Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

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


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    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.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook