Accelerate an Uncharged Particle?

In summary: It is the interaction that causes the scattering. In summary, particle accelerators use electromagnetic forces to accelerate and guide charged particles to close to the velocity of light. It is possible to build a particle accelerator to accelerate uncharged particles with a non-zero rest mass, but it would require using other forces such as gravity or weak and strong interactions. These methods, however, may not be practical for direct acceleration in the vacuum far from other objects.
  • #1
LarryS
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Particle accelerators use EM to guide and accelerate charged particles to close to the velocity of light. Is it conceptually possible to build a particle accelerator to accelerate uncharged particles that have a non-zero rest mass? Thanks in advance.
 
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  • #2
referframe said:
Particle accelerators use EM to guide and accelerate charged particles to close to the velocity of light. Is it conceptually possible to build a particle accelerator to accelerate uncharged particles that have a non-zero rest mass? Thanks in advance.

What concept would you use? Neutron sources facilities all over the world would like to know.

Zz.
 
  • #3
High energy neutrons can be produced by accelerating deuterons, and "stripping" off the protons. Other high energy neutral particles can come from "charge exchange" interactions or the decay of much heavier particles.
 
  • #4
clem said:
High energy neutrons can be produced by accelerating deuterons, and "stripping" off the protons. Other high energy neutral particles can come from "charge exchange" interactions or the decay of much heavier particles.

But these, and the ones used at spallation neutron sources, still use conventional particle accelerators to accelerate charged entities first. The OP is asking for a direct acceleration of neutral particles.

Zz.
 
  • #5
ZapperZ said:
What concept would you use? Neutron sources facilities all over the world would like to know.

Zz.

Oooo, a tame lump of neutron star?
 
  • #6
bomanfishwow said:
Oooo, a tame lump of neutron star?

Then why stop there? Why not just get one of those big bad black hole? I hear CERN might have quite a few to sell once they get the LHC back on track.

Zz.
 
  • #7
ZapperZ said:
But these, and the ones used at spallation neutron sources, still use conventional particle accelerators to accelerate charged entities first. The OP is asking for a direct acceleration of neutral particles.

Zz.

Yes. I cannot think of an example (at least in the micro world) of F = ma where the "F" is not EM and the "m" is uncharged. Gravity, being basically a field of acceleration, is no longer considered an "F". Also, uncharged particles created from heavier particles or from collisions are not, in my opinion, an example of F = ma.
 
  • #8
referframe said:
Gravity, being basically a field of acceleration, is no longer considered an "F".
I was actually thinking, to accelerate your neutrons, use a charged black hole !
 
  • #9
To accelerate something, you interact with it.

We know about four interactions, weak, strong, EM, and gravity.

EM is convenient, because it's a long-distance force (carrier of the interaction is massless).

Gravity also works, for the same reason, but it's weaker. You could put a neutron at the top of a very tall tower and it will accelerate towards the ground.

Weak and strong forces are short-distance. Weak is short-distance because it's carriers are very heavy, and strong is short-distance because there are no free gluons and you need heavy particles (e.g. virtual pions) to mediate the interaction. You need a long-distance force accelerate a particle in the vacuum far from any other objects.

That does not mean that you can't use weak and strong interactions at all. You could create a cloud of neutrons and fire a beam of protons at it. Some protons will scatter on neutrons and pass momentum on to them.
 
  • #10
hamster143 said:
To accelerate something, you interact with it.

We know about four interactions, weak, strong, EM, and gravity.

EM is convenient, because it's a long-distance force (carrier of the interaction is massless).

Gravity also works, for the same reason, but it's weaker. You could put a neutron at the top of a very tall tower and it will accelerate towards the ground.

Weak and strong forces are short-distance. Weak is short-distance because it's carriers are very heavy, and strong is short-distance because there are no free gluons and you need heavy particles (e.g. virtual pions) to mediate the interaction. You need a long-distance force accelerate a particle in the vacuum far from any other objects.

That does not mean that you can't use weak and strong interactions at all. You could create a cloud of neutrons and fire a beam of protons at it. Some protons will scatter on neutrons and pass momentum on to them.

Forgive my ignorance: When the protons "scatter" on the neutrons does that involve one of the 4 forces ("interactions") of nature or is that just the wave function of the proton interacting with the wave function of the neutron in the QM equivalent of a classical 2-particle collision?
 
  • #11
no, the interaction probability amplitude is:

i) Operate on initial state with Interaction Hamiltonian (e.g the "force" under consideration, weak, Em or Strong)

ii) take result times final state

iii) integrate over space, multiply with phase space

So that is the basic procedure. You have wavefuntions and an interaction hamiltonian.
 
  • #12
referframe said:
Forgive my ignorance: When the protons "scatter" on the neutrons does that involve one of the 4 forces ("interactions") of nature or is that just the wave function of the proton interacting with the wave function of the neutron in the QM equivalent of a classical 2-particle collision?

It involves one of the 4 forces. In the absence of interactions, the wave function of the proton and the wave function of the neutron would just pass through each other.
 

Related to Accelerate an Uncharged Particle?

1. How can an uncharged particle be accelerated?

An uncharged particle can be accelerated by placing it in an electric field. The electric field will induce a temporary separation of charges within the particle, causing it to accelerate in the direction of the field.

2. What factors affect the acceleration of an uncharged particle?

The acceleration of an uncharged particle depends on the strength of the electric field, the mass of the particle, and the charge-to-mass ratio of the particle. A stronger electric field or a smaller mass will result in a higher acceleration, while a larger charge-to-mass ratio will result in a lower acceleration.

3. Can an uncharged particle be accelerated without an electric field?

No, an uncharged particle cannot be accelerated without an electric field. Since the particle has no charge, it will not experience any force in a magnetic field, and therefore cannot be accelerated.

4. What is the difference between accelerating a charged and an uncharged particle?

The main difference between accelerating a charged and an uncharged particle is the mechanism of acceleration. Charged particles can be accelerated using electric or magnetic fields, while uncharged particles can only be accelerated using electric fields.

5. How is the acceleration of an uncharged particle measured?

The acceleration of an uncharged particle can be measured using a variety of methods, such as measuring the displacement or velocity of the particle over time or using specialized instruments like a mass spectrometer. The acceleration can also be calculated using the particle's mass, charge, and the strength of the electric field it is placed in.

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