Cherenkov Radiation in Vacuum: Can Superluminal Particles Emit Light?

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of detecting particles with speeds faster than the speed of light, known as tachyons, through the emission of Cherenkov radiation in a vacuum. The argument is based on the assumption that if these particles exist, they should emit this radiation. However, there is a question about whether this argument can stand since Cherenkov radiation is typically created in a medium, not a vacuum. The conversation also touches on the idea that tachyons could emit photons in a way that other particles cannot, and the potential for research on superluminal neutrinos. Overall, the conversation highlights the complexities and challenges of studying particles with speeds faster than light.
  • #1
e.chaniotakis
80
3
Hello!
The question refers to the supposed tachyons. Many experiments have been conducted based on cosmic ray studies with the following assumption:
" If particles with u>c exist then they should emit Cherenkov radiation in vacuum. Thus... Let's detect it!"
How can this argument stand?
Electrodynamics tells us that Cherenkov radiation is created when a particle travels through a medium with speed higher than the speed of light in the medium. The molecules of the medium are polarized and de-polarized resulting in the emission of photons. The u>c argument leads in coherence and the observed angular distribution of the radiation.
But the above need a medium ! Vacuum has no molecules, so ,theoretically, how could it emit?
Thank you
 
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  • #2
You don't need polarization of a medium - this is just a way to slow light down.

In vacuum, a tachyon can emit a photon and conserve both energy and momentum in that process - something not possible for other particles.
 
  • #3
Ok. But why on Earth it would have the same angular distribution as the cherenkov effect?
 
  • #4
It is the same mechanism, I think the emitted photons would have to have some special angle relative to the flight direction.
 
  • #5
It cannot be the same mechanism, since there is no coherence!
Have you got any documentation on the subject?
 
  • #6
There was some publication (or at least an arXiv preprint) discussing Cherenkov radiation for superluminal neutrinos, that might be interesting.
It cannot be the same mechanism, since there is no coherence!
There is no need to have any coherence in some material. Vacuum is fine.
 

Related to Cherenkov Radiation in Vacuum: Can Superluminal Particles Emit Light?

1. What is Cherenkov radiation in vacuum?

Cherenkov radiation in vacuum is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle moves through a vacuum at a speed greater than the speed of light in that medium.

2. How is Cherenkov radiation in vacuum different from other types of radiation?

Unlike other types of radiation, Cherenkov radiation in vacuum is not caused by a change in energy levels of an atom or molecule. Instead, it is caused by the interaction of a charged particle with the electric and magnetic fields of the vacuum.

3. What causes the characteristic blue color of Cherenkov radiation in vacuum?

The blue color of Cherenkov radiation in vacuum is a result of the particle's high velocity. As the particle travels through the vacuum, it creates a shock wave of electromagnetic radiation that is most intense in the blue wavelength range.

4. What are the applications of Cherenkov radiation in vacuum?

Cherenkov radiation in vacuum has various applications in fields such as high-energy particle physics, astrophysics, and nuclear medicine. It is used to detect and study high-energy particles, as well as to image and treat tumors in cancer therapy.

5. Is Cherenkov radiation in vacuum harmful to humans?

Cherenkov radiation in vacuum is generally not harmful to humans. The radiation is primarily in the ultraviolet to visible range, which is lower in energy than other types of radiation such as X-rays and gamma rays. However, exposure to high levels of Cherenkov radiation in vacuum can still have potential health effects.

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