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Does the nucleon-nucleon interaction depend on momentum?

  1. Apr 27, 2006 #1
    In my nuclear physics textbook (from 1988), there's a section which lists properties of the nuclear force, including one section about how the nucleon-nucleon interaction may depend on the momentum or velocity of the nucleons. (It talks mostly about the spin-orbit term, which is V(r)*(r x p) dot S, where r, p, and S are vectors, and S is the sum of the spin of the two nucleons.) I have a few questions about this:

    1. Is this in any way analogous to how a magnetic force is produced by a moving charged particle? In other words, is the spin orbit term something that should be thought of as a purely quantum-mechanical thing, or is it basically the nuclear force's "magnetism"?

    2. Where can I find more information about momentum-dependency?

    3. I'm looking for a nuclear physics topic to do a short (~6-page) paper on for next Tuesday. Is this a manageable topic, or is it too obscure or difficult to write a paper on?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2006 #2


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    What is the nuclear physics textbook from 1988?

    Momentum plays a role in collisions of nucleons. But beyond conservation of momentum and energy (and involvement of spin), I would defer to others.

    As for a paper, it is possible to do a 6-page paper if the topic is sufficiently constrained.

    You might find some ideas here -

    Eternal Questions


    Hopefully others will jump in and give better advice on a paper.

    If the subject is primarily nuclear physics, then perhaps one can identify an area that needs to be further explored.

    Comparing the structure and differences (and consequent differences in nucleon interations) between the nuclei of tritium (p,2n) and He3 (2p,n) might be interesting.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  4. Apr 27, 2006 #3
    Introductory Nuclear Physics by Kenneth S. Krane.
  5. Apr 27, 2006 #4
    You go to the same school that I do JoAuSc. That or you have a very similar project due as I do and in the same state at the same time...

    It could be I guess.

    It happens that my research involves nucleon-nucleon scattering specifically. I guess I don't really know how to answer your question on the momentum dependence.

    If you look at the total cross section for nucleon-nucleon scattering (pp, np, nn) you will see a plot that varies with momentum of the incident particle. (see pdg.lbl.gov and look at the cross section data). So in that sense their is definitely a momentum dependence, but I think you had something else in mind.

    The spin orbit part of the nucleon-nucleon potential is purely quantum mechanical and I don't see (doesn't mean it isn't true) how you would equate it too classical magnetism.

    The book by Fraunfelder and Henly (Subatomic Physics) has a good discussion of the nucleon-nucleon interaction. Also the nuclear physics book by Freschbach has an extensive discussion of the subject if memory serves me.

    My office is in on the third floor of Olin, (if you go to the same school as me...). Feel free to stop by sometime and we can discuss any questions you have.

  6. May 1, 2006 #5
    Yep, either that or another one with an "Olin Hall".

    I might check those books out. Since the paper's due so soon, though, I'll just choose an easier topic like nuclear scattering.
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