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[NUCLEAR DECAY]: Beta- and beta+ decay (positron) = WTF?


SiRaLeX
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I'm back!  :P  Today with a question regarding nuclear decay, specifically beta- and beta+ decay: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_particle  :ranting:

 

 

As by the attached drawing. Don't let it confuse you though, it's german. The circle on the left side from which the arrow starts is the nucleus. My understanding on a very basic level is as follows:

 

 

ß- decay: the nucleus loses a neutron and converts it into a proton and two electrons, hence "upgrading" its element by 1, while emitting one of the two "created" electrons as radiation.

 

ß+ decay: the nucleus loses a proton and converts it into a neutron, hence "downgrading" its element by 1 and magically creates and emits this weird thing called a "positron" which is a positively charged electron.

 

 

Now the questions:

  • How the hell can a nucleus emit an electron by breaking down a neutron? Does a neutron basically consist out of a proton and an electron?
  • And what the hell is a positron? How can an electron be positively charged? Since the nucleus loses a proton does it also lose an electron from its shell to keep balance?

 

I find it difficult to imagine a "positron".  :roll: 

beta_decay.jpg.a74ffac070376c1371f89813d09cfdd1.jpg

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I'm back!  :P  Today with a question regarding nuclear decay, specifically beta- and beta+ decay: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_particle  :ranting:

  • How the hell can a nucleus emit an electron by breaking down a neutron? Does a neutron basically consist out of a proton and an electron?
  • And what the hell is a positron? How can an electron be positively charged? Since the nucleus loses a proton does it also lose an electron from its shell to keep balance?

 

I find it difficult to imagine a "positron".  :roll:

 

I don't really understand the physics, but neutrons and protons are made of quarks held together with the weak force which lets them change "flavour" under certain conditions, changing the particle that they are part of and emitting the electron or anti-electron (positron) along with a neutrino. Its not really that the neutron is "made" of an electron, its more that at this scale quantum effects govern and they don't follow conventional understanding. I don't see how its any harder to imagine a positron than an electron though, they are essentially the same difficult to imagine thing with a different charge. Positrons are part of anti-matter BTW.

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I don't really understand the physics, but neutrons and protons are made of quarks held together with the weak force which lets them change "flavour" under certain conditions, changing the particle that they are part of and emitting the electron or anti-electron (positron) along with a neutrino. Its not really that the neutron is "made" of an electron, its more that at this scale quantum effects govern and they don't follow conventional understanding. I don't see how its any harder to imagine a positron than an electron though, they are essentially the same difficult to imagine thing with a different charge. Positrons are part of anti-matter BTW.

 

Thats a decent explanation.

I don't know the full answer but it relates to quarks and antimatter in the way Blade describes.

One more thing - Beta- also gives off an anti-neutrino, and Beta+ a neutrino, which makes up the small energy difference (remember the whole point of this decay is that energy is conserved, else we just broke physics)

 

Also the combination of a particle and its anti-particle cause them to annihilate and become photons. (e+ + e- = 2 Gamma Rays)

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This is why I love this place! There's so many technologically educated people here, it's amazing!

 

 

I don't really understand the physics, but neutrons and protons are made of quarks held together with the weak force which lets them change "flavour" under certain conditions, changing the particle that they are part of and emitting the electron or anti-electron (positron) along with a neutrino. Its not really that the neutron is "made" of an electron, its more that at this scale quantum effects govern and they don't follow conventional understanding.

Thanks, Blade! This is actually an excellent explanation! I am sure that you will be able to program the nuclear missile silo in your RA1 incarnation, no problem.  :D

 

 

Positrons are part of anti-matter BTW.

I have read up on that in the Wikipedia before I went to sleep!  :)  I love learning about new things anti-matter.  :P

 

 

(remember the whole point of this decay is that energy is conserved, else we just broke physics)

I have a rather amusing read on the topic of conservation of energy, written by Richard Feynman. I have attached them as pictures if somebody wants to read them (you might already know them, though) but they're rather funny!  :D  For some reason my Nexus 5 camera turns a corner redish after swapping the electronics into a new display frame, might have messed up the camera or some shielding, haha. Annoying.  :ranting:

 

 

Also the combination of a particle and its anti-particle cause them to annihilate and become photons. (e+ + e- = 2 Gamma Rays)

I did read this in the same Wikipedia article about anti-matter too, thought it was interesting to say the least.  :)  I also read that anti-matter is very hard to produce, but theoretically possible and it is assumed that any atom can be produced as an "anti-matter" counterpart that presumably has the same chemical properties (but if the two meet, they annihilate) and perhaps somewhere in the universe a place exists where everything consists out of anti-matter, haha.  :P 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter#Artificial_production

 

"Scientists claim that antimatter is the costliest material to make."

 

 

Read the second paragraph of my attachment.  :P

conservation1.jpg.f4c40c8c4efb337ca33ef274d5c024ee.jpg

conservation2.jpg.c00793aed808337d96caa2aca100d147.jpg

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