I learned about nuclear physics anomaly new to me (actually the anomaly is 64 years old) from an article of Norman and Dunning-Davies in Research Gate (see this). Neutrons are produced from an arc current in hydrogen gas with a rate exceeding dramatically the rate predicted by the standard model of electroweak interactions, in which the production should occur through e-+p→ n+ν by weak boson exchange. The low electron energies make the process also kinematically impossible. Additional strange finding due to Borghi and Santilli is that the neutron production can in some cases be delayed by several hours. Furthermore, according to Santilli neutron production occurs only for hydrogen but not for heavier nuclei.
In the following I sum up the history of the anomaly following closely the representation of Norman and Dunning-Davies (see this): this article gives references and details and is strongly recommended. This includes the pioneering work of Sternglass in 1951, the experiments of Don Carlo Borghi in the late 1960s, and the rather recent experiments of Ruggiero Santilli (see this).
The pioneering experiment of Sternglass
The initial anomalously large production of neutrons using an current arc in hydrogen gas was performed by Earnest Sternglass in 1951 while completing his Ph.D. thesis at Cornell. He wrote to Einstein about his inexplicable results, which seemed to occur in conditions lacking sufficient energy to synthesize the neutrons that his experiments had indeed somehow apparently created. Although Einstein firmly advised that the results must be published even though they apparently contradicted standard theory, Sternglass refused due to the stultifying preponderance of contrary opinion and so his results were preemptively excluded under orthodox pressure within discipline leaving them unpublished. Edward Trounson, a physicist working at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory repeated the experiment and again gained successful results but they too, were not published.
One cannot avoid the question, what physics would look like today, if Sternglass had published or managed to publish his results. One must however remember that the first indications for cold fusion emerged also surprisingly early but did not receive any attention and that cold fusion researchers were for decades labelled as next to criminals. Maybe the extreme conservatism following the revolution in theoretical physics during the first decades of the previous century would have prevented his work to receive the attention that it would have deserved.
The experiments of Don Carlo Borghi
Italian priest-physicist Don Carlo Borghi in collaboration with experimentalists from the University of Recife, Brazil, claimed in the late 1960s to have achieved the laboratory synthesis of neutrons from protons and electrons. C. Borghi, C. Giori, and A. Dall'Olio published 1993 an article entitled "Experimental evidence of emission of neutrons from cold hydrogen plasma" in Yad. Fiz. 56 and Phys. At. Nucl. 56 (7).
Don Borghi's experiment was conducted via a cylindrical metallic chamber (called "klystron") filled up with a partially ionized hydrogen gas at a fraction of 1 bar pressure, traversed by an electric arc with about 500V and 10mA as well as by microwaves with 1010 Hz frequency. Note that the energies of electrons would be below .5 keV and non-relativistic. In the cylindrical exterior of the chamber the experimentalists placed various materials suitable to become radioactive when subjected to a neutron flux (such as gold, silver and others). Following exposures of the order of weeks, the experimentalists reported nuclear transmutations due to a claimed neutron flux of the order of 104 cps, apparently confirmed by beta emissions not present in the original material.
Don Borghi's claim remained un-noticed for decades due to its incompatibility with the prevailing view about weak interactions. The process e-+p→ n+ν is also forbidden by conservation of energy unless the total cm energy of proton and the electron have energy larger than Δ E= mn-mp-me=0.78 MeV. This requires highly relativistic electrons. Also the cross section for the reaction proceeding by exchange of W boson is extremely small at low energies (about 10-20 barn: barn=10-28 m2 represents the natural scale for cross section in nuclear physics). Some new physics must be involved if the effect is real. Situation is strongly reminiscent of cold fusion (or low energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which many main stream nuclear physicists still regard as a pseudoscience.
Ruggero Santilli (see this) replicated the experiments of Don Borghi. Both in the experiments of Don Carlo Borghi and those of Santilli, delayed neutron synthesis was sometimes observed. Santilli analyzes several alternative proposals explaining the anomalyn and suggests that new spin zero bound state of electron and proton with rest mass below the sum of proton and electron masses and absorbed by nuclei decaying then radioactively could explain the anomaly. The energy needed to overcome the kinematic barrier could come from the energy liberated by electric arc. The problem of the model is that it has no connection with standard model.
Both in the experiments of Don Carlo Borghi and those of Santilli, delayed neutron synthesis was sometimes observed. According to Santilli: According to Santilli:
" A first series of measurements was initiated with Klystron I on July 28,2006, at 2 p.m. Following flushing of air, the klystron was filled up with commercial grale hydrogen at 25 psi pressure. We first used detector PM1703GN to verify that the background radiations were solely consisting of photon counts of 5-7 μR/h without any neutron count; we delivered a DC electric arc at 27 V and 30 A (namely with power much bigger than that of the arc used in Don Borghi's tests...), at about 0.125" gap for about 3 s; we waited for one hour until the electrodes had cooled down, and then placed detector PM1703GN against the PVC cylinder. This resulted in the detection of photons at the rate of 10 - 15 μR/hr expected from the residual excitation of the tips of the electrodes, but no neutron count at all.
However, about three hours following the test, detector PM1703GN entered into sonic and vibration alarms, specifically, for neutron detections off the instrument maximum of 99 cps at about 5' distance from the klystron while no anomalous photon emission was measured. The detector was moved outside the laboratory and the neutron counts returned to zero. The detector was then returned to the laboratory and we were surprised to see it entering again into sonic and vibrational alarms at about 5' away from the arc chamber with the neutron count off scale without appreciable detection of photons, at which point the laboratory was evacuated for safety.
After waiting for 30 minutes (double neutron's lifetime), we were surprised to see detector PMl703GN go off scale again in neutron counts at a distance of 10' from the experimental set up, and the laboratory was closed for the day."
TGD based model
The basic problems to be solved are following.
TGD explanation (see this) could be the same for Tesla's findings, for cold fusion (see this), Pollack effect (see this) and for the anomalous production of neutrons. Even electrolysis would involve in an essential manner Pollack effect and new physics.
Could this model explain the anomalous neuron production and its strange features?