In particle physics, every type of particle has an associated antiparticle with the same mass but with opposite physical charges (such as electric charge). For example, the antiparticle of the electron is the antielectron (which is often referred to as positron). While the electron has a negative electric charge, the positron has a positive electric charge, and is produced naturally in certain types of radioactive decay. The opposite is also true: the antiparticle of the positron is the electron.
Some particles, such as the photon, are their own antiparticle. Otherwise, for each pair of antiparticle partners, one is designated as normal matter (the kind all matter usually interacted with is made of), and the other (usually given the prefix "anti-") as antimatter.
Particle–antiparticle pairs can annihilate each other, producing photons; since the charges of the particle and antiparticle are opposite, total charge is conserved. For example, the positrons produced in natural radioactive decay quickly annihilate themselves with electrons, producing pairs of gamma rays, a process exploited in positron emission tomography.
The laws of nature are very nearly symmetrical with respect to particles and antiparticles. For example, an antiproton and a positron can form an antihydrogen atom, which is believed to have the same properties as a hydrogen atom. This leads to the question of why the formation of matter after the Big Bang resulted in a universe consisting almost entirely of matter, rather than being a half-and-half mixture of matter and antimatter. The discovery of Charge Parity violation helped to shed light on this problem by showing that this symmetry, originally thought to be perfect, was only approximate.
Because charge is conserved, it is not possible to create an antiparticle without either destroying another particle of the same charge (as is for instance the case when antiparticles are produced naturally via beta decay or the collision of cosmic rays with Earth's atmosphere), or by the simultaneous creation of both a particle and its antiparticle, which can occur in particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Although particles and their antiparticles have opposite charges, electrically neutral particles need not be identical to their antiparticles. The neutron, for example, is made out of quarks, the antineutron from antiquarks, and they are distinguishable from one another because neutrons and antineutrons annihilate each other upon contact. However, other neutral particles are their own antiparticles, such as photons, Z0 bosons,
mesons, and hypothetical gravitons and some hypothetical WIMPs.
In 1932, soon after the prediction of positrons by Paul Dirac, Carl D. Anderson found that cosmic-ray collisions produced these particles in a cloud chamber— a particle detector in which moving electrons (or positrons) leave behind trails as they move through the gas. The electric charge-to-mass ratio of a particle can be measured by observing the radius of curling of its cloud-chamber track in a magnetic field. Positrons, because of the direction that their paths curled, were at first mistaken for electrons travelling in the opposite direction. Positron paths in a cloud-chamber trace the same helical path as an electron but rotate in the opposite direction with respect to the magnetic field direction due to their having the same magnitude of charge-to-mass ratio but with opposite charge and, therefore, opposite signed charge-to-mass ratios.
The antiproton and antineutron were found by Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain in 1955 at the University of California, Berkeley. Since then, the antiparticles of many other subatomic particles have been created in particle accelerator experiments. In recent years, complete atoms of antimatter have been assembled out of antiprotons and positrons, collected in electromagnetic traps.
Solutions of the Dirac equation contained negative energy quantum states. As a result, an electron could always radiate energy and fall into a negative energy state. Even worse, it could keep radiating infinite amounts of energy because there were infinitely many negative energy states available. To prevent this unphysical situation from happening, Dirac proposed that a "sea" of negative-energy electrons fills the universe, already occupying all of the lower-energy states so that, due to the Pauli exclusion principle, no other electron could fall into them. Sometimes, however, one of these negative-energy particles could be lifted out of this Dirac sea to become a positive-energy particle. But, when lifted out, it would leave behind a hole in the sea that would act exactly like a positive-energy electron with a reversed charge. These holes were interpreted as "negative-energy electrons" by Paul Dirac and by mistake he identified them with protons in his 1930 paper A Theory of Electrons and Protons However, these "negative-energy electrons" turned out to be positrons, and not protons.
This picture implied an infinite negative charge for the universe—a problem of which Dirac was aware. Dirac tried to argue that we would perceive this as the normal state of zero charge. Another difficulty was the difference in masses of the electron and the proton. Dirac tried to argue that this was due to the electromagnetic interactions with the sea, until Hermann Weyl proved that hole theory was completely symmetric between negative and positive charges. Dirac also predicted a reaction
, where an electron and a proton annihilate to give two photons. Robert Oppenheimer and Igor Tamm proved that this would cause ordinary matter to disappear too fast. A year later, in 1931, Dirac modified his theory and postulated the positron, a new particle of the same mass as the electron. The discovery of this particle the next year removed the last two objections to his theory.
However, the problem of infinite charge of the universe remains. Also, as we now know, bosons also have antiparticles, but since bosons do not obey the Pauli exclusion principle (only fermions do), hole theory does not work for them. A unified interpretation of antiparticles is now available in quantum field theory, which solves both these problems.
If a particle and antiparticle are in the appropriate quantum states, then they can annihilate each other and produce other particles. Reactions such as
(the two-photon annihilation of an electron-positron pair) are an example. The single-photon annihilation of an electron-positron pair,
, cannot occur in free space because it is impossible to conserve energy and momentum together in this process. However, in the Coulomb field of a nucleus the translational invariance is broken and single-photon annihilation may occur. The reverse reaction (in free space, without an atomic nucleus) is also impossible for this reason. In quantum field theory, this process is allowed only as an intermediate quantum state for times short enough that the violation of energy conservation can be accommodated by the uncertainty principle. This opens the way for virtual pair production or annihilation in which a one particle quantum state may fluctuate into a two particle state and back. These processes are important in the vacuum state and renormalization of a quantum field theory. It also opens the way for neutral particle mixing through processes such as the one pictured here, which is a complicated example of mass renormalization.
Quantum states of a particle and an antiparticle can be interchanged by applying the charge conjugation (C), parity (P), and time reversal (T) operators. If denotes the quantum state of a particle (n) with momentum p, spin J whose component in the z-direction is σ, then one has
where nc denotes the charge conjugate state, that is, the antiparticle. This behaviour under CPT symmetry is the same as the statement that the particle and its antiparticle lie in the same irreducible representation of the Poincaré group. Properties of antiparticles can be related to those of particles through this. If T is a good symmetry of the dynamics, then
where the proportionality sign indicates that there might be a phase on the right hand side. In other words, particle and antiparticle must have
One may try to quantize an electron field without mixing the annihilation and creation operators by writing
where we use the symbol k to denote the quantum numbers p and σ of the previous section and the sign of the energy, E(k), and ak denotes the corresponding annihilation operators. Of course, since we are dealing with fermions, we have to have the operators satisfy canonical anti-commutation relations. However, if one now writes down the Hamiltonian
then one sees immediately that the expectation value of H need not be positive. This is because E(k) can have any sign whatsoever, and the combination of creation and annihilation operators has expectation value 1 or 0.
So one has to introduce the charge conjugate antiparticle field, with its own creation and annihilation operators satisfying the relations
where k has the same p, and opposite σ and sign of the energy. Then one can rewrite the field in the form
where the first sum is over positive energy states and the second over those of negative energy. The energy becomes
where E0 is an infinite negative constant. The vacuum state is defined as the state with no particle or antiparticle, i.e., and . Then the energy of the vacuum is exactly E0. Since all energies are measured relative to the vacuum, H is positive definite. Analysis of the properties of ak and bk shows that one is the annihilation operator for particles and the other for antiparticles. This is the case of a fermion.
This approach is due to Vladimir Fock, Wendell Furry and Robert Oppenheimer. If one quantizes a real scalar field, then one finds that there is only one kind of annihilation operator; therefore, real scalar fields describe neutral bosons. Since complex scalar fields admit two different kinds of annihilation operators, which are related by conjugation, such fields describe charged bosons.
By considering the propagation of the negative energy modes of the electron field backward in time, Ernst Stueckelberg reached a pictorial understanding of the fact that the particle and antiparticle have equal mass m and spin J but opposite charges q. This allowed him to rewrite perturbation theory precisely in the form of diagrams. Richard Feynman later gave an independent systematic derivation of these diagrams from a particle formalism, and they are now called Feynman diagrams. Each line of a diagram represents a particle propagating either backward or forward in time. This technique is the most widespread method of computing amplitudes in quantum field theory today.
Since this picture was first developed by Stueckelberg, and acquired its modern form in Feynman's work, it is called the Feynman–Stueckelberg interpretation of antiparticles to honor both scientists.
In particle physics, annihilation is the process that occurs when a subatomic particle collides with its respective antiparticle to produce other particles, such as an electron colliding with a positron to produce two photons. The total energy and momentum of the initial pair are conserved in the process and distributed among a set of other particles in the final state. Antiparticles have exactly opposite additive quantum numbers from particles, so the sums of all quantum numbers of such an original pair are zero. Hence, any set of particles may be produced whose total quantum numbers are also zero as long as conservation of energy and conservation of momentum are obeyed.During a low-energy annihilation, photon production is favored, since these particles have no mass. However, high-energy particle colliders produce annihilations where a wide variety of exotic heavy particles are created.
The word annihilation takes use informally for the interaction of two particles that are not mutual antiparticles - not charge conjugate. Some quantum numbers may then not sum to zero in the initial state, but conserve with the same totals in the final state. An example is the "annihilation" of a high-energy electron antineutrino with an electron to produce a W−.
If the annihilating particles are composite, such as mesons or baryons, then several different particles are typically produced in the final state.Antimatter
In modern physics, antimatter is defined as a material composed of the antiparticles (or "partners") of the corresponding particles of ordinary matter. Microscopic numbers of antiparticles are generated daily at particle accelerators and in natural processes like cosmic ray collisions and some types of radioactive decay, but only a tiny fraction of these have successfully been bound together in experiments to form anti-atoms. No macroscopic amount of antimatter has ever been assembled due to the extreme cost and difficulty of production and handling.
In theory, a particle and its anti-particle (e.g., proton and antiproton) have the same mass as one another, but opposite electric charge and other differences in quantum numbers. For example, a proton has positive charge while an antiproton has negative charge.
A collision between any particle and its anti-particle partner is known to lead to their mutual annihilation, giving rise to various proportions of intense photons (gamma rays), neutrinos, and sometimes less-massive particle–antiparticle pairs. Annihilation usually results in a release of energy that becomes available for heat or work. The amount of the released energy is usually proportional to the total mass of the collided matter and antimatter, in accordance with the mass–energy equivalence equation, E=mc2.Antimatter particles bind with one another to form antimatter, just as ordinary particles bind to form normal matter. For example, a positron (the antiparticle of the electron) and an antiproton (the antiparticle of the proton) can form an antihydrogen atom. The nuclei of antihelium have been artificially produced with difficulty, and these are the most complex anti-nuclei so far observed. Physical principles indicate that complex antimatter atomic nuclei are possible, as well as anti-atoms corresponding to the known chemical elements.
There is strong evidence that the observable universe is composed almost entirely of ordinary matter, as opposed to an equal mixture of matter and antimatter.
This asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the great unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this inequality between matter and antimatter particles developed is called baryogenesis.Antineutron
The antineutron is the antiparticle of the neutron with symbol n. It differs from the neutron only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign. It has the same mass as the neutron, and no net electric charge, but has opposite baryon number (+1 for neutron, −1 for the antineutron). This is because the antineutron is composed of antiquarks, while neutrons are composed of quarks. The antineutron consists of one up antiquark and two down antiquarks.
Since the antineutron is electrically neutral, it cannot easily be observed directly. Instead, the products of its annihilation with ordinary matter are observed. In theory, a free antineutron should decay into an antiproton, a positron and a neutrino in a process analogous to the beta decay of free neutrons. There are theoretical proposals of neutron–antineutron oscillations, a process that implies the violation of the baryon number conservation.The antineutron was discovered in proton–antiproton collisions at the Bevatron (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) by Bruce Cork in 1956, one year after the antiproton was discovered.Baryon
In particle physics, a baryon is a type of composite subatomic particle which contains an odd number of valence quarks (at least 3). Baryons belong to the hadron family of particles, which are the quark-based particles. They are also classified as fermions, i.e., they have half-integer spin.
The name "baryon" comes from the Greek word for "heavy" (βαρύς, barýs), because, at the time of their naming, most known elementary particles had lower masses than the baryons. Each baryon has a corresponding antiparticle (antibaryon) where their corresponding antiquarks replace quarks. For example, a proton is made of two up quarks and one down quark; and its corresponding antiparticle, the antiproton, is made of two up antiquarks and one down antiquark.
As quark-based particles, baryons participate in the strong interaction, which is mediated by particles known as gluons. The most familiar baryons are protons and neutrons, both of which contain three quarks, and for this reason these particles are sometimes described as triquarks. These particles make up most of the mass of the visible matter in the universe, as well as forming the components of the nucleus of every atom. Electrons (the other major component of the atom) are members of a different family of particles, known as leptons, which do not interact via the strong force. Exotic baryons containing five quarks (known as pentaquarks) have also been discovered and studied.Charm quark
The charm quark, charmed quark or c quark (from its symbol, c) is the third most massive of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Charm quarks are found in hadrons, which are subatomic particles made of quarks. Examples of hadrons containing charm quarks include the J/ψ meson (J/ψ), D mesons (D), charmed Sigma baryons (Σc), and other charmed particles.
It, along with the strange quark is part of the second generation of matter, and has an electric charge of +2/3 e and a bare mass of 1.29+0.05−0.11 GeV/c2. Like all quarks, the charm quark is an elementary fermion with spin 1/2, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and strong interactions. The antiparticle of the charm quark is the charm antiquark (sometimes called anticharm quark or simply anticharm), which differs from it only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign.
The existence of a fourth quark had been speculated by a number of authors around 1964 (for instance by James Bjorken and Sheldon Glashow), but its prediction is usually credited to Sheldon Glashow, John Iliopoulos and Luciano Maiani in 1970 (see GIM mechanism). The first charmed particle (a particle containing a charm quark) to be discovered was the J/ψ meson. It was discovered by a team at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), led by Burton Richter, and one at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), led by Samuel Ting.The 1974 discovery of the J/ψ (and thus the charm quark) ushered in a series of breakthroughs which are collectively known as the November Revolution.Color charge
Color charge is a property of quarks and gluons that is related to the particles' strong interactions in the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD).
The "color charge" of quarks and gluons is completely unrelated to the everyday meaning of color. The term color and the labels red, green, and blue became popular simply because of the loose analogy to the primary colors. Richard Feynman referred to his colleagues as "idiot physicists" for choosing the confusing name.Particles have corresponding antiparticles. A particle with red, green, or blue charge has a corresponding antiparticle in which the color charge must be the anticolor of red, green, and blue, respectively, for the color charge to be conserved in particle-antiparticle creation and annihilation. Particle physicists call these antired, antigreen, and antiblue. All three colors mixed together, or any one of these colors and its complement (or negative), is "colorless" or "white" and has a net color charge of zero. Free particles have a color charge of zero: baryons are composed of three quarks, but the individual quarks can have red, green, or blue charges, or negatives; mesons are made from a quark and antiquark, the quark can be any color, and the antiquark will have the negative of that color. This color charge differs from electric charge in that electric charge has only one kind of value. However color charge is also similar to electric charge in that color charge also has a negative charge corresponding to each kind of value.
Shortly after the existence of quarks was first proposed in 1964, Oscar W. Greenberg introduced the notion of color charge to explain how quarks could coexist inside some hadrons in otherwise identical quantum states without violating the Pauli exclusion principle. The theory of quantum chromodynamics has been under development since the 1970s and constitutes an important component of the Standard Model of particle physics.Crossing (physics)
In quantum field theory, a branch of theoretical physics, crossing is the property of scattering amplitudes that allows antiparticles to be interpreted as particles going backwards in time.
Crossing states that the same formula that determines the S-matrix elements and scattering amplitudes for particle to scatter with and produce particle and will also give the scattering amplitude for to go into , or for to scatter with to produce . The only difference is that the value of the energy is negative for the antiparticle.
The formal way to state this property is that the antiparticle scattering amplitudes are the analytic continuation of particle scattering amplitudes to negative energies. The interpretation of this statement is that the antiparticle is in every way a particle going backwards in time.Delta baryon
The Delta baryons (or Δ baryons, also called Delta resonances) are a family of subatomic particle made of three up or down quarks (u or d quarks).
Four closely related Δ baryons exist: Δ++ (constituent quarks: uuu), Δ+ (uud), Δ0 (udd), and Δ− (ddd), which respectively carry an electric charge of +2 e, +1 e, 0 e, and −1 e. The Δ baryons have a mass of about 1232 MeV/c2, a spin of 3⁄2, and an isospin of 3⁄2. Ordinary protons and neutrons (nucleons (symbol N)), by contrast, have a mass of about 939 MeV/c2, a spin of 1⁄2, and an isospin of 1⁄2. The Δ+ (uud) and Δ0 (udd) particles are the higher-mass excitations of the proton (N+, uud) and neutron (N0, udd), respectively. However, the Δ++ and Δ− have no direct nucleon analogues.
The states were established experimentally at the University of Chicago cyclotron and the Carnegie Institute of Technology synchro-cyclotron in the mid-1950s using accelerated positive pions on hydrogen targets. The existence of the Δ++, with its unusual +2 charge, was a crucial clue in the development of the quark model.
The Delta states discussed here are only the lowest-mass quantum excitations of the proton and neutron. At higher masses, additional Delta states appear, all defined by having 3⁄2 units of isospin, but with a spin quantum numbers including 1⁄2, 3⁄2, 5⁄2, ... 11⁄2. A complete listing of all properties of all these states can be found in Beringer et al (2013).There also exist antiparticle Delta states with opposite charges, made up of the corresponding antiquarks.Dirac fermion
In physics, a Dirac fermion is spin 1⁄2 particle (a fermion) which is different from its antiparticle. The vast majority of fermions – perhaps all – fall under this category.General antiparticle spectrometer
General antiparticle spectrometer (GAPS) is a planned experiment that will use a high-altitude balloon flying in Antarctica to look for antideuteron particles from outer space cosmic rays, in an effort to search for dark matter. Anti-deuterons can be produced by the annihilation of hypothetical weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). The goal of the GAPS experiment is to capture anti-deuterons in a target material, to form an exotic atom in an excited state. The exotic atom would quickly decay, producing detectable X-rays energies with pion signature from nuclear annihilation.The GAPS ground test was successfully using a particle accelerator at KEK in 2004 and 2005. The first high-altitude balloon test was done in June 2012 with six Si(Li) detectors.Kaon
In particle physics, a kaon , also called a K meson and denoted K, is any of a group of four mesons distinguished by a quantum number called strangeness. In the quark model they are understood to be bound states of a strange quark (or antiquark) and an up or down antiquark (or quark).
Kaons have proved to be a copious source of information on the nature of fundamental interactions since their discovery in cosmic rays in 1947. They were essential in establishing the foundations of the Standard Model of particle physics, such as the quark model of hadrons and the theory of quark mixing (the latter was acknowledged by a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008). Kaons have played a distinguished role in our understanding of fundamental conservation laws: CP violation, a phenomenon generating the observed matter–antimatter asymmetry of the universe, was discovered in the kaon system in 1964 (which was acknowledged by a Nobel Prize in 1980). Moreover, direct CP violation was discovered in the kaon decays in the early 2000s by the NA48 experiment at CERN and the KTeV experiment at Fermilab.List of particles
This article includes a list of the different types of atomic- and sub-atomic particles found or hypothesized to exist in the whole of the universe categorized by type. Properties of the various particles listed are also given, as well as the laws that the particles follow. For individual lists of the different particles, see the list below.Maxwell–Jüttner distribution
In physics, the Maxwell–Jüttner distribution is the distribution of speeds of particles in a hypothetical gas of relativistic particles. Similar to Maxwell's distribution, the Maxwell–Jüttner distribution considers a classical ideal gas where the particles are dilute and do not significantly interact with each other. The distinction from Maxwell's case is that effects of special relativity are taken into account. In the limit of low temperatures T much less than mc2/k (where m is the mass of the kind of particle making up the gas, c is the speed of light and k is Boltzmann's constant), this distribution becomes identical to the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution.
The distribution can be attributed to Ferencz Jüttner, who derived it in 1911. It has become known as the Maxwell–Jüttner distribution by analogy to the name Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution that is commonly used to refer to Maxwell's distribution.Neutral particle
In physics, a neutral particle is a particle with no electric charge. This is not to be confused with a truly neutral particle, a neutral particle that is also identical to its own antiparticle.Onium
An onium (plural: onia) is a bound state of a particle and its antiparticle. They are usually named by adding the suffix -onium to the name of the constituting particle except for muonium which, despite its name, is not a bound muon–antimuon onium, but an electron–antimuon bound state, and whose name was assigned by IUPAC. A muon–antimuon onium would be named true muonium or muononium.Positron
The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1 e, a spin of 1/2 (same as electron), and has the same mass as an electron. When a positron collides with an electron, annihilation occurs. If this collision occurs at low energies, it results in the production of two or more gamma ray photons.
Positrons can be created by positron emission radioactive decay (through weak interactions), or by pair production from a sufficiently energetic photon which is interacting with an atom in a material.T meson
T mesons are hypothetical mesons composed of a top quark and either an up (T0), down (T+), strange (T+s) or charm antiquark (T0c). Because of the top quark's short lifetime, T mesons are not expected to be found in nature. The combination of a top quark and top antiquark is not a T meson, but rather toponium. Each T meson has an antiparticle that is composed of a top antiquark and an up (T0), down (T−), strange (T−s) or charm quark (T0c) respectively.Truly neutral particle
In particle physics, a truly neutral particle is a subatomic particle with all its charges equal to zero. This not only requires particles to be electrically neutral, but also requires that all of their other charges (like the colour charge) are neutral. Such a particle will be its own antiparticle.
Mathematically, charge conjugation replaces all the constituent particles of a particle with their corresponding antiparticles. If a particle remains the same after charge conjugation, then it is its own antiparticle, and is truly neutral.
Known examples of such elementary particles include photons, Z bosons, and Higgs bosons, along with the hypothetical neutralinos, sterile neutrinos, and gravitons. For a spin-1/2 particle such as the neutralino, being a truly neutral particle implies being a Majorana fermion.
Composite particles can also be truly neutral. The best known example is onium, a system composed of a particle forming a bound state with its own antiparticle.Upsilon meson
The Upsilon meson (ϒ) is a quarkonium state (i.e. flavourless meson) formed from a bottom quark and its antiparticle. It was discovered by the E288 experiment team, headed by Leon Lederman, at Fermilab in 1977, and was the first particle containing a bottom quark to be discovered because it is the lightest that can be produced without additional massive particles. It has a lifetime of 1.21×10−20 s and a mass about 9.46 GeV/c2 in the ground state.