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High energy particles and uncertainty

  1. Jul 21, 2012 #1
    Say we have a linear accelerator, that accelerates particles with 1 TeV along direction x. That means we know that the momentum of the particle in direction x is almost exactly 1 TeV.

    But high-momentum particles have also a very short Broglie wavelength! The spread in x position is small for a particle moving fast in the x direction.

    Of course, we can't have both, small spread in x and p_x.

    So what is precise in high energy colliders, the momentum or the position of the accelerated particles?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    A particle with a small deBroglie wavelength may still have a large uncertainty in measured position. I don't think particle accelerators often approach Heisenberg limits for uncertainty.
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