Is it possible to produce the inverse of a decay?

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Is it possible to produce the inverse of a natural radioactive decay? If yes, what would happen? Release energy?
 

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  • #2
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what would happen?
Since the decay releases energy, if you put energy into the system, say in a nova or supernova, you can call that an inverse decay, or more correctly nucleosynthesis.
 
  • #3
Is it possible to produce the inverse of a natural radioactive decay? If yes, what would happen? Release energy?
Yes. Every decay is reversible.

A "reverse decay" would be a collision of two particles resulting in creation of one particle, whose rest mass is bigger than the initial two particles' masses.

For example, direct a sufficiently energetic electron beam into hydrogen and you can create a few neutrons...
 
  • #4
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Yes. Every decay is reversible.

A "reverse decay" would be a collision of two particles resulting in creation of one particle, whose rest mass is bigger than the initial two particles' masses.

For example, direct a sufficiently energetic electron beam into hydrogen and you can create a few neutrons...
That would still emit a neutrino.

Exactly reversing a decay (1 to many particles) is tricky - you have to collide multiple particles with exactly* the right energy to get this 1 particle out and nothing else.

*within the natural uncertainty of the energy of this particle which increases with shorter lifetime, so it is much easier with short-living particles like the Z boson.
 
  • #5
That would still emit a neutrino.
I didn't want to be cruel and ask him to create an apparatus which emits beams of W bosons :)
 
  • #6
Yes, though I would not call that inverse decay. Fusion might be a more appropriate term and their would be release of energy.If you look at the nuclear binding energy curve, you'll see that low Z elements are most likely to undergo fusion, where as heavier elements are likely to undergo decay.
 

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