Electron-positron pair production and annihilation
Zganjar, Edward Department of Physics and Astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Cowan, Thomas E. Institute of Radiation Physics, Helmholz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany.
Last reviewed:December 2017
Show previous versions
- External pair production
- Internal pair creation
- Particle decay
- Electron-positron pair annihilation
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Processes in which (1) an electron and a positron are simultaneously created in the vicinity of a nucleus or subatomic particle, or (2) an electron and a positron collide and are replaced by photons, into which the total mass energy of the electron-positron pair is converted. Electron-positron pair production is an example of the materialization of energy predicted by special relativity, and is accurately described by quantum electrodynamics. Pair production usually refers to external pair production, in which the positron (positively charged antielectron) and electron are created from a high-energy gamma ray as it passes through matter. Electron-positron pairs are also produced from internal pair conversions in nuclei, decays of unstable subatomic particles, and collisions between charged particles. Annihilation is defined as total destruction or obliteration of an object. In electron-positron annihilation, the particle (electron) and its antimatter particle (positron) come together and are replaced by photons (electromagnetic wave quanta with zero rest mass). See also: Antimatter; Electron; Photon; Positron; Quantum electrodynamics; Relativity
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information