Proton/neutron to electron?

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In summary, it is possible to cause a neutron to become an electron, but it can only happen at a faster rate inside certain nuclei. It is also possible to change a proton into an electron, but this requires the nucleus to provide the necessary energy and results in the production of a positron and neutrino.
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Is it possible to cause a neutron to become an electron? I know that a free neutron decays into a proton and an electron, but is it possible to cause this change to occur, so that it can happen at a faster rate? Also, is it possible to change a proton into and electron (obviously something else must be made along with the electron to conserve charge, lepton number etc)?

Thank you
 
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Neutrons are made of 3 quarks as are protons, but different quarks. The neutron is udd and the proton uud (u = up quark, d = down quark). Via a quantum process a down quark turns into an up quark and a [tex]W^{-}[/tex] vector boson. Therefore udd -> uud, a proton. The [tex]W^{-}[/tex] then decays into an electron and an antineutrino (thus conserving lepton number).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_decay
 
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ppyadof said:
Is it possible to cause a neutron to become an electron? I know that a free neutron decays into a proton and an electron, but is it possible to cause this change to occur, so that it can happen at a faster rate? Also, is it possible to change a proton into and electron (obviously something else must be made along with the electron to conserve charge, lepton number etc)?

Thank you
The free neutron decays into a proton, electron and antineutrino in about 15 minutes. Inside some nuclei, the neutron can decay faster because more energy is released. Inside other nuclei (that have too many protons for stability), a proton can decay into a neutron, positron, and neutrino, with the nucleus providing the necessary energy.
 

1. What is the difference between a proton, neutron, and electron?

A proton is a positively charged subatomic particle found in the nucleus of an atom. A neutron is a neutral subatomic particle also found in the nucleus. An electron is a negatively charged particle that orbits the nucleus.

2. How do protons, neutrons, and electrons interact with each other?

Protons and neutrons are attracted to each other through the strong nuclear force, which keeps them bound together in the nucleus. Electrons are attracted to protons through the electromagnetic force, which keeps them in orbit around the nucleus.

3. Can protons and neutrons change into electrons?

No, protons and neutrons cannot change into electrons. Protons and neutrons are made up of smaller particles called quarks, while electrons are fundamental particles that cannot be broken down into smaller components.

4. How do protons and electrons affect the properties of an atom?

Protons determine the atomic number and identity of an element, while electrons determine the chemical and physical properties of an atom. The number and arrangement of electrons in an atom determine its reactivity and ability to bond with other atoms.

5. How are protons and electrons used in practical applications?

Protons and electrons are used in a variety of practical applications, including nuclear energy, medical treatments (such as radiation therapy), and electricity generation. Protons are also used in particle accelerators to study the fundamental building blocks of matter.

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