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Antimatter bomb

  1. Apr 5, 2010 #1
    hi, not that i'm going to make one, i'm asking just out of curiosity

    Would it be possible to make an antimatter bomb by using regular h-bomb and radioisotopes like those used in pet scanners?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2010 #2


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    hi danihel! :smile:

    pet scanners only produce positrons, which of course are the antimatter version of electrons

    so far as i know, electrons aren't used in a regular h-bomb, so positrons wouldn't be needed for an antimatter version. :wink:
  4. Apr 5, 2010 #3
    hi tiny-tim thanks for reply

    my idiotic illiterate picture of this antimatter bomb was something like putting more than bunch of those isotopes inside an h-bomb and the implosion would cause them all to decay and shoot positrons that collide with matter and make bigger mess
  5. Apr 5, 2010 #4


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    hi danihel! :smile:
    but increasing pressure (or temperature) doesn't increase decay rates, and anyway an h-bomb works by fusion of nuclear particles, which a) is the opposite of decay and b) doesn't involve electrons or positrons anyway
  6. Apr 5, 2010 #5
    i had a feeling there could be something wrong with my theory, i thought the nuclear explosion would cause some chain reaction within the radionuclide isotopes that release positrons by fission
  7. Apr 5, 2010 #6
    maybe in theory, but hardly an effective weapon....Among other problems, I don't think we know how to "store" anti matter..

    See here for a general discussion of anti matter bombs:

    from that article:

  8. Apr 5, 2010 #7


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    Which would absorb energy, if you are creating anti-matter than you are using energy to do so.
  9. Apr 5, 2010 #8


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    Fission does not produce positrons, although any gamma ray with an energy of 1.022 MeV or greater has a probability of creating positron-electron pairs. Positron emission is a relatively slow decay process, and usually of proton-rich light nuclei, although electron capture is a more likely conversion process.

    There is no way to create antiprotons at fission/fusion energies. Creating anti-protons requires energies in the GeV range, as compared to ~100 MeV for fission products, ~several MeV for fission neutrons and fusion products.

    Anti-matter production/annihilation is a subatomic process vs nuclear or chemical.
  10. Apr 5, 2010 #9
    thanks a lot for replies
    i was reading about pet scanners wondering where do they get those positrons from and i had no idea that positrons can be emitted by ordinary decay of an isotope( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorine-18 ) so that led me to this awesome idea.
  11. May 8, 2010 #10
    It is not possible to create an antimatter bomb using any kind of technology because of the extremely short life of anti-matter . Once the radioisotopes are joined with the positrons and anti-neutrons , the anti-matter cannot be contained in a magneticaly charged chamber, because the product of the radio-isotope connection becomes electron neutral, and so comes into contact wih the magnetic chambers walls within a very short amount of time , thus annihalating both matter and antimatter involved in the connection. It would produce radiation and a small amount of energy, but it is virtually impossible.
  12. May 8, 2010 #11
    There is also efficiency, and an anti-matter bomb would be highly destructive... why not use kinetic or nuclear bombardment?
  13. May 8, 2010 #12
    I diasagree that it's not possible to hold a large block of it. A large block of anti-iron could be trivially levitated by an induction coil and safely so by using a feedback control system to hold it in place. An antimatter maglev train could fly through an evacuated tunnel without incindent. (of course it can't ferry any passengers so it would never be built.)
  14. May 8, 2010 #13
    How does one accumulate the block of anti-iron in the first place?

    Oh, on a different note, that sounds like a way to make an anit-matter bunker buster. Now THAT might be sensible where nuclear strikes or orbital bombardment might fail. Impossible to create for now, and in the forseeable future as long as electricity = antimatter in production, but it might work if you could tunnel and evacuate ahead of a small warhead. Perhaps it could cavitate in some way, and the "maglev" could be an internal system. I suppose I cannot see antimatter as anything BUT a bomb.
  15. May 8, 2010 #14
    One anti-atom at a time. It only works for magnetic atoms like nickel, or iron.
  16. May 8, 2010 #15
    Impractical, but it doesn't change the fact that you're right about the outcome. An antimatter maglev, heh, imagine the lawsuits.
  17. May 8, 2010 #16
    Indeed. Maybe we should think bigger.

    If the sun converts ten tons of mass into energy each second, then if we somehow delivered 100 tons of antimatter into it's core and "released" it, would the sun get really bright for a second, would it bulge out for a while, or would it outright explode? Any stellar physicists out there?
  18. May 8, 2010 #17
    I doubt that 100 tons of antimatter would do anything significant to such a large body. It might cause disturbances or ripples on the surface after a time, but the sun is a violent place already.
  19. May 8, 2010 #18


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    That would be barely noticeable, although one would detect a source of gamma rays. It might make a bright spot several 100 m or on the order of 1 km, but compare that to a solar granule.

  20. May 8, 2010 #19
  21. May 10, 2010 #20
    Surely an anti-matter (i.e electron positron annhilation) 'bomb' would be perfect for ejecting high dose gamma radiation (thus inducing radiation sickness etc etc) inside a largely populated area? Sure, it would be noticeable with a GM counter, but it would be unnoticed until then. I sound sick and cruel but it would work.
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