# Did Don Borghi's experiment show that neutrons can be synthesized purely from protons and electrons?

C. Borghi, C. Giori, and A. Dall'Olio published an article entitled "Experimental evidence of emission of neutrons from cold hydrogen plasma" appearing in Yad. Fiz. 56, 147-156 (July 1993) and Phys. At. Nucl. 56 (7), July 1993, ©1993 American Institute of Physics.

The abstract of Borgi et al. reads:

We have tried to see experimentally whether there is some interaction between electric charges, other than the Coulombic one, and whether it may produce some kind of bound states between a proton and an electron, electrically neutral but different from a hydrogen-atom state. This requires that the stronger, and quicker, Coulombic interaction may be avoided by means of a high-frequency ionizing e.m. field. This field succeeds in maintaining a "cold" plasma i.e., a considerable number of protons mixed and colliding with an equal number of free electrons, for a time much larger than $10^{-8}$ sec. This limit is suggested by the known average recombination time of the ionized hydrogen atom.

This arXiv.org article summarizes Borgi et al. as follows:

Following Rutherford's 1920 historical hypothesis of the neutron as a compressed hydrogen atom in the core of stars, the laboratory synthesis of the neutron from protons and electrons was claimed in the late 1960 by the Italian priest-physicist Don Carlo Borghi and his associates via a metal chamber containing a partially ionized hydrogen gas at a fraction of $1$ bar pressure traversed by an electric arc with $5 J$ energy and microwaves with $10^{10} s^{-1}$ frequency. The experiment remained unverified for decades due to the lack of theoretical understanding of the results.

• What do you mean "What did this experiment really show?"? I really don't understand the question, perhaps it showed neutron emission, perhaps not. The lack of successful reproduction indicates it probably did not, or that simply no one cared. How could we possibly say more than this without giving way to speculation? Feb 21, 2015 at 2:37
• @ACuriousMind: By "What did this experiment really show?" I mean: "Did Borghi's experiment show that neutrons can be synthesized purely from protons and electrons?" Feb 21, 2015 at 3:00