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Author Topic: What happens in proton positron collisions?  (Read 734 times)

Online jeffreyH

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What happens in proton positron collisions?
« on: 16/06/2016 22:03:15 »
I know that when electrons and positrons collide they anhililate. What about protons with positrons?


 

Offline JohnDuffield

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Re: What happens in proton positron collisions?
« Reply #1 on: 17/06/2016 08:40:17 »
They don't annihilate. Nor do electrons and protons. The latter are attracted towards one another just like electrons and positrons. Electrons and positrons annihilate because they're both simple spinors but with the opposite chirality or "handedness". See this GNUFDL image by Slawekb on the Wikipedia spinor article:


A spinor visualized as a vector pointing along the Möbius band, exhibiting a sign inversion when the circle (the "physical system") is rotated through a full turn of 360°

Make two Mobius strips. For the first one twist the paper clockwise before taping the ends. For the second one twist the paper anticlockwise before taping the ends. You then have two Mobius strips with the opposite chirality. The electron is akin to one, the positron is akin to another. They annihilate because they're the same apart from their opposite chirality. However a proton is very different to an electron. It doesn't just have the opposite chirality. It won't annihilate with an electron, just as your Chubb key won't fit your Yale lock. Ditto for a positron. What you need to annihilate the proton, is an antiproton:


Image credit CSIRO

IMHO you take a look at topological quantum field theory to pursue this. It's interesting stuff.
 
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Online jeffreyH

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Re: What happens in proton positron collisions?
« Reply #2 on: 17/06/2016 08:47:29 »
I wasn't thinking in terms of anhililation. Just what would happen in the process. In terms of decay.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: What happens in proton positron collisions?
« Reply #3 on: 17/06/2016 11:44:39 »
Quote from: JeffreyH
What about protons with positrons [colliding]? In terms of decay.
Protons don't decay (that we can measure).
  • Positrons don't decay (that we can measure).
  • Protons don't readily interact with positrons, except through their electric field. This can result in a change in direction, and the emission of a photon (eg ultraviolet or X-Ray photon)
  • I expect the most likely result is that the positron will bounce off the proton's electric field, emitting a photon. Then the positron will then collide with an nearby electron and annihilate. 

Protons colliding with electrons is more interesting, because they can sometimes convert a proton into a neutron, with the emission of a neutrino.

You can see some diagrams by googling "feynman diagram proton positron"
 
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Online jeffreyH

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Re: What happens in proton positron collisions?
« Reply #4 on: 17/06/2016 13:01:15 »
Yes decay was the worst way to describe it! Sorry didn't have my thinking head on.
« Last Edit: 17/06/2016 13:16:35 by jeffreyH »
 

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Re: What happens in proton positron collisions?
« Reply #4 on: 17/06/2016 13:01:15 »

 

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