions along these lines are understood by everyone involved, and he is contributing essentially nothing to the discussion.  He has apparently not worked with such detectors previously himself, or else he would be less enthusiastic about the noise issues that accompany the use of such detectors.

[***] Kowalski appears to be mistaken that the SPAWAR group has retracted results.  As this is inflammatory as written, it should probably be removed.  If Kowalski has a point to be made in this regard, it needs to be made in such a way as to not be inflammatory, and stated in a way in which there is general agreement. If these changes are made, then I would support the publication of the paper.

2) I modified the article and sent it to the editor last night, with the following note: “I agree with Referees 1 and 3 that my manuscript was difficult to follow.  I rewrote it completely, de-emphasizing the old topic (comparisons of diameters) and emphasizing the new one (results reported in Catania, my reference 6). I also agree that the term ‘cannot possibly be due to ...’ was not appropriate. I am not using it anymore.”

This website contains other cold fusion items.
Click to see the list of links