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Metal Analysis Deconstruction

*Updated November 2011*

 

Introduction: We have analyzed the evidence presented by Marcel Vogel on samples of alleged extra-terrestrial origin that were supplied by Billy Meier. It will be shown that the evidence presented by Marcel Vogel does not support the main claim that these metal samples possess properties that cannot be obtained by earthly materials put together by any technology known. We have completely reproduced the data shown by Marcel Vogel out of common materials and using equivalent scientific equipment. The samples and equipment used in this paper are available in any laboratory either in academia or in industry. The main objective of this paper is to provide the skeptical community with an easy to understand reference on this subject. It is also the intention to make the case that it is no longer necessary for Billy Meier to supply any more samples for further scientific analysis.

Claim: The metal samples provided by Billy Meier and analyzed by IBM chemist Marcel Vogel showed extraordinary properties.

Properties Marcel Vogel claims to have been found on the metal samples:

1.- Material contains almost all of the elements in the periodic table. The evidence presented is an EDS X-Ray spectrum.

2.- Material contains the rare-earth element Thulium. This element is extremely rare and hard to obtain (circa 1985). The secondary bands of Thulium are not present. The evidence presented is an EDS X-Ray spectrum.

3.- Material did not require gold coating for SEM imaging. No charging was observed. The evidence presented is a SEM image scan.

4.- Portions identified as metal exhibit crystal birefringence. Elements in sample manifest themselves in a manner such that they preserve their identity while still bonded to the rest of them. The evidence presented is Optical Micrographs using Nomarski Phase Interference, Oblique Illumination of sample, and Cross-Polarization Imaging.

5.- Portions of sample examined at a magnification of 500 diameters show evidence of micro-manipulation. The evidence presented was a scanning electron micrograph.

6.- Statements made to the effect on how the metal sample was unusual, extraordinary, difficult to fabricate, etc. These are Marcel Vogel's own opinions.

These claims and the data collected by Vogel are presented in the videos below. These videos are part of an interview with Japan's Nippon Television Jun-Ichi Yaoi presented in the 1985 documentary about Billy Meier titled The Beamship:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cFr3zzFeYk

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_NNFL_6evQ

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxJc80DEWhE

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbLMCg0Vo4E

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNZZNRTvm9g

Brief Deconstruction of Vogel's Claims:

1.- Material contains a wide range of elements of the periodic table. Vogel incorrectly interprets the continuum Bremsstrahlung X-ray spectrum as the spectrum produced by many element bands close together. The Bremsstrahlung spectrum contains no useful information about the element composition of a given sample.

2.- Material contains the rare-earth element Thulium. The EDS X-Ray spectrum shown by Vogel is Aluminum and not Thulium. This is concluded after Vogel's admission that the Thulium secondary bands were missing. Aluminum with traces of Silver is the best explanation for the spectrum shown.

3.- Material did not require gold coating for SEM imaging. Gold coating in SEM is used exclusively when the sample is non-conducting.

4.- Portions identified as metal exhibit crystal birefringence. The optical microscopy methods used by Vogel are not suitable to conclusively demonstrate that some portions of the sample exhibit optical birefringence.

5.- Portions of sample examined at a magnification of 500 diameters show evidence of micro-manipulation. It was found that indentations similar to those found by Vogel can be produced by conventional metal machining. The indentations have a pitch small enough to be captured with a scanning electron microscope at a 500 diameter magnification.

6.- Statements made to the effect of how these metal samples are unusual, extraordinary, difficult to fabricate, etc. All these are Vogel's own opinions and they were not supported by the evidence he presents. It is also not clear why the claims, even if true, would make the metal samples remarkable or worth studying.

Long Deconstruction of Vogel's Claims:

1.- Material contains almost all of the elements in the periodic table. The evidence presented here was a spectrum obtained using Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy. This spectrum is discussed in Part 3 of The Metal Analysis video at the 7:12 time mark. Figure 1 shows the spectrum taken by Vogel.

Figure 1: EDS Spectrum captured by Vogel of one region of the sample. From the upper caption, it is noticeable that the spectrum was taken at 20KV acceleration voltage and analyzed in with a scale 0 - 20KeV.

Here, Vogel identifies the elements Silicon (1.740KeV), Sulfur (2.307KeV) , Iron (0.706 KeV, 6.403 KeV); the EDS energy bands are indicated in parenthesis. Vogel interprets the continuum background and the small peaks as evidence of a wide range of elements of the periodic table present in the sample.

The continuum background is not due to a wide range of elements; rather this is Bremsstrahlung continuum X-Ray radiation which is produced when electrons from the beam decelerate as they pass close to the atomic nuclei of the material. A typical Bremsstrahlung energy spectrum is shown in Fig. 2 which was obtained from refs. [1] and [2].

(a)

(b)

Figure 2: (a) Typical EDS spectrum obtained experimentally showing the Ni element bands sitting on Bremsstrahlung continuum X-Ray radiation [1]. (b) Mathematical form of the Bremsstrahlung spectrum [2].

By comparing Figs. 1 and 2, it is determined that what Vogel identifies as a wide range of elements present in the sample is in fact continuum Bremsstrahlung background radiation, which is commonly found in EDS X-Ray spectra. Even though this radiation is part of the X-Ray signal produced by the sample, it does not contain useful information about the elemental composition of the sample analyzed [1].

It is quite common to find samples in the natural world that contain a wide variety of elements in them. Fig. 3 shows two EDS-X Ray scans of a mineral ore collected from a quarry in San Bernardino County, California. From this figure we notice that two different sites can have fairly different element composition. Notice that the computer misses or misinterprets some of the energy bands. For example, the unidentified band at 6.45KeV in (b) is likely to be Iron; the band at 0.29KeV in (b) identified as Calcium by the computer is likely to be Carbon (0.277 KeV) from the Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) known to be in the ore. Fig. 3 is a good example as to how the EDS X-Ray computer identification today still requires human intervention in the analysis of the results. This is an important fact that will be mentioned in the next section.

Description: \\fp1\userdisk\EBEAM\ialva\EDS-Inca\Mineral-Site1-10kvrange.jpg(a)

Description: \\fp1\userdisk\EBEAM\ialva\EDS-Inca\Mineral-Site2-10kvrange.jpg(b)

Figure 3: EDS-Xray Analysis of Mineral Ore from a quarry in San Bernardino County California taken at two different sites of the sample. (a) The elements Ca, Fe, O, Mg are clearly identified (b) Si, Al, Na, O are clearly identified. HITACHI 4700 FSEM 20kV 20uA, EDAX LN2 X-EDS Detector.

Notice that in Fig. 3, the bands shown for elements Si, Ca, and O, are very strong, which is evidenced by the signal to noise ratio. Vogel points out that his sample contains a wide range of elements in the periodic table, all in very pure form. Fig. 3 is a good example of what the EDS spectrum of a sample containing many elements should look like. Even though the element bands signal in Fig. 3 are far stronger than any of those shown by Vogel, this is not evidence that the elements are in any pure form. It is important to mention that chemical bonding cannot be established solely by the spectra shown in Fig.3. For example, it is known from chemistry that Silicon readily oxidizes so the Silicon and Oxygen shown in Fig. 3 (b) are very likely to be bonded as SiO2, whereas Aluminum, which is also present in the scan, is most certainly not chemically bonded to Silicon.

2.- .- Material contains the rare-earth element Thulium. This element is extremely rare and hard to obtain [circa 1985]. The secondary bands of Thulium are not present. The evidence presented in this case is the EDS X-Ray Spectrum presented in Part 3 of The Metal Analysis video at time mark 8:44 and shown in Fig. 4. The computer-assigned element labels in this figure are hard to see, however Vogel himself identifies which elements he believes are present based on the scan. The elements he identifies are Thulium, Bromine, Silver, and Argon. The scale in the figure is clearly from 0-20KeV and, thus, some of the energy bands of the elements he mentions are about where they should be (see ref [3]).

Figure 4: EDS X-Ray Spectrum captured by Vogel. From the upper caption, we can tell that the spectrum was taken at 20KV acceleration voltage and analyzed in with a scale 0 - 20KeV. Vogel identifies Tm, Br, Ag, and Ar in this plot.

In the EDS scan shown in Fig. 4, Vogel finds it remarkable that the "secondary bands" that should accompany Thulium are missing (also mentioned in ref. [6]). Fig. 5 (a) shows a typical EDS X-Ray spectrum of Thulium (Tm) metal [4]. From this plot and from standard EDS X-Ray element tables, it is found that Thulium has two strong bands at 1.462 KeV and 7.179 KeV; it also has several minor bands at 6.34 KeV and at other energies. The secondary banda that Vogel reports as missing are the high energy bands (energies > 6.34 KeV). In particular, the band at 7.179 KeV is almost as strong as the 1.462 KeV band and must have necessarily appeared in Vogel's EDS scan if the element was indeed Thulium.

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Thulium-EDS-Spectrum.gif (a)

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Aluminum-Yttrium-EDS.gif (b)

Figure 5: (a) EDS X-Ray spectrum of Thulium taken from 0-20KeV. The scan shows the characteristic Thulium bands at at 1.462 KeV and 7.179 KeV, among others [4]. (b) EDS X-Ray Spectrum of Aluminum and Yttrium taken from the same reference as (a) with their bands properly identified.

Fig. 6 (a) shows a cut out of Vogel's EDS spectrum of Fig. 4. Fig 6(b) shows the EDS X-Ray spectrum of Aluminum taken at 20KeV acceleration voltage. Aluminum has only one strong EDS band at 1.486 KeV which is very close to the 1.462 KeV band of Thulium.

(a)

(b)

Figure 6: (a) Cut out of Vogel's EDS spectrum from Fig 4. The small features indicated by the black arrows are not identified by Vogel as bands and they are likely to be movable ticks used in the apparatus display control. (b) EDS X-Ray Spectrum of Aluminum. The picture was rescaled to fit Vogel's spectrum. HITACHI 4700 FSEM 20kV 20uA, EDAX LN2 X-EDS Detector.

Looking at (a) and (b) in Fig. 6 and considering Vogel's own admission of the missing secondary bands, we conclude that the element observed in his scan is Aluminum and not Thulium. The very small band immediately adjacent to the predominant band in Vogel spectrum may very well be traces of silver in the region scanned; it would be unlikely that it is argon or, as Vogel says, a combination of silver and argon. Since many elements have bands that overlap with those of other elements, it is absolutely necessary to manually check other possibilities before conclusions are made about composition in an EDS spectrum. It is quite possible that Vogel was deceived by the computer's output; indeed, as noted in the previous section, even today's far more capable computers misinterpret EDS data requiring human intervention for evaluation.

3.- Material did not require gold coating for SEM imaging. Vogel considers extraordinary that the sample did not require metal coating for SEM imaging. As a matter of fact, many samples do not require it. Metal coating is a technique used in SEM to avoid sample charging and it is employed exclusively on samples that are non-conductive [1] and only under certain circumstances. As a matter of fact, many samples that are non-conductive are inspected through SEM and, though the charging issue is still present, an experienced operator is able to circumvent the sample charging and to obtain a proper SEM image. Furthermore, if EDS X-Ray analysis is to be done on an unknown sample, the addition of a metal is undesirable as it can potentially introduce artifacts in the spectral bands. Due to the fact that it is a destructive intervention, metal coating of samples in SEM is only done when it is certain that charging will be an issue.

4.- Portions identified as metal exhibit as a crystal exhibiting birefringence. Elements in sample manifest themselves in a manner such that they preserve their identity while still bonded to the rest of them. Throughout the videos, Vogel uses an optical microscope under different illumination conditions and settings to show different portions of the sample. The conditions mentioned are Normarski Phase Interference, Cross-Polarization, and Oblique illumination. He also focuses and defocuses the sample. One of these sequences is shown in Fig. 7.

(a)

(b)

Figure 7: Same region of Vogel sample viewed under the microscope (a) ordinary illumination (b) combination of polarized light and Nomarski.

When a microscope is used in this way, a sample will show all sort of details and visual effects, as shown in Fig. 8. It is not difficult to make features in a sample stand out if the proper adjustments are made. Also, optical microscopy is not enough to determine element composition or chemical bonding.

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Image_4791.jpg

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Image_4792.jpg

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Image_4793.jpg

Description: C:\Users\ialvarado-rodriguez\Desktop\Image_4794.jpg

Figure 8:A particular spot on a sample is shown under different settings of the optical microscope. The sample was made by rubbing a pellet of aluminum onto the surface of a silicon wafer.

In Part 2 at the 3:21 time mark, Vogel interprets the bright region as evidence of metal birefringence. This is shown in Fig 9. To obtain these images, he either rotates one of the illumination polarizers or adjusts the Wollaston prism in an optical microscope equipped with Nomarski analysis setup.

(a)

(b)

Figure 9:  The figure shows two optical micrographs taken by Vogel of the metal sample. (a) Portion of metal sample viewed under normal microscopy conditions. (b) Same portion of the sample observed when an adjustment is done on the optical components of the Nomarski optical setup.

These results are either the result of Fresnel reflection or Normarski phase interference microscopy [5]. Fig. 10 shows the application of Nomarski phase interference microscopy on given metal sample. The sample is a thin film of gold improperly deposited onto the surface of a silicon wafer. As the Nomarski setup is adjusted, some features of the image stand out more than others. In this case, the effect is entirely due to the particular topography of the surface and, though the effect is similar to that shown in Fig 9, it does not constitute evidence of metal birefringence or any other exotic or unknown property.

(a)

(b)

Figure : (a) Thin film of Au on Si viewed under normal microscopy settings using a 50x objective. (b) same portion of the sample under Normarski Phase-Interference contrast technique.

5.- Portions of sample examined at a magnification of 500 diameters show evidence of micro-manipulation.

Vogel claims to have found evidence of mechanical manipulation at the micro-scale level, preasumeably done with lasers. This is based on the SEM picture shown in Fig. 11(a) where the magnification is specified at 500 diameters. Fig 11(b) shows a SEM picture of the surface of a plate made out of aluminum taken at a magnification of 500 diameters as well. This plate was made by conventional metal machining and the pattern shown is incidental structure that the cutting element produced during the process.

(a)

(b)

Figure11:(a) SEM micrograph taken by Vogel showing indentations at the micro scale. The image was taken at 500 diameters magnification. (b) SEM micrograph of the surface of an Aluminum plate machined in a conventional machine shop. As indicated in the figure, this micrograph was also taken at 500 diameters magnification. The pitch between the lines is of about 50um.

Comparing the two pictures in Fig. 11 we conclude that structure found at the magnification specified can be produced by standard machinery without even having the intention to produce it. Thus, no advanced micro-manipulation is required to explain structure found in a SEM scan at this magnification.

6.- What is so extraordinary about Marcel Vogel Metal Samples or Analysis?

In a nutshell, the notable claims of this sample are that it contains a wide range of elements, the hard-to-obtain element Thulium, and metal crystals exhibiting birefringence. All of these claims are in themselves not remarkable or notable. Thulium, though rare, was available in the 80s and there is no reason that a metal in crystal form would not exhibit some degree of birefringence. A sample can be made to contain many elements of the periodic table without using "cold fusion", as Vogel suggests. Thus, even in the case that all of the claims Vogel's samples, it still it is not clear why these would make them remarkable. It would be, however, interesting if the elements shown were all chemically bonded, but Vogel presents no evidence and performs no test that would lead to establish chemical bonding or alloying between them.

Throughout the video and in multiple printed references, Vogel makes statements to the effect on how unusual the material behaves, how a metallurgist could not put it together, etc. All these statements are purely a matter of opinion and should be dismissed as they do not lead to anything testable or valid.

Below we list some properties that would strongly suggest that the sample was engineered in some advanced way and absolutely worth studying, all of them are very well-known phenomena even back in the 70's and 80's; Vogel must have necessarily been aware of all of them:

  • Photo/Electro-luminescene, especially in Silicon, at any wavelength. Vogel claims to be an expert in luminescence, he does not present this evidence in his report.

  • Magneto-Optical Activity.

  • High RF Extinction at radar bands. This would make the material stealth to either civilian or military radar detection.

  • Photo or Electro induced transparency and any wavelength. It would be ideal that this transparency can be made to work for all wavelengths, but even one small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum would have made the sample remarkable.

  • Superconductivity at any temperature. It would be ideal if it was at room temperature, but even at cryogenic temperatures would have made the sample remarkable. Cryogenic techniques date back to the 60's and Vogel very likely had ready access to them.

  • Super Mechanical strength / weight ratio. Vogel himself shows that the material has been marked with a diamond scribe and, thus, the material is not stronger than diamond.

  • Mechanical resilience.

  • Any ability to induce resonant electromagnetic surface waves (surface plasmons) of any wavelength on the material.

  • Any form of quantum confinement outside atomic electron shells at any temperature.

  • Presence of magnetic charges (a.k.a. magnetic monopoles).

  • Presence of a material that shows negative gravity or anti-gravity.

  • Any form of energy storage that directly contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

References:

[1] Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis by Eric Lifshin, Joseph I. Goldstein and David C. Joy.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bremsstrahlung

[3] There are many websites on the internet where information on element EDS spectral lines can be found. This is one of them http://www.radiochemistry.org/periodictable/

[4] This website that shows a wide collection of EDS X-Ray spectra of elements and substances: http://www.cannonmicroprobe.com/XRay_%20Spectra.htm.

[5] A basic setup and operation description of Normaski phase interference microscopy can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_interference_contrast_microscopy.

 [6] "UFO contact from the Pleiades: A preliminary investigation report" by Wendelle C. Stevens. Page 424 describes some of the results shown in The Beamship.

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