Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 34 / Number 2 / September 1998 / Pages 147-150
Physics similar to the r-process mechanism of forming heavy elements in core-collapse supernovas is invoked to explain the recent observation of nuclear transmutations in thin-film nickel coatings during electrolysis.
It is suggested that electrolysis could catalyze weak interactions of the electron capture type in thin films, resulting in an enhanced rate for the weak capture of electrons by protons to form real or virtual neutrons. These could subsequently be absorbed by the nuclei in the metal, and the neutrinos created to satisfy conservation laws would escape detection. The neutron-rich nuclei could stabilize by various beta decay channels similar to the r-process, and this model could explain the observed transmuted elements as well as the absence of radiation.