The strength of the experimental evidence for an excess heat effect in metal deuterides has motivated us to consider theoretical models. The observation of 4He correlated with energy with an associated reaction Q‐value determined experimentally to be near 24 MeV implicates reaction mechanisms consistent with d+d4He+heat. Most significant is that the reaction energy is not expressed through the emission of energetic reaction products. Hence, whatever process is involved constitutes a fundamentally new kind of physical mechanism unlike anything seen previously in nuclear physics.

Here we discuss a theoretical model that consists of sets of two‐level systems coupled indirectly through a low‐energy oscillator that is off‐resonant. The two‐level systems represent nuclear states, and the oscillator stands in for a highly excited phonon mode. This kind of model exhibits an excitation transfer effect, in which the excitation at one site is transferred to another site. This is interesting since it corresponds to a new kind of mechanism in which two deuterons interact to form 4He, with the reaction energy transferred elsewhere, consistent qualitatively with the observations. The model also exhibits an energy exchange effect, in which the large energy quantum of the nuclear transition is coupled coherently to the oscillator through a great many rapid excitation transfer processes. This mechanism is effective even though the oscillator quantum energy is much less than the two‐level system transition energy. This provides a mechanism through which a large nuclear quantum is converted efficiently into a large number of small oscillator quanta, from which it will eventually be expressed as heat. Once again, this aspect of the model is consistent with the new experiments.

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