Are Neutrons Simply Electrically-Compressed Hydrogen Atoms?
It seems so simple as to be absurd, however a recently submitted paper by Santilli claims that new research offers the promise of replicating Don Carlo Borghi's experiment (itself an experimental test of Rutherford's 1920 hypothesis), wherein Borghi claimed to have found that a neutron can be created by merging a proton and an electron through the use of an electric arc. If validated, this may serve as a stepping stone to further discoveries about the fundamental nature and structure of matter.
In the submitted paper, both Rutherford's hypothesis and Don Borghi's claimed experimental success are both covered topically. New experimental results are also detailed. Several possible explanation for observed results are offered.
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 1bar pressure traversed by an electric arc with 5J energy and microwaves with 1010s−1 frequency. The experiment remained unverified for decades due to the lack of theoretical understanding of the results. In this note we report various measurements showing that, under certain conditions, electric arcs within a hydrogen gas produce neutral, hadron-size entities that are absorbed by stable nuclei and subsequently result in the release of detectable neutrons, thus confirming Don Borghi’s experiment. The possibility that said entities are neutrons is discussed jointly with other alternatives. Due to their simplicity, a primary scope of this note is to stimulate the independent re-run of the tests as conducted or in suitable alternative forms.
Santilli notes that the electric arc may be a good mechanism for compressing a proton and electron together in order to synthesize a neutron on account of the behavior of charged particles (protons and electrons) in a magnetic / electric field.
[T]he geometry of the electric arc, illustrated in Fig. 1, is quite conducive to the synthesis of the neutron, since it aligns protons and electrons with their magnetic moment along the tangent of the local magnetic force, thus resulting in the pairing of protons and electrons under very large Coulomb attractions (due to the short distances) for both opposite charges and opposite magnetic polarities. A neutral state of the type conceptually depicted in Fig. 2 is then possible, thus rendering plausible the synthesis of the neutron either under suitable processes or under a suitable "trigger" [3a], such as the microwaves used in Don Borghi’s experiment, the fast pressure surge used by the author ... or the compression that appears to be caused naturally by electric arcs with high voltage, as suspected in lighting and related thunder.
The experiment was reproduced several times using hydrogen gas, but did produce neutrons in any other medium.
Several interpretations of the results are offered by Santilli:
First interpretation: this possibility is along Rutherford’s historical legacy (1), namely, that the ”entities” produced by the electric arc, rather than being neutrons, are a new bound state of protons and electrons at short distances.
Second interpretation: due to the lack of serious scientific objections, it is also possible that electric arcs within a hydrogen gas directly synthesize the neutron according to the standard reaction (2). In this case the energy needed for the neutron synthesis is provided by the arc, while the conservation of angular momentum is salvaged by the creation and
release of an electron neutrino.
Third interpretation: due to intriguing cosmological implications, we should also mention the possibility that neutrons are indeed synthesized by the electric arc, but both the missing energy and angular momentum are provided by the ether (empty space conceived as a universal substratum of energy) via a neutral entity here tentatively called neutron etherino (see [3b] for muon, tau and other particle syntheses) and denoted with the symbol a (from the Latin aether).
Santilli goes on to request experimental replication or refutation of his results by his peers.
A primary objective of this note is to stimulating the independent re-run of the tests by interested colleagues due to their simplicity, low cost and significance. A much needed alternative test is one permitting the measurement of the energy needed for the neutron synthesis, something not possible in Don Borghi’s test.
If this new insight holds up under scrutiny, it could be a step forward in understanding of fundamental structures and processes. Hoepfully physicists at other labs will take up Santilli's challenge in more detail.