Virtual particle

  • Thread starter touqra
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  • #1
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Suppose there's an interaction AB -> CD, that goes via a virtual W boson, my question is, will the virtual boson leaves a track in the detector even though it's virtual ?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
neu
220
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No is the short answer to your question.

Think about what virtual means. A particle is virtual i.e "off mass shell" (violating energy conservation) for a time permitted by the uncertainty principle. Hence by definition it's impossible to "resolve" a virtual particle. Hence the name virtual.
 
  • #3
malawi_glenn
Science Advisor
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if it was detected, then it would not be an interaction ab-cd since the W have to interact with the matter in the detector.
 
  • #4
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No is the short answer to your question.

Think about what virtual means. A particle is virtual i.e "off mass shell" (violating energy conservation) for a time permitted by the uncertainty principle. Hence by definition it's impossible to "resolve" a virtual particle. Hence the name virtual.
Just to clear up some doubts... If it's a virtual particle produced in the s-channel say, the whole AB->CD interaction will be happening at one contact point, ie, four tracks (due to ABCD), unlike say AB->2 photons, and this photon flies off some distance before it interacts with the detector to give electron-positron pair, which in this case, there is two contact point, first ABphoton and the other point, photon-electron-positron.
Sorry for my bad English.
If it was a real particle on s-channel, then, the interaction point will differ in principle from the decay point, unless the detector has insufficient resolution power.
 

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