# Neutron/proton nucleon destruction by acceleration

• I
A nucleon that consists entirely of two or more protons, would be accelerated evenly, as each proton would see the same force (barring any collisions or other extraneous events.) Each should experience the same force of repulsion or attraction that is causing them to accelerate, so they should experience a minimal force between them that might cause the nucleon to break down into separate particels. Is this correct? In a situation with a proton and a neutron, there is no acceleration by attraction or repulsion from an electrical or magnetic field, so the neutron would be accelerated simply by 'hanging on' to the proton through the strong force, is this correct? Attached to the proton by a rubber band so to speak. The neutron, having a tiny bit more mass, then the neutron should have different kinetic or inertial moments than the proton while accelerating or decelerating. Is that a relatively correct statement and conclusion?

If so, and I haven't made any egregious mistakes so far (with the exception of missing a few other possible differences between the two under a magnetic or electrical field being accelerated, like magnetic moments) then would there be a rate of acceleration, the acceleration alone, being capable of tearing the two apart from each other? And if so how would that be calculated? Would one just calculate the difference of the accelerations and look for that point that the difference would be equal to or greater than the strong force? If a neutron can be separated from the proton by acceleration rate alone, would the direction that the neutron would 'fly off' from the proton be the same that it is moving just prior to being separated from the proton?

I guess what I am asking is, that in the case of atomic decay and neutron emission, it's pretty much a monte carlo simulation as to which direction the neutron is going to go. But in this case, with the neutron already in motion at a high velocity, and the weak force not causing the separation, wouldn't its direction simply be to continue on in the direction it had been going? Or will there be other forces other than kinetic energy that will enter the picture when it separates? (Again, barring any collisions.)

Related High Energy, Nuclear, Particle Physics News on Phys.org
mfb
Mentor
Each should experience the same force of repulsion or attraction that is causing them to accelerate, so they should experience a minimal force between them that might cause the nucleon to break down into separate particels. Is this correct?
Do you mean zero instead of "minimal"?
so the neutron would be accelerated simply by 'hanging on' to the proton through the strong force, is this correct?
Right.
If so, and I haven't made any egregious mistakes so far (with the exception of missing a few other possible differences between the two under a magnetic or electrical field being accelerated, like magnetic moments) then would there be a rate of acceleration, the acceleration alone, being capable of tearing the two apart from each other?
Not in this world. The required field strength would be of the order of 1 MV/fm = 1021 eV/m. This is 1000 times the Schwinger limit. You cannot create fields that strong. A strong field would create electron/positrons pairs that reduce the field strength. You would need a world without electrons to get fields that strong.

There is no fixed limit for this process happening, it would just gradually get more likely with increasing field strength, as the proton could tunnel out.

vanhees71
Yes, zero (I didn't know if the magnetic moment of the neutron might have a role at near relativistic velocities.) Well, my question was an attempt to determine if there was some way I could use a magnetic or electrostatic field to get neutrons headed in a predictable direction in a fairly tight beam. Thanks for the answer.

mfb
Mentor
Spallation (shooting protons into fixed targets) produces neutrons moving roughly in the same direction, but not as nicely focused as other beams in accelerators.

Hmmm. I have a Cobalt Iron Gadolinium sputter target (I know it's not quite the same thing.) Or a broken Beryllium x-ray window. Would either of those work as a good spallation target for this purpose? The SNS at ORNL uses mercury (I can get some gold after using it a while!) I kind of like the Beryllium because gamma rays of sufficient energy will kick neutrons out as well, further increasing the neutron density. Although I am not trying to create a neutron source as such, the more neutrons, the better for my purposes, so I see Beryllium as a good option though it isn't as neutron rich like Tungsten or Uranium.

mfb
Mentor
Ask an expert for the facility you work on.

I work for MM&I. Thanks.

Beryllium and Deuterium require ~2 MeV to lose a neutron. Be loses binding energy Be8 >2 He4. Our X-ray “tube head” generated 800KeV xrays after tweaking but not enough. However a fusor (q.v.) accelerates Deuterium to 20 KeV (x2000 electron masses ) enough to initiate D + D > He3 + n reaction and D > P + n. Bomb neutron generators are Polonium or Radium plus intimate mix with Beryllium; 14 MeV alpha interacting with Beryllium. Be and Li7 do n,2n reaction multiplying neutrons. For collimating low energy neutrons some crystals have been used as “gratings” however fast neutrons go through stuff. Deuteron beam hitting a target is simplest neutron generator. Li7 or B11 targets for higher energy n. (D + Li7 > n + 2x He4 + 10 MeV). Note Beryllium is a strong neutron reflector.