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Why the Neutrino oscillates and the electron doesn't?

  1. Dec 31, 2012 #1
    I mean, the electron neutrino can transform in a muon neutrino after a while. And that surprised the physics community because the electron cant transform to a muon. But

    1) cant the electron transform into a W and a W into a muon?
    2) So, Why we say that the neutrino oscillate and the electron doesn´t?
    3) Why we make all that mess of mixing angle? cant we say that the electron neutrino transforms into a W and then it transform into a muon neutrino?

    Sorry for my ignorance and thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2012 #2
    Assuming you mean a process like e- → W- + ve → W- + vμ → μ-, this is prohibited for a free particle by energy/momentum conservation even if the total energy of the incoming electron is sufficient to create a muon. This is similar to why a free electon cannot radiate photons.
     
  4. Dec 31, 2012 #3

    mfb

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    Staff: Mentor

    Well, with the same argument, you could rule out ve -> vμ.
    The interesting point at mixing is the difference of flavor and mass eigenstates - if electrons and muons could mix, there is no "mass of an electron", as an electron would be a superposition of three different mass eigenstates.

    An interesting question - but even if mixing is possible, I think it would be extremely rare.
     
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