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What happens to the electron neutrino post beta+ decay?

  1. May 18, 2013 #1
    In β+ decay a proton releases a positron and an electron neutrino causing the proton to change into a neutron to help balance the nucleus. I am studying advanced PET imaging and trying find a better understanding of the positrons other half. Does it just go on being a normal electron.
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    By "positron's other half" you mean the electron-neutrino?
    You are asking: "Does [an electron neutrino] just go on being a normal electron?"

    JIC: A neutrino is not an electron.
    Therefore it cannot go on being a normal electron as it was never an electron of any kind whatsoever.
    But I'm sure you realized that ;)

    Like any particle, a neutrino will continue as itself until it has some sort of interaction.
    Neutrinos interact very weakly so they can get a very long way before something happens to them - though neutrinos can decay into each other.
  4. May 19, 2013 #3


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    I think "decay" is misleading here - oscillation means that those neutrinos can (but do not have to) interact as a different neutrino species (muon neutrino or tau neutrino) afterwards. It is not a permanent transformation as in a decay, and no other particles are emitted.

    There is no reasonable way to detect the neutrinos emitted in a PET scan, as interactions of them are extremely rare.
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