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Can a gamma initiate weak decay of a proton?

by Philip Wood
Tags: decay, gamma, initiate, proton, weak
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Philip Wood
#1
Sep22-11, 07:07 AM
PF Gold
P: 937
Does this ever happen?

p + [itex]\gamma[/itex] [itex]\rightarrow[/itex] n + e+ + [itex]\nu_e[/itex]

It seems possible, if the [itex]\gamma[/itex] has enough energy, but I wonder if anyone can confirm that it happens.
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PAllen
#2
Sep22-11, 12:19 PM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,027
Quote Quote by Philip Wood View Post
Does this ever happen?

p + [itex]\gamma[/itex] [itex]\rightarrow[/itex] n + e+ + [itex]\nu_e[/itex]

It seems possible, if the [itex]\gamma[/itex] has enough energy, but I wonder if anyone can confirm that it happens.
While I have no idea of whether this could happen in practice, or what the cross section would be, I don't see anything to fundamentally prohibit it. In fact, it strikes me you could look at this as combining two well known interactions that do occur:

p + gamma -> p + e+ + e-

then, electron capture. Combine, and you get the proposed reaction. This supports the view that there shouldn't be anything fundamental prohibiting this.
Philip Wood
#3
Sep22-11, 01:06 PM
PF Gold
P: 937
Thank you. This does indeed make it seem even more plausible.


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