Question

A particle at rest decays into a proton and a meson. (a) Use the data in Table 46.2 to find the Q value for this decay in MeV. (b) What is the total kinetic energy shared by the proton and the  meson after the decay? (c) What is the total momentum shared by the proton and the  meson? 

Medium

Solution

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To conserve charge, the decay reaction is  We look up in the table the rest energy of each particle: 

              


The Q value of the reaction, representing the energy output, is the difference between starting rest energy and final rest energy, and is the kinetic energy of the products: 


(b) The original kinetic energy is zero in the process considered here, so the whole Q becomes the kinetic energy of the products



(c) The lambda particle is at rest. Its momentum is zero. System momentum is conserved in the decay, so the total vector the momentum of the proton and the pion must be zero.

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