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I Anti Proton - Non Proton reaction

  1. Apr 17, 2017 #1
    Alright, I have a basic understanding about anti hydrogen - hydrogen annihilation reaction. But what exactly happens if an anti hydrogen atom stumbles into anything else like a deuterium, tritium of helium atom?

    From my limited understanding, antimatter can only react with its anti-particle. So if a single anti hydrogen strikes a helium 4 atom, the anti proton reacts with a proton in the helium core and it positron reacts with an electron in the helium. The remainder, a proton with 2 neutron and 1 electron (=Tritium atom) should fly away the opposite direction. Correct?

    If so, would this be a usefull property which we can use for propulsion/energy production. Instead of a neutral Helium, we could strip the outer electron, and the antimatter reaction would be (besides the standard propton antimatter product) be a highly directed tritium ion, which we could directly use for propulsion using a magnetic nozzle, correct?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2017 #2
    I have never heard of the constraint that a particle can only annihilate with its anti counterpart. The way I understand it, particle reactions work kinda like one of those chemistry equations, where what comes out "simply" needs to satisfy certain conservation laws (total charge stays the same, total energy, momentum etc), and that output is a combination of various particles and radiation.

    So, in your scenario, a stray electron might very well annihilate one of the antiquarks inside the antiproton, resulting in radiation and remaining free antiquarks that quickly decay themselves (just an example that might very well be wrong, but I think it gets the idea across).
  4. Apr 17, 2017 #3
    From my understanding, this is possible but unlikely and antiproton most likely reacts with subatomic opposite particle, which is another proton. Now the question is, would a helium atom explode (in 2 nasty neutrons + 1 proton) or stay together as a single atom (which would be tritium).

    The difference is important to me because I need to answer if I can only use Hydrogen to ignite antimatter, or can I also me easy storable stuff
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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