The observation of an electrical current upon the ultraviolet (UV) illumination of one of a pair of identical electrodes in liquid water, called the Becquerel effect, was made over 150 years ago. More recently, an electrical current was found if the water surrounding one electrode was made to cavitate by focused acoustic radiation, the phenomenon called the cavitation induced Becquerel effect. Since cavitation is known to produce UV light, the electrode may simply absorb the UV light and produce the current by the photo-emission theory of photoelectrochemistry. But the current was found to be semi-logarithmic with the standard electrode potential which is characteristic of the oxidation of the electrode surface in the photo-decomposition theory, and not the photo-emission theory. High bubble collapse temperatures may oxidize the electrode, but this is unlikely because melting was not observed on the electrode surfaces. At ambient temperature, oxidation may proceed by chemical reaction provided a source of vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) radiation is available to produce the excited OH* states of water to react with the electrode. The source of VUV radiation is shown to be the spontaneous emission of coherent infrared (IR) radiation from water molecules in particles that form in bubbles because of surface tension, the spontaneous IR emission induced by cavity quantum electrodynamics. The excited OH* states are produced as the IR radiation accumulates to VUV levels in the bubble wall molecules.
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