# Does matter convert to photons only?

• HeisenbergSon
In summary, the conversion of matter into energy does not necessarily mean that all particles are converted into photons. While matter can morph from one form to another and release energy as photons in the process, elementary particles with mass cannot decay into photons due to the conservation of charge, color, and other factors. Additionally, there are limitations and restrictions on the ways in which particles can be converted into light. It is important to understand the context and underlying principles before applying formulas such as E=mc^2.
HeisenbergSon
When matter is turned to energy does this mean that all the quarks and other particles are converted to photons?

I want to know if all particles can end up as photons (by any process at all).

Its important to me to know this.

Welcome to PhysicsForums, HeisenbergSon!

I see you asked a similar question recently. The short answer is that while matter can morph from one form to another - and release energy as photons in the process, elementary particles with mass cannot decay into photons. The reason has to do with conservation of charge, color, etc. Photons do not carry either.

For example: for an electron to decay, it would need to get rid of its charge of -1/2. Photons do not supply a way for that to happen, although they would conceptually provide a channel to carry off the mass of the electron. Similarly, a neutron has a net charge of 0 but it is has charge components and therefore cannot degrade into photons.

Just as a side note: if you want to get answers here, there is no need to provide caveats as to who answers. This is a great place to come to work through your questions.

So e does not equal mc squared for charged particles?

A single charged particle may not be able to decay into a photon but a charged particle along with its antiparticle can decay as evidenced,for example,with electron positron annihilation where, in the majority of cases, two photons are produced.Charge is conserved because the total charge before and after is zero.

HeisenbergSon said:
So e does not equal mc squared for charged particles?

You have to have context when you talk about formulas like E=mc^2. Just because there is a conversion between energy and matter does not mean that the conversion happens all the time. As stated earlier, the ways particles can be converted strictly into light are not numerous. In fact, the methods are few and far between. If you put two protons next to each other, do you think they'll annihilate into pure light? No. How about a proton and electron? Well, the sum of the electric charges are 0 which means having the release of charge-less photons sounds OK... but that isn't the whole story. There are other conservation laws that must be obeyed.

A single charged particle may not be able to decay into a photon but a charged particle along with its antiparticle can decay as evidenced,for example,with electron positron annihilation where, in the majority of cases, two photons are produced.Charge is conserved because the total charge before and after is zero.

Excellent note! He did ask "by any process at all"...

Is there any particle at all that would not make photons when it meets its anti-particle?
neutrino? anti-quarks? What about any very unusual particle?

Sorry to come at an odd angle on this one...

Is it too much to ask if two photons can combine to make a proton and an anti-proton?
I never heard of photons 'colliding' with each other since there is nothing to collide...

A number of messages reflecting a personal theory have been removed from this thread. Please, let's keep this on topic and consistent with the PF Rules on overly speculative posts.

HeisenbergSon said:
Is it too much to ask if two photons can combine to make a proton and an anti-proton?
I never heard of photons 'colliding' with each other since there is nothing to collide...

You would probably be well served to study some of literature on fundamental particles so you can fill in your knowledge in this area. It is pretty clear you are at an early point in your understanding of charge, color (strong force), mass, weak force, etc. If you read up some more and then ask questions, you will probably benefit. Learning a little of the history of the development of modern quantum field theory would help as well. Many of the developments can be better understood by the order in which they were discovered.

Looks like a bluffers forum here...a bit like string theory was.

HeisenbergSon said:
Looks like a bluffers forum here...

I would say that is uncalled for. If you don't know what you don't know, no one can help you. And no one will want to help someone who is not civil.

You are asking about the conversion of matter into energy. That is a pretty big area to cover and some physicists spend their entire career working in labs where this is the primary objective. That is what the CERN, LHC and FermiLab teams are doing, for example. Hence, there is a lot of active research going on which is available for your review.

I would suggest you look at what others have already done as an avenue to build your understanding. That is an expedient way to learn.

## 1. What is the relationship between matter and photons?

The relationship between matter and photons is that matter can be converted into photons through a process called annihilation. This occurs when a particle of matter and a particle of antimatter collide and release energy in the form of photons.

## 2. Is it possible for matter to convert to photons without the presence of antimatter?

No, matter cannot directly convert to photons without the presence of antimatter. In order for annihilation to occur, both matter and antimatter particles must be present and collide with one another.

## 3. Can matter be converted into other forms of energy besides photons?

Yes, matter can be converted into other forms of energy besides photons. This is described by Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2, which states that matter is a form of energy and can be converted into other forms of energy, such as thermal, kinetic, or nuclear energy.

## 4. How does the conversion of matter to photons occur in everyday life?

In everyday life, the conversion of matter to photons typically occurs through natural processes such as radioactive decay or in high-energy environments such as nuclear power plants or particle accelerators.

## 5. What are the potential applications of matter-to-photon conversion?

The conversion of matter to photons has potential applications in various fields, including energy production, medical imaging and therapy, and space exploration. It is also a fundamental process in understanding the behavior of particles and the universe as a whole.

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