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Role of Bosons in Nuclear Reaction

  1. Feb 4, 2012 #1
    It seems that no matter how far and wide I look, I can find no concise explanation as to the roles of bosons in a nuclear reaction, fusion and/or fission.

    Thus, my inquiry: What role do bosons play in nuclear reactions, fusion and fission? What is the sequence of events that result in such a nuclear reaction, with regards to both fermions and bosons? Time and time again I read about the neutrons being given off as a particle decays, accompanied by "a great amount of energy." What is this energy in the form of? Is the energy in the form of gluons? W & Z bosons? Photons? A combination thereof?

    For example:
    In a nuclear bomb, as the reaction is triggered, a series of events leads to that enormous amount of energy given off. What is this series of events at the elementary particle level? Are, say, neutrons ejected along with gluons or what have you which then go on to continue the reaction with the adjacent particles? What is the actual scenario?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2012 #2
    Taking the simplest cases first, beta decay always proceeds via an intermediate virtual W boson, as this is how the weak force works.

    Gamma decay is the simple emission of one or more photons, which are obviously bosons.

    Alpha decays, or neutron emissions, are more complex because they involve quantum tunnelling though potential barriers. I haven't studied this myself using proper quantum mechanics, but no doubt virtual photos and possibly also gluons are involved somehow.

    Depending on the reaction involved, the energy given off can be a combination of rest energies of particles given off (eg betas and (anti-)neutrinos), gamma radiation, and the kinetic energies of the particles produced. Not gluons, though, as like quarks these are always confined within hadrons.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  4. Feb 5, 2012 #3
    @lulio907 and @adriantherock: I'm interested in the question too. Can you post a link to a webpage that shows feynman diagrams of the process of fission? and/or fusion? Since the total process would be too complex to diagram, can you send links to diagrams of some of the process(es) that occur at one or more stages of the reaction? TIA ....
  5. Feb 5, 2012 #4
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