The antineutrino in Beta decay

  • Thread starter ajassat
  • Start date
  • #1
55
0
I understand the physical changes in beta decay that eventually lead to the virtual particle, a W- boson being formed. However I do not understand the physical changes that take place, which eventually lead to an antineutrino being emitted. What changes take place in the W- boson, that make it decay into an antineutrino and electron?

I would also be glad if someone could explain why the physical changes take place?

Thanks in advance
- Adam
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
25,174
8,295
I understand the physical changes in beta decay that eventually lead to the virtual particle, a W- boson being formed.
I'm not sure that I understand what you mean. Also, you do understand that "a virtual particle being formed" is sort of a contradiction. The particle is virtual, not real. It's not formed.
 
  • #3
55
0
I'm not sure that I understand what you mean. Also, you do understand that "a virtual particle being formed" is sort of a contradiction. The particle is virtual, not real. It's not formed.
By this do you mean that the antineutrino isn't really there after beta decay?
If the production of an antineutrino is virtual, then would you be able to explain how?

Simply, I would like to understand why we have an antineutrino involved ,regardless of it being real or virtual.

Thanks for attempting the answer the question.
-Adam
 
  • #4
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
25,174
8,295
There is an antineutrino around to conserve spin (and other quantum numbers, like lepton number). If I have the decay [tex]n \rightarrow p + e^- + \overline{\nu}[/tex], I have a spin-1/2 object on the left hand side and without the neutrino, I have either a spin-0 or spin-1 ensemble on the right. I also have L = 0 on the left and L = 1 on the right. Finally, the energy spectrum of the electron is characteristic of three-body decays, not two body decays. For all of these reasons, one expects an additional particle produced, the antineutrino.

Of course, today those (anti-)neutrinos have been measured.
 
  • #5
55
0
There is an antineutrino around to conserve spin (and other quantum numbers, like lepton number). If I have the decay [tex]n \rightarrow p + e^- + \overline{\nu}[/tex], I have a spin-1/2 object on the left hand side and without the neutrino, I have either a spin-0 or spin-1 ensemble on the right. I also have L = 0 on the left and L = 1 on the right. Finally, the energy spectrum of the electron is characteristic of three-body decays, not two body decays. For all of these reasons, one expects an additional particle produced, the antineutrino.

Of course, today those (anti-)neutrinos have been measured.
This has made me understand why it is necessary to produce an anti-neutrino in beta decay. So what are the spin and lepton values for the neutrino which help to create a balances on both sides of the decay?

Thank you for your time,
-Adam
 
  • #6
malawi_glenn
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
4,786
22
The neutrino is a spin 1/2 particle and a neutrino has lepton number +1 and an antineutrino has -1.
 
  • #7
55
0
The neutrino is a spin 1/2 particle and a neutrino has lepton number +1 and an antineutrino has -1.
Thanks for this. I now understand how the anti-neutrino helps to balance things out.
 

Related Threads on The antineutrino in Beta decay

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
870
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
7
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
Top