So - Tom C - please debunk this chain. Please reference the line numbers for clarity.
1) The so called LENR reaction is just the standard p + Li 7 to 2 He 4 + 17 MeV - the second nuclear reaction discovered that earned its discoverers Nobel's
2) The cross section for this reaction determined by proton beam experiments has its "Sweet Spot" at 1.8 Mev with a long tail down into the 10's of keV at low rates. This long tail downwards in energy is key to this analysis. As the energy drops - of course the probability falls markedly - but not to zero.
3) There literature states there are anomaly's in the cross sections having to do with electron screening. The experiments and calculations are still a bit murky but bare atoms and protons would get a cleaner approach to each other. It appears the cross section probabilities increase a considerable amount with reduced electron screening.
4) Very few neutrons are produced in this reaction - I have been unable to find (from time constraints or because there is not much there) the fraction of reactions that produces neutrons. So not finding neutrons in a test - because the nuclear reaction is aneutronic - should not be a surprise.
5) As the produced species are He there should be trace He to be found
6) Shielding needs are minimal - a good book would be fine. Use a bad book if you don't want to waste good paper.
7) I can find nothing (and don't really know where to look) for information on ionizing radiation on this reaction. It would seem to be minimal.
9) Cascades are possible as the energy in the He is ~ 8 MeV. The He would need to dump a lot of that energy in a p and the p would have the energy to react if it could find a Li while it is still energetic.
10) Since this is a well known reaction - non of the above is in question other than the precision numbers of cross section, modifications due to electron screening, etc.
11) All of this data is from proton beams on a Li target.
12) The above reaction fits in with the experimental evidence from many so called LENR experiments. Excess Energy, No Neutrons of Gammas, no radiation shielding required, He found occasionally.
12) Li + p -> 2 He is standard hot fusion from the textbook. Though I really have no idea why its called fusion - looks like proton induced fission to me.
13) The Li + p reaction is in all respects environmentally sound - if not the ideal nuclear reaction.
14) So - If I created a proton beam - Li target reactor - I would have net energy gain but insufficient to be practical
15) Recent literature indicates that a Laser induced B + p reactor is nearing practicality. A Laser induced Li + p reactor might be a better choice. This method used a Laser to impart the energy needed for the reaction to the p. Laser accelerated protons in a beam configuration where the beam line is very short.
A) First question to Tom - is the above agreed to?
20) Skipping line numbers to leave room for additions. Tom is familiar with this process.
Having a ideal reaction with known parameters lets look at alternative methods of imparting energy to the protons.
31) Take a lattice of a metal in nanopowder form so the surface area to volume ratio is high
32) Introduce Li as a component of the lattice
33) Disassociate H2 to provide a proton source - the protons that are absorbed by the lattice have a far longer lifetime as H than the gaseous H
34) As the protons move through the lattice - they occasionally will find themselves in close proximity to a Li atom. The proton and Li are a close approximation to 2 particles in a well. A close enough approximation that standard QM methods of calculation apply.
35) Don't view the lattice as a hunk of metal - look at it in a modern framework as a Solid State Plasma. http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1526
36) Repeat step 35 above. This is the single critical step in this process. There is no new physics in this step. But it changes the argument completely. It is unexplored territory for most.
37) Stimulate the lattice in some manner (Heat, Light, Current) to impart keV levels of energy to the protons trapped in lattice wells.
38) The reaction probably cascades as the 17 MeV alphas are carrying a lot of energy compared to the cross section requirements. It might be possible to create enough of a chain reaction to melt down the reactor though this leads to no environmental effects - just a ruined reactor chamber.
38) Look at the tunneling possibility of the Li + p reaction to lower the energy requirement. The tunneling probability per Li - p collision will be low.
39) Major step 2. The solid state plasma has a frequency in the order of single THz. For a round number call it 5 Trillion Hz. For a Li + P in a well that is 5 Trillion collisions per second. Not like a particle beam with one collision opportunity.
B) Tom - are you in agreement on any of these points?
Put the equation together.
((Reaction Cross Section + Tunneling Probabilities) x energy distribution of the proton - Li collisions) x 5 THz collisions per second.
51) Standard hot fusion reaction - no new physics.
52) Standard tunneling probabilities - no new physics.
53) Standard energy of particles in an excited lattice - no new physics but unexplored for precision data.
54) Collision rates at the lattice plasma frequency - 5 THz ish - no new physics This requires a change in thinking - the collision rate is breathtakingly huge and needs to be fully included in the math leading to reaction rates.
55) Unknown probability of reaction rate as the energy in the lattice and tunneling probability data is not well known (if at all)
56) I make no claims to the value of the reaction rate other than it is > 0. The value of the reaction lies in the rate obtainable.
57) In no way is this a "Low energy nuclear reaction" - it is simply a "Standard Nuclear Reaction in a Solid State Plasma"
C) Moment of truth for Tom - am I FOS or does this scenario work? Not does it make a practical, world saving, energy source. Just is the reaction rate > 0?
Standard chemical engineering methods of increasing the reaction rate
70) Increase the supply of H (monoatomic only) to be absorbed by the lattice. Today this means a spark gap in H2. Are there other methods?
71) Increase the pressure of the H which will help drive the H into the lattice. Standard Pressure vessel tech.
72) Find the optimal method of Li distribution in the lattice. Prepare the lattice with the Li well mixed.
73) Use a non-conductive non solid state plasma pressure vessel to keep the stimulation of the lattice in the lattice
74) Find the optimal method of lattice stimulation (Heat, Light, Current) to increase the collision energy
75) Find the optimal method of lattice construction to increase the collision energy. I have no real idea what to do here but a DFT expert might.
D) None of these methods should have any controversy - they are standard ChE tools in the tool kit except for 75. The lattice construction is more of a ChE catalysis problem and these are largely solved today with Edisonian trial and error methods. Tom - feel free to comment
Comparison to known LENR test results
90) Excess Heat
91) No (minimal) Neutrons
92) No (minimal) Gammas
93) No (minimal) Betas
94) To eliminate quibbling, Branching fractions to Neutrons and Gammas and Betas are surely not zero but are so low that measurement is difficult
95) No shielding (Its impossible to build a pressure vessel that won't shield the Alphas
96) Wildly varying reaction rates in the various experiments is easily explained due to all of the requirements in the proposed reaction. I don't really know of any experiment where all of the necessary parameters are even known, never mind controlled.
110) Energy of collisions in the lattice
111) Possibility of various known but not well studied lattice oscillations raising the energy of collisions in the lattice.
112) Possibility of the structure of the lattice allowing collective electrodynamic oscillations vastly increasing the collision energy.
113) Possibility of tunneling leading to significant increases of the reaction rate.
I find nothing exotic at all in this chain of reasoning - no magic anywhere.
There are significant unknowns that may reduce the reaction rate to uninteresting or raise it to the ideal power source.
A reasonable funded program could reduce the uncertainties enough to answer if proceeding is warranted
The black swan nature of success in this area makes it obvious that risking a little money to reduce the uncertainties is a good idea.
Tom - please blast away at this point - I need all your negativity concentrated - cause if I can counter your negativity I might actually move forward with some grant applications.