Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

High or uncertain momentum

  1. Sep 7, 2008 #1
    Can we use Heisenberg's uncertainty relation to explain the working of high energy colliders?
    (Isn't it rather that we need high energies to turn virtual into real particles?)

    If Heisenberg relations apply, why do we need high momentum particles? Are not rather particles with uncertainties in their momentum needed?

    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    We're trying to produce particles with uncertainties in their momentum (not quite the way I'd put it, but I see what you mean) …

    we need to collide high momentum particles to produce the high energies out of which uncertain-momentum particles will temporarily appear. :smile:
  4. Sep 8, 2008 #3
    Can someone answer, please? Come on, that's an easy question.

    As a thank you in advance I share with you theLarge Hadron rap.
  5. Sep 8, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    if it is a easy question, why don't you answer it yourself?

    we need high momentum particles to get high center of mass energy, which can excite new particles from the vacuum.
  6. Sep 8, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The HUP is irrelevant for high energy colliders, except for questions of resolution and beam focusing.
  7. Sep 8, 2008 #6
    I had the suspicion, too. But got confused by many sources on the net which bring up HUP when explaining the functioning of colliders.
  8. Sep 9, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    maybe you just missunderstood? Can you show us one of them?
  9. Sep 9, 2008 #8
    Look here science advisor malawi glenn


    where they say:

    Accelerators solve two problems for physicists. First, since all particles behave like waves, physicists use accelerators to increase a particle's momentum, thus decreasing its wavelength enough that physicists can use it to poke inside atoms. Second, the energy of speedy particles is used to create the massive particles that physicists want to study.

    So there a two problems or what? Are they related or not?
  10. Sep 9, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    no, they mean that if you have high momentum particles, you can resolve smaller objects - see deBroigle wavelenght. So higher momentum particles can see smaller objects.

    Also this a good link: http://www3.tsl.uu.se/thep/courses/QM/scattering-overview.pdf

    But there is no HUP in here, just high centre of mass energy (exciting high mass particles from vacuum) and small wavelenghts (resolve small objects)
  11. Sep 9, 2008 #10
    clear now, thanks everybody!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: High or uncertain momentum
  1. High energy gamma rays (Replies: 8)

  2. High Energy (Replies: 2)