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Can Antimatter weapons generate quark-gluon plasma?

  1. Aug 8, 2010 #1
    Is the temperature of a hypothetical antimatter bomb explosion sufficiently high to heat the surrounding matter into quark-gluon plasma? I guess not, but just want to ask you guys for sure.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #2
    Well, I can't speculate about a nonexistent weapon, but the energies of usual positron-electron annihilation is a over a hundred MeV and change less than what you need for the formation of a QGP.
  4. Aug 8, 2010 #3


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    In short - no.

    Proton-antiproton annihilation would yield pions - with a combined total energy = 2 mpc2 = 1.8766 GeV, which is well below the energy for quark separation.

    Electron-positron annihilation would yield 0.511 MeV gamma rays.

    One will not observe a quark-gluon plasma from ordinary antimatter annihilation.

    There is some speculation the quark-gluon plasmas might for under extremely energetic cosmic particles interacting with nuclei in the earth's atmosphere.
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #4


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    Hmm...Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark-gluon_plasma says a quark-gluon plasma occurs at about 175 MeV per particle (by which I assume they mean 175 MeV/A, not 175 MeV per quark). So it's not immediately obvious to me that 938-MeV pions couldn't do the job, simply based on the energy scales. If a single 938-MeV pion donated all its energy to an alpha particle, the energy per nucleon would be above 175 MeV/A.

    However, I suspect that you wouldn't get a QGP this way because the pion would probably just knock a single nucleon out of the target nucleus. You need to thermalize all that energy if you want a QGP.

    I also don't know whether the conditions for a QGP are significantly different in light nuclei. I suspect that it's harder to get a QGP in light nuclei, since they use heavy nuclei in relativistic heavy ion physics.

    I would also caution the OP about the distinction between (a) creating a QGP in some small number of nuclei, and (b) creating a QGP in bulk matter. I don't think the latter would happen.
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