Can a gamma initiate weak decay of a proton?

  1. Philip Wood

    Philip Wood 1,136
    Gold Member

    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. PAllen

    PAllen 5,719
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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.
     
  4. Philip Wood

    Philip Wood 1,136
    Gold Member

    Thank you. This does indeed make it seem even more plausible.
     
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