Can the Arata-type experiment (in general) be explained solely by a Lamb
shift modality of the type that Haisch claims - in his patent?
If so, we would be suggesting that any helium seen (it is often seen) was
already present in the active material, probably as contamination from
extended ball milling in air, and that this helium had survived bake-out,
which is not an unreasonable assumption since there is so little of it.
In 1947 Willis Lamb carried out an experiment using microwaves to stimulate
RF transitions between orbital levels of hydrogen. There was an anomaly and
the energy difference found was a rise of about 1 GHz for one orbital
compared to the other. This energy is supplied (or detracted) by the quantum
vacuum, but there is normally no net gain or loss.
This particular difference is a looping effect of QED - quantum
electrodynamics, and can be interpreted as the influence of virtual photons
from the ZPE which have been emitted and re-absorbed by the atom. In QED the
electromagnetic field is quantized but its lowest state is NOT zero. Thus,
there exist small zero-point oscillations that cause electrons to execute
rapid oscillatory motions known by the lovely German word: zitterbewegung;
but normally these vibrations reach thermal equilibrium in an ambient range
near 300 Kelvin - and are vibrating in the terahertz range, all of which is
conservative, but ..
The value of the Lamb shift has a tiny mass-energy equivalent, which is
about 4^-6 eV = 1 GHz = 4^-23 joules (correct me if I got this wrong) which
is not much to get excited about; and on top of that: the ups and downs
usually cancel each other out . but if your Casimir cavity is an oscillator
in the 10s of terahertz (slightly above ambient) and you make a particular
nanopowder in the form known as "quantum dots", such that there is a range
of coherency which can be reached with a thermal trigger, then the gain can
(arguably) be made additive and sequential: well, that would be the
underlying hypothesis for the Haisch claim, and the non-nuclear gain via ZPE
via the Lamb shift as the pumping mechanism.
There could be LENR activity as well, in the same experiment - which is in
addition to this; but for the time being, let's stick with the goal of
looking for a justifiable way to explain net energy gain (or loss) without
any nuclear reactions. Can it be found?
Probably. It should also be mentioned that in a slightly different geometry
of nanoparticle, there could be a cooling effect, instead of a heating
effect, which can also be derived from additive and sequential Lamb shifts
(with coherent asymmetry) - which will have the net result to take the host
material below ambient in temperature. This would be the key to
falsifiability - an occasional net cooling effect, based on geometry and
This corresponds to the well-known Casimir repulsive effect (as opposed to
the normal Casimir attractive force). There can be this asymmetry (plus or
minus), within narrow geometric ranges, and when coherence is reached, the
result can be net heating, or net cooling (or neither or both if the
material is sloppily prepared).
It can be deduced roughly that to get to one joule per unit volume of active
material in gain(loss), there must be at least about 10^10 sites (which are
active Casimir cavities in vibrational coherence per that same volume). In
the context of an Arata-type experiment there would be about 5000 joules of
excess heat, spread out over about 800 minutes, which on first glance could
be consistent with Lamb shift heating via Casimir cavities if there was a
few cc of active powder present, which was optimized for cavities.
However, the best reason to consider the Lamb shift as an alternative
hypothesis to LENR is IF:
1) No transmutation products or ash are found, other than helium, which
can be explained as non-nuclear contamination
2) No gamma radiation is seen during or immediately after the run, and
3) On occasion, there is a cooling effect instead of a heating effect,
or during the same run there is both a heating effect followed by a cooling
effect, both of which are statistically valid.