Can electrons knock out neutrons?

  • Thread starter Murdock
  • Start date
  • #1
7
0
I know that sufficiently energetic protons and photons (1.7MeV) can knock a neutron out of a beryllium nucleus. Can an electron do the same?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
35,396
11,758
In principle yes, but I would expect that the process is very unlikely as the neutron does not have a (net) charge.
 
  • #3
7
0
What do you think the probability of it occurring would be compared to a a proton or gamma ray doing the same?
 
  • #4
35,396
11,758
I don't know, but I guess someone studied it somewhere.
Why do you ask?
 
  • #5
7
0
I was wondering because a commonly used neutron source is to use high voltages to accelerate protons into a target to produce neutrons for breeding medical isotopes. It just seemed to me you should be able to skip the "middle man" and get a higher efficiency out of it.
 
  • #6
35,396
11,758
How do you skip something if you replace protons by electrons?
Protons interact with neutrons via the strong interaction, that makes the process much more likely.
 
  • Like
Likes Murdock
  • #7
702
34
Interesting question since photons don't represent a net charge or capture mechanism.
Then again, I don't know if acceleration process is simple and easy when you have to deliver almost 2 MeV.
 
  • #8
35,396
11,758
2 MeV is possible with DC acceleration. With protons you can even save 1 MV of high voltage because you can start with negatively charged ions and use the acceleration voltage twice.
 
  • #9
702
34
mfb,
Agreed. Back in the days Van De Grafs were used, millions of volts were routinely developed. Then again, they were pressed into using high pressure containment to mitigate arcing. It does beg the question, what is a reasonable voltage for commercial use?
 
  • #10
35,396
11,758
I don't know if commercial applications use DC accelerators, but I know those do exist in this energy range.
 
  • #11
e.bar.goum
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
951
390
mfb,
Agreed. Back in the days Van De Grafs were used, millions of volts were routinely developed. Then again, they were pressed into using high pressure containment to mitigate arcing. It does beg the question, what is a reasonable voltage for commercial use?

Hmpf! I'm sitting in the control room of a Van de Graaff accelerator that is in use right now. "Back in the days" indeed.
 
  • Like
Likes vanhees71 and Drakkith

Related Threads on Can electrons knock out neutrons?

Replies
8
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
4K
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
30
Views
41K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
6K
Replies
13
Views
4K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
25
Views
4K
Top