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What is the difference between a mass state and an interaction state ? 
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#1
Jun811, 09:54 AM

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I've encountered these terms a few times with no explanation, and googling around turns up absolutely nothing. Can anyone give me a brief description of the two terms, suitable for undergraduate level?
thanks. 


#2
Jun811, 11:39 AM

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I've never heard the terms used, but maybe a mass state is an eigenstate of H_{0} and an interaction state is an eigenstate of H_{0} + H_{int}.



#3
Jun811, 01:02 PM

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P: 2,337

In which context have you heard these somewhat strange notions?
Perhaps you refer to mixing phenomena (nowadays mostly coming up in the context of neutrino oscillations), where the masseigen states are different from the chargeeigen states of the interaction in which these particles are involved? In the case of neutrinos the mass eigenstates that admit to define asymptotically free Fock states are different from the flavoreigen states, i.e., an electron antineutrino (coming, e.g., from the beta decay of a neutron) is a superposition of antineutrinomass eigenstates. Longer known is the mixing of the quarks, where the corresponding unitary matrix which transforms from the flavoreigen state basis to the masseigen state basis is named the CKM matrix (named after Cabibbo, Kobayashi, and Maskawa). 


#4
Jun811, 03:12 PM

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P: 1,256

What is the difference between a mass state and an interaction state ?
The "mass state" in the linear combination of the states that propagates like a state with definite mass. The "interaction state" is the linear combination that is produced by some interation. For example, two different neutral K meson states are produced in a strong interaction. The "interaction states" are K_1 which decays to two pions, and K_2 which decays to three pions. The "mass states" are K_short and K_long which move at slightly different velocities with the same energy. The mass and interaction states are related by a 2X2 matrix, and this leads to oscillation between the K_1 and K_2 states. 


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