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Grade: 10
        
 
why does a photon split into an electron and an antiproton when it strikes a heavy nucleus?
please explain in detail
5 years ago

Answers : (1)

Saurabh Kumar
askIITians Faculty
2411 Points
							Annihilation is defined as "total destruction" or "complete obliteration" of an object; having its root in the Latin nihil (nothing). A literal translation is “to make into nothing".

In physics, the word is used to denote the process that occurs when a subatomic particle collides with its respective antiparticle, such as an electron colliding with a positron. Since energy and momentum must be conserved, the particles are simply transformed into new particles. They do not disappear from existence. Antiparticles have exactly opposite additive quantum numbers from particles, so the sums of all quantum numbers of the original pair are zero. Hence, any set of particles may be produced whose total quantum numbers are also zero as long as conservation of energy and conservation of momentum are obeyed. When a particle and its antiparticle collide, their energy is converted into a force carrier particle, such as a gluon, W/Z force carrier particle, or a photon. These particles are afterwards transformed into other particles.

During a low-energy annihilation, photon production is favored, since these particles have no mass. However, high-energy particle colliders produce annihilations where a wide variety of exotic heavy particles are created.
Electron–positron annihilationMain
e−+e+→γ+γWhen a low-energy electron annihilates a low-energy positron (antielectron), they can only produce two or more gamma ray photons, since the electron and positron do not carry enough mass-energy to produce heavier particles, and conservation of energy and linear momentum forbid the creation of only one photon. When an electron and a positron collide to annihilate and create gamma rays, energy is given off. Both particles have a rest energy of 0.511 mega electron volts (MeV). When the mass of the two particles is converted entirely into energy, this rest energy is what is given off. The energy is given off in the form of the aforementioned gamma rays. Each of the gamma rays has an energy of 0.511 MeV. Since the positron and electron are both briefly at rest during this annihilation, the system has no momentum during that moment. This is the reason that two gamma rays are created. Conservation of momentum would not be achieved if only one photon was created in this particular reaction. Momentum and energy are both conserved with 1.022 MeV of gamma rays (accounting for the rest energy of the particles) moving in opposite directions (accounting for the total zero momentum of the system). However, if one or both particles carry a larger amount of kinetic energy, various other particle pairs can be produced.
Proton-antiproton annihilation
When a proton encounters its antiparticle (and more generally, if any species of baryon encounters any species of antibaryon), the reaction is not as simple as electron-positron annihilation. Unlike an electron, a proton is a composite particle consisting of three "valence quarks" and an indeterminate number of "sea quarks" bound by gluons. Thus, when a proton encounters an antiproton, one of its constituent valence quarks may annihilate with an antiquark, while the remaining quarks and antiquarks will undergo rearrangement into a number of mesons (mostly pions and kaons), which will fly away from the annihilation point. The newly created mesons are unstable, and will decay in a series of reactions that ultimately produce nothing but gamma rays, electrons, positrons, and neutrinos. This type of reaction will occur between any baryon (particle consisting of three quarks) and any antibaryon (consisting of three antiquarks)
5 years ago
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