The conclusion of this paper (p. 6) discusses some hypothetical Pd(d,f) yields as a possible explanation for anomalous results that the author observed. Suspending disbelief in the data reported in the paper for a moment, what are some good ways to go about exploring the feasibility of a set of fission chains along these lines, given an arbitrary amount of energy? Here is one that was mentioned as a possibility:

${{}^{104}Pd} + 2D \rightarrow [Pd;2D]* \rightarrow {{}^{44}Ca} + {{}^{64}Ni} + 45.44 MeV$

The proposed [Pd;2D]* intermediate step is an "intermediate short-lived neutron excessive compound-nucleus," according to the paper.

I was able to find an interface to the EXFOR database, and using a query with the the parameters [Target="Pd-104", Reaction="d,*"], the results seem to indicate that there are only nine known or hypothesized Pd-104 + D reactions, and none of them involve fission.

My questions:

  1. Am I missing a basic detail here? Have I done something wrong?
  2. Are there better ways to go about exploring the feasibility of the proposed chains? For example, would a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation have gotten me this far (aside from an objection about Coulomb repulsion)?
  3. How likely is it that an actual Pd+D chain would not be available in EXFOR? What conclusions can I draw about the presence or absence of a chain in EXFOR? (I understand that some of the entries are hypothetical.)

These questions are methodological ones, about how to look into the merits of the paper's proposal about palladium fission chains, rather than ones about the actual merits of the proposal (which I assume takes the author into left field).

EDITS: Changed example reaction from one of deuteron absorption to an actual fission chain (also from the paper), modified details to relate to the new reaction. Mentioned an important assumption regarding input energy.

  • $\begingroup$ It is important when examining cold fusion to not lose sight of basic physics in the murk of weird phenomenology. The Pd + 2 D interaction you write above could be a Pd + alpha instead, which is much more plausible than two independent deuteriums finding the same Pd at the same time. Further, if the alpha is produced by cold fusion, it should be going at 20 MeV energies, and it can penetrate the Coulomb barrier. But the process you write down is not fusion, it isn't even producing a "neutron rich" anything--- it is just two deuteron absorption. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jan 3 '12 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Ron. I'll definitely keep the Pd(a,*) reaction in mind. $\endgroup$ – Eric Walker Jan 4 '12 at 4:01

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