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Thread: Accelerating Protons and Light

  1. #1 Accelerating Protons and Light 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    A prof a while back said that the origins of all light is accelerating electrons. However, wouldn't accelerating protons also work to create a changing electronic field, or even using a magnetic field (but I suppose that would need a changing electric field anyways)?


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    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian View Post
    A prof a while back said that the origins of all light is accelerating electrons. However, wouldn't accelerating protons also work to create a changing electronic field, or even using a magnetic field (but I suppose that would need a changing electric field anyways)?
    A few points here :

    1. Photons are emitted by electrons transitioning back to a lower quantum mechanical state, thereby emitting the surplus energy as a photon, which may or may not be in the visible light spectrum
    2. Protons are composite particles, and mostly locked into atomic nucleii.
    3. Protons do emit photons as well, but generally these photons in these cases are carriers of the EM force, and not in the visible light band

    Always bear in mind that electrons and protons are quite different particles - electrons are elementary point-like fermions, whereas protons are actually composite particles made up of quark triplets.


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    Forum Freshman Robinol's Avatar
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    Only electrons change their shell from higher to lower in order to release energy in the form of photons. Protons in usual cases do not interact with electrons and so no energy change can be seen. But I think their could be some radiations formed because of "K - capture".
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    It looks like there are two different sources of electromagnetic radiation being discussed here: changing electric current (the OP) and photons emitted by electrons changing state.

    I the former case, it is changing current that is important. Electromagnetic radiation is emitted if you accelerate electrons (e.g. by passing alternating current through a wire). It is also emitted if you accelerate protons; e.g. in a particle accelerator: Particle accelerator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Time Lord
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    Nothing says a proton can't emit EM radiation. Any charged particle emits some frequency of EM when it is accelerated. However, protons are much more massive than electrons. That means they have greater inertia and it's comparatively much harder to accelerated them, especially if we're talking about sudden and rapid acceleration to make light in the visible range like 400-800 nm.

    Imagine there's a pickup truck with positive net charge of +1, and there's a tennis ball with a negative charge of +1. The EM wave will depend on how fast you accelerate the object you choose, so which one is more likely to get thrown around in a tornado?
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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