B Practical Antimatter Production

Dear All,

I read this article Lightning Strikes Produce Antimatter Particles in Earth’s Atmosphere which I find very intriguing and it raises many questions for me, so I will try to contain myself. Here is the accompanying illustration:

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The first major question is, how did the researchers come to that conclusion only using gamma detectors?

The second major question is, can I replicate it in the lab? I mean a spark gap is also known to emit gamma rays.

Optional question, how do you practically collect/detect the electrons and positrons?

Kind regards
Abim
 
Is this the wrong forum for this question Mr. Moderator? I mean since nobody seems to have any interest in answering?
 

berkeman

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It's probably the correct forum, but your thread title is a bit of an oxymoron, so that may be keeping folks from trying to reply.

Have you searched the PF for other discussions of "practical" antimatter production? You can start with the "Related Threads" listed below... 👼
 
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It's probably the correct forum, but your thread title is a bit of an oxymoron, so that may be keeping folks from tying to reply.

Have you searched the PF for other discussions of "practical" antimatter production? You can start with the "Related Threads" listed below... 👼
Yes I tried, but they all wander quickly into e.g. LHC and QM etc., hence my use of the term "practical", maybe I should have used "simple" or "low-cost" but I assume that would also constitute an oxymoron. I laid forward a simple process that produces antimatter and I would just like to learn PF member's sentiments on the feasibility to replicate the process in a lab setup.
 

ZapperZ

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I'll bite.

Why is this "more practical" and more simpler than simply shooting gamma rays at beryllium? What kind of a yield are you expecting with this scheme? Do you think that the gamma rays created by such sparks or lightning is directional, so much so that you can actually get enough of a flux for it to be useful?

Note that just because something is possible, does not mean that it is "practical". Since this criteria is what you are including (in your title), I want to know why you think this is more practical than what we already know.

Zz.
 
I'll bite.

Why is this "more practical" and more simpler than simply shooting gamma rays at beryllium? What kind of a yield are you expecting with this scheme? Do you think that the gamma rays created by such sparks or lightning is directional, so much so that you can actually get enough of a flux for it to be useful?

Note that just because something is possible, does not mean that it is "practical". Since this criteria is what you are including (in your title), I want to know why you think this is more practical than what we already know.

Zz.
I commend you for your courage, you have earned your "Like".

Thank you very much, you have answered all my questions and I'm being serious here. Allow me to reciprocate, I think I can answer all your queries with one answer: It is not everyone that is working for a heavily funded government research facility, and I'm one of those misfits.

For the record, whenever I pose a question, I'm not trying to setup, mislead or provoke anyone. I'm asking out of mainly ignorance and profound interest in the subject. I would rather have some feedback be it negative or positive, because I do not consider silence a serious scientific answer.
 
I'll bite.

Why is this "more practical" and more simpler than simply shooting gamma rays at beryllium? What kind of a yield are you expecting with this scheme? Do you think that the gamma rays created by such sparks or lightning is directional, so much so that you can actually get enough of a flux for it to be useful?

Note that just because something is possible, does not mean that it is "practical". Since this criteria is what you are including (in your title), I want to know why you think this is more practical than what we already know.

Zz.
Overnight (I'm a bit slow that way) I came to realize what I did wrong, and I can only blame myself. I believe that I did not define "in the lab" very well.

From a NGO perspective, we operate under some special conditions that means we have to get our supplies mostly from the black or grey market. If that is not possible - we have to fabricate/distill/refine/extract it ourselves while staying out of sight of nosy neighbors.

So while it is indeed more "practical" to simply order a gamma ray projector and some beryllium from your approved suppliers catalog, we simply do not have that option here.

Now I'm sorry if I inadvertently made it look like I was trying to present something novel to the ordained establishment, I was simply being optimistic on our own behalf.

I also noticed your emphasis on "knowing", we are more in the "if it can be 'done' in our lab, it's worth the effort of 'knowing'". However that sometimes present the dilemma; how can you know the feasibility of something if you don't have the information to determine it? This is obviously where most other people have the luxury of discussing their ideas and doubts with peers.

If the above is not palatable for PF, then please let me know and I will refrain from any interaction on PF.

I hope I made my position clear, I was not "trolling" - I'm dead serious.
 

BvU

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What on earth is your context ? What are you trying to achieve ? You write from Denmark and all of a sudden 'ngo' appears in the text ... I am baffled.
 

BvU

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And let me throw in a question too: anyone understand how an 'annhilation signal' can be seen after some 30 seconds if the half-life of 13N for this decay mode is 10 minutes ? Or is the long tail consistent with that?

[edit]never mind: there is a convolution with the wind moving the cloud of decaying stuff past the detectors. The energy spectrum clearly identifies annihilation.
 
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What on earth is your context ? What are you trying to achieve ? You write from Denmark and all of a sudden 'ngo' appears in the text ... I am baffled.
What on earth is your context ?
I'm trying to convey the sentiment that I work under conditions that are relatively unknown to the general public and therefore do not have the option of e.g. procuring a gamma source from a government ordained supplier. If I want a gamma source I either have to fabricate it myself or buy it on the black market. Is that context enough?

What are you trying to achieve ?
Exactly what is detailed in the illustration in post #1 ending up with annihilation of electrons and positrons. That is if it is feasible and less hassle than dealing with my trusted suppliers of scientific equipment and compounds and whatnot.

You write from Denmark and all of a sudden 'ngo' appears in the text ... I am baffled.
I don't understand why that is baffling to you, unless you have some alternative understanding of "NGO" and "Denmark".
 

berkeman

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And let me throw in a question too: anyone understand how an 'annhilation signal' can be seen after some 30 seconds if the half-life of 13N for this decay mode is 10 minutes ? Or is the long tail consistent with that?

[edit]never mind: there is a convolution with the wind moving the cloud of decaying stuff past the detectors. The energy spectrum clearly identifies annihilation.
Thank you, that would also have been one of my bonus questions, but I see you found the actual paper and cleared that up.
 

Astronuc

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The first major question is, how did the researchers come to that conclusion only using gamma detectors?

The second major question is, can I replicate it in the lab? I mean a spark gap is also known to emit gamma rays.
Gammas are an indication of a nuclear reaction, and 0.511 MeV gammas are characteristic of positron annihilation. Gammas also travel greater distances from the point of origin than electrons of similar energy.

The antimatter is a reference to positrons, or positively charged electrons, which are the anti-particles of electrons.

The cited illustration shows several different nuclear reactions. A gamma of appropriate energy (above a certain threshold energy) strikes a 14N nucleus cause a neutron to be emitted (photoneutron reaction) and the formation of 13N, which then decays by positron emission. The positron subsequently annihilates with an electron producing 2 gammas of 0.511 MeV, or roughly twice the rest mass of an electron.

Other reactions shown include radiative capture where a free neutron is absorbed by a nucleus and a gamma is emitted, or an (n,p) reaction, where a neutron of high energy knocks a proton out of a nucleus. Each reaction has a characteristic energy signature.

In the laboratory, one could generate gamma rays using brehmsstrahlung radiation from the slowing of high energy electrons from an electron accelerator. Another source of gammas would be radiative capture by neutrons, but that requires a neutron source.
 
Me too. I believe most NGOs in the US have access to the same things that government agencies do, at least in the context of this thread.

I'm usually not in the habit of educating people nor do I have the desire to do so. But your perspective on Denmark might need a revision, here is an informative US news report it's a bit caricatured but the general sentiment is spot on.
 
Gammas are an indication of a nuclear reaction, and 0.511 MeV gammas are characteristic of positron annihilation. Gammas also travel greater distances from the point of origin than electrons of similar energy.

The antimatter is a reference to positrons, or positively charged electrons, which are the anti-particles of electrons.

The cited illustration shows several different nuclear reactions. A gamma of appropriate energy (above a certain threshold energy) strikes a 14N nucleus cause a neutron to be emitted (photoneutron reaction) and the formation of 13N, which then decays by positron emission. The positron subsequently annihilates with an electron producing 2 gammas of 0.511 MeV, or roughly twice the rest mass of an electron.

Other reactions shown include radiative capture where a free neutron is absorbed by a nucleus and a gamma is emitted, or an (n,p) reaction, where a neutron of high energy knocks a proton out of a nucleus. Each reaction has a characteristic energy signature.

In the laboratory, one could generate gamma rays using brehmsstrahlung radiation from the slowing of high energy electrons from an electron accelerator. Another source of gammas would be radiative capture by neutrons, but that requires a neutron source.
Thank you, If you don't mind I would have a few hopefully bright questions later, as right now I have to deal with some pressing administrative matters.
 

BvU

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Thank you, that would also have been one of my bonus questions, but I see you found the actual paper and cleared that up.
You're welcome.

Please be assured I'm not interested in your personal motivation. My questions were (in my perception) clearly aimed at clarifying what it is you were after, not why. It would have helped if you could have stated -- e.g. because I'm not at all sure about it, just guessing -- something like "for educational purposes I am searching for a low-cost source of positrons ... "

Here at PF, I (we?) appear to be incredibly bad at telepathy, something I often have to make clear to posters that start a thread with a lot of holes, so that the result is often going off in the wrong direction, leads to misunderstandings, irritation and so on.

Thank you,
B
 

Astronuc

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Dear All,

I read this article Lightning Strikes Produce Antimatter Particles in Earth’s Atmosphere which I find very intriguing and it raises many questions for me, so I will try to contain myself. Here is the accompanying illustration:

View attachment 241623

The first major question is, how did the researchers come to that conclusion only using gamma detectors?

The second major question is, can I replicate it in the lab? I mean a spark gap is also known to emit gamma rays.

Optional question, how do you practically collect/detect the electrons and positrons?

Kind regards
Abim
Answer to question 1 can be found in the text and citations. "With the aim of detecting γ-rays from powerful and low-altitude winter thunderclouds along the coast of the Sea of Japan, we have been operating radiation detectors since 2006 at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station in Niigata (see Methods section ‘GROWTH collaboration’)." See also the citations, which reference gamma-rays, neutrons and positrons. The article explains the experience with thunderstorms along the western coast of Honshu. The generation of gamma-rays in thunderstorms has been of interest for some time.

Answer to question 2, one would need a source of gamma-rays, e.g., electron accelerator and a target to produce gamma rays by brehmsstrahlung. Otherwise, one needs a neutron source and a target for radiative capture, or a positron emitter. Both require appropriate shielding due to high radiation levels, which is one reason for some of the questions; development of a strong radiation field require special precautions (shielding and practices) to avoid harmful exposure. Positrons are detected by virtue of their annihilation (0.511 MeV gamma).

It is difficult to collect and store positrons since they seek out electrons with which to annihilate. One would need a storage ring or a Penning trap.

At the facility where I work, there is a building dedicated to neutron and gamma sources, and the walls and certain internal doors are more than a meter thick.

In my research, I'm particularly interested in high-energy gammas (E >> 1 MeV, from 2-12 MeV) and their effects on structural materials.

The thread title was somewhat of concern, since the context of anti-matter production is often that of anti-protons or heavier anti-particles, which require multi-GeV accelerators. Proton colliders can produce anti-protons with as little as 2 GeV. Otherwise, for one accelerated proton colliding with another proton at rest, the energy of the accelerated proton would need to be 6-6.2 GeV. And if one annihilates anti-protons, then one has to deal with pions, muons, electrons and gammas, hence it is a potentially dangerous activity if proper safety measures are not observed/practiced.
 

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