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Author: Subject: Accelerating Alpha decay with high voltage potentials.
ElizabethGreene
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 09:06
Accelerating Alpha decay with high voltage potentials.


So I'm trolling through patents, not to be confused with patent trolling, and I stumble across this...
http://www.google.com/patents/US5076971
Method for enhancing alpha decay in radioactive materials

The chap applies a potential approaching 500Kv to materials to significantly accelerate radioactive decay.

And I can't help but think, hey.. generating incredibly high life terminating voltages while simultaneously playing with radioactive materials sounds just Brilliant!

But, the underlying science seems a little fiddly to me. I "feel like" I would have read about it before now.

Question: Is this a well known phenomenon or puffery?

Disclaimer: I readily accept and admit that I do not know enough nuclear physics/chemistry to attempt an experiment involving this at this time.

Cheers,
Elizabeth
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ElectroWin
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 10:50


a 500 kV discharge could well interact with the nucleus, yes.

a company in new jersey is regularly seeing fusion reactions from discharges of 50 kV or so in their experiments...
http://lawrencevilleplasmaphysics.com/
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 10:51


Quote: Originally posted by ElizabethGreene  
Is this a well known phenomenon or puffery?
The one article in the patent reference that's not a general reference is this:

Experiments on the Effect of Atomic Electrons on the Decay Constant of Be7
E. Segrè and C. E. Wiegand
http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRev.81.284

Emilio Segrè won the Nobel for finding the antiproton. The abstract from the paper (which I haven't read) reported about a third part in a thousand different in half-life between the oxide and the metal of beryllium-7. I certainly hadn't heard of that.

The paper is from 1951 and the patent was filed in 1989. So let's just say it wasn't an active area of research. Reading the patent, it's pretty clear they got an easily-measurable effect. There's some very odd (and interesting) behavior they report, particularly oscillations in decay rate after treatment, for three different nuclides, which continued for more than two weeks. It's too bad they didn't publish in the academic literature and spur some more work on this. The kinds of high voltages they were using back then required a Van de Graaff generator; these days, you can get them with solid state at an order of magnitude greater potential.
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tetrahedron
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 11:08


apparently, "stimulating" the atoms (e.g. by varying pressure, temperature, electrostatic potential etc) has an impact on their rate of radioactive decay
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12AX7
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 15:43


Note that applying a static field to cold matter won't do very much: electrons are far more easily dissociated, and will tend to polarize and shield the nucleus from external fields. (Not sure how much; I suppose the amount will be analogous to paramagnetism vs. diamagnetism, where some electronic configurations and molecules will have the opposite effect.) So you aren't going to get much difference for free (i.e., a static electric field doesn't consume power).

If you have ions (ideally, naked nuclei), they will move under the influence of the field, carrying charge and consuming power, but there should be a somewhat larger field at the nucleus.

I don't doubt the effect exists, since alpha decay fits very nicely with a quantum tunneling model; any additional energy to coax it over that barrier will increase rate, and an electric field would do well. Certain electromagnetic resonances probably do as well, but these are nuclear energy levels, corresponding to gamma rays; it may well be the first (and perhaps only) energy level where this occurs is very close to the energy level of the system (i.e., ~4MeV). Still, if that happens to be the case, it may have interesting implications for coherent gamma or particle beam production (a nuclear excimer matter-laser, mwahahaha!).

Tim




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ElizabethGreene
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 17:07


Thank you all for the replies.

This makes me wonder if there isn't a similar mechanism of action in play in the "Anomalous generation of heat during Electrolysis" cold fusion experiments. They were reporting some miniscule transmutation of elements. (Honestly I'd written that off as experiment error though.) I was doubly skeptical of this because they detected Gold and that's not in any known decay chains IIRC.

Anyway, experiment time. A proof of concept shouldn't be that hard.
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 17:22


Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7  
Note that applying a static field to cold matter won't do very much: electrons are far more easily dissociated, and will tend to polarize and shield the nucleus from external fields. (Not sure how much; I suppose the amount will be analogous to paramagnetism vs. diamagnetism, where some electronic configurations and molecules will have the opposite effect.)
The thorium sample reported in the patent was the oxide, a non-metal without much large-scale electron mobility. In these kinds of crystals and the kinds of field strengths reported, you're out of the realm of linear polarization from an imposed field. In other words, you can saturate the dielectric. After that point, the permittivity starts dropping, and this can happen without dielectric breakdown. As a result, there's only a limited extent to which polarization can shield a nucleus from the field.
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 17:38


Quote: Originally posted by ElizabethGreene  
This makes me wonder if there isn't a similar mechanism of action in play in the "Anomalous generation of heat during Electrolysis" cold fusion experiments. They were reporting some miniscule transmutation of elements. (Honestly I'd written that off as experiment error though.) I was doubly skeptical of this because they detected Gold and that's not in any known decay chains IIRC.
One thing that's not in the patent is any theory about an increase in spontaneous fission (SF) rate. The natural rate is 54 parts per million, and that could lead to detectable gold content.

For news on cold fusion, see the paper reference in this post: https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=21430&goto=search&pid=259118

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arsphenamine
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[*] posted on 18-10-2012 at 18:02


Unlike heavier elements, beryllium's decay rate is strongly affected by its ionization state, so that's where the light is brightest if you want to study the interplay of the two.

The E. Segrè and C. E. Wiegand 1951 cite suggests the likelihood of generating 7Be+4 nuclei, i.e., completely stripped of electrons, and as such are available for direct nuclear interactions.

Beryllium's 4th IP, ~220 eV, is accessible with 50 kV but 500 kV increases the bare nuclei population to more interesting levels.

There have been some recent ab initio studies on the effect in which the Be+n wave equation terms (basis sets) were chosen for their accuracy in describing the 1s inner shell instead of the chemically-more-pertinent valence shell. This is methodologically interesting, but not exactly germane. Sorry.

The indications are that you need only strip off the outer 2s shell to see interesting decay effects. The 2nd IP occurs at 18 eV (~415 kcal/mol), an order of magnitude lower than the 4th IP.

[Edited on 19-10-2012 by arsphenamine]
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franklyn
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[*] posted on 20-10-2012 at 14:58


The claim :
" the rate of decay of the radioactivity of the materials is greatly accelerated ".

I very much doubt that is what is happening at all. Nuclear decay occurs
at precise rates characteristic to the particular isotope, the measure of radio
activity as a result depends upon the ability to detect the products. Alpha
particles are halted almost immediately upon emission by collision with
surrounding matter. See here _" Energy and absorption " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_particle

What Alpha emission is detectable comes from decay occurring at or very
near the surface of the isotope , the rest is contained within the bulk of
the material becoming neutral helium and slowly venting to the surface
without triggering the instrument counting charged Alpha particles.

Juicing the bulk material with a high potential will expel these charged
particles that would otherwise not make it to the surface , to become
detected. An increased count is therefore observed , and in this case
misattributed to enhanced nuclear decay.

.
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ElizabethGreene
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[*] posted on 22-10-2012 at 12:17


Thank you franklyn for the feedback. This should be testable by comparing the decay rate of a thin foil vs. a think one, and will go on the experiment list.
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franklyn
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[*] posted on 23-10-2012 at 14:03


@ ElizabethGreene

That's a good check. Detectors on both sides of the sample ,
with and without potential applied. The thick sample should
show a much higher count when electrified and about the
same count as the thinner foil when not.
( check to see what effect the nearby high voltage may have
on the detectors themselves first , with no sample evident.)

No Potential
Both Thick and Thin samples should emit about the same ,
somewhat more from the thick sample.

Potential applied
Thin sample should not exhibit a very marked increase.
Thicker sample should exhibit a substantial increase.
Expect the measured count to be proportional to mass.

It's rare today to be able to do fundamental research
the way it had been done 90 years ago.

- Good Luck

.
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platedish29
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[*] posted on 23-10-2012 at 19:42


Quote: Originally posted by ElectroWin  
a 500 kV discharge could well interact with the nucleus, yes.

a company in new jersey is regularly seeing fusion reactions from discharges of 50 kV or so in their experiments...
http://lawrencevilleplasmaphysics.com/

A little off-topic but,

The woman talking about profit issues was ironic. Why did she have to say that? Like she would give fully assembled machines, instructions and manutention to however comes and says "Hi I need power generator", otherwise she would accept just a small simbolic paycheck and perhaps a little Nobel Prize for their work.
Moreover the implementation of such technology worldwide would requirea whole change in car fuels/ batteries, including ships and airplanes, and trains, so that everything could work on electricity. The effect would be mostly on industry and home electric bill. I think this is already cheap enough rich people wouldn't bother a difference.
Government is not stupid there is no reason to change into an initially sparsely applicable field if you can keep the old one working. Crysis comes mainly as a mather of logistic. Its not that there is no "gold" for all, but that gold is not evenly distributed. Taking current technicians and industralists jobs away would just increases the "profit" difference among people.

So for greenpeace activists, go explode ANFO to bring back nitrogen to the atmosphere its much more worthwhile, seriously.

Rebels save their countries much like the same way greenpeace would shave the world.
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ElectroWin
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[*] posted on 9-11-2012 at 11:20


Quote: Originally posted by platedish29  
Quote: Originally posted by ElectroWin  
a 500 kV discharge could well interact with the nucleus, yes.

a company in new jersey is regularly seeing fusion reactions from discharges of 50 kV or so in their experiments...
http://lawrencevilleplasmaphysics.com/

A little off-topic but,

[...]

.


I'll say!
ordinarily i would offer to address this in another forum, but you're trolling.
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AndersHoveland
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[*] posted on 10-11-2012 at 04:22


I am more interested in accelerating positron decay with high voltage potentials.

Particularly, I am interested in what would happen if electrons and positrons were both passed spin polarized in the same direction, and allowed to annihilate while being accelerated in the same direction (with one being accelerated to a higher energy than the other). Since both would have a spin of +1/2, the normal two gamma ray photons could not result, because each photon must have a spin of either +1 or -1. Only either 1 or 3 photons can result from the annhilation. Since both electrons have the same vector (direction of energy), and assuming the kinetic energy is higher than the particle's rest mass (only 511kV for an electron), the radiated photons (if there are more than one) will only be in the forward direction. Assuming the radiated photons are symmetric, it would result in a narrow cone of gamma radiation with a well defined angle. If the kinetic energy can be increased, the angle of this cone could be narrowed until hopefully a single photon annhilation outcome would become more favorable, and so a well controlled beam of directional gamma radiation may result.

I am not entirely sure, but I have a feeling that there are reasons why simultaneous 3 particle emissions would not very favorable, which would help make single photon emission a more favorable statistical outcome. Yet, I also have a feeling that because the electrons contain energy in the form of rest mass, the released energy is not going to want to all go in one direction, so favoring 3 particle emission more.




I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying lets remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.
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ElectroWin
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[*] posted on 17-11-2012 at 11:27


Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
If the kinetic energy can be increased, the angle of this cone could be narrowed until hopefully a single photon annihilation outcome would become more favorable, and so a well controlled beam of directional gamma radiation may result.


uhm, a hand-held death-ray weapon?
good idea!
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SM2
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[*] posted on 17-11-2012 at 12:49


alpha is easy, but your never going to speed appreciably, the decontamination of radioactive gold. Or any isotope which has a very large half life. Otherwise you could run a dirty fission, add tons of electrical potential for a month, and come back to collect your non radioactive Rhodium and platinum from the slag.


speaking of: "uhm, a hand-held death-ray weapon?
good idea!" All you would need is a small diode array of 1 watter IR's, maybe 50 of them. Focused and colminated. With something like 30 18503 LiIon, you could fit this around your waist, and have the fibre optic leading to a cool ray gun host. and you could literally have a ray gun, and cause all types of havok. You'd probably want to add a 445nm diode in there to give your death ray a nice blue beam, plus, 445 is also very energetic.

[Edited on 17-11-2012 by Fennel Ass Ih Tone]
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ElectroWin
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[*] posted on 17-11-2012 at 12:54


*sigh*, wouldn't that be wonderful? but, someone was doing this by proton bombardment, iirc; the process needs good bulk isotopic enrichment capability, still rather expensive
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