Example 1. Compton effect.
Let us define as “a” a photon of frequency . Then, it hits an electron “b” at rest, changing its frequency into , we denote “c” this new photon, and the electron then moves after the collision in certain direction with respect to the line of observation. We define that direction with .
We use momenergy conservation:
We multiply this equation by to deduce that
Using that the photon momenergy squared is zero, we obtain:
Remembering the definitions and and inserting the values of the momenta into the respective equations, we get
It is generally defined the so-callen electron Compon’s wavelength as:
Remark: There are some current discussions and speculative ideas trying to use the Compton effect as a tool to define the kilogram in an invariant and precise way.
Example 2. Inverse Compton effect.
Imagine an electron moving “to the left” denoted by “a”, it hits a photon “b” chaging its frequency into another photon “c” and the electron changes its direction of motion, being the velocity and the angle with respect to the direction of motion .
The momenergy reads
Using the same conservation of momenergy than above
Supposing that , and then
This inverse Compton effect is important of importance in Astronomy. PHotons of the microwave background radiation (CMB), with a very low energy of the order of , are struck by very energetic electrons (rest energy mc²=511 keV). For typical values of , the second term in the denominator dominates, giving
Therefore, the inverse Compton effect can increase the energy of a photon in a spectacular way. If we don’t plut we would get from the equation:
If we suppose that the incident electron arrives with certain angle and it is scattered an angle . Then, we would obtain the general inverse Compton formula:
In the case of , i.e., , and then
In conclusion, there is an energy transfer proportional to . There are some interesting “maximal boosts”, depending on the final energy (frequency). For instance, if , then provides:
a) In the radio branch: , a maximal boost . It corresponds to a wavelength about 300nm (in the UV band).
b) In the optical branch: , a maximal boost . It corresponds to photons in the Gamma ray band of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Example 3. Bremsstrahlung.
An electron (a) with rest mass arrives from the left with velocity and it hits a nucleus (b) at rest with mass . After the collision, the cluster “c” moves with speed , and a photon is emitted (d) to the left. That photon is considered “a radiation” due to the recoil of the nucleus.
The equations of momenergy are now:
In clusters of galaxies, typical temperatures of provide a kinetic energy of proton and electron at clusters about . Relativistic kinetic energy is and it yields for hydrogen nuclei (i.e., protons ). If , then we have . Then, the electron kinetic energy is almost completely turned into radiation (bremsstrahlung). In particular, bremsstrahlung is a X-ray radiation with .
Example 1. Absorption of a photon by an atom.
In this process, we have from momenergy conservation:
If the atom is the rest frame, before absorption we get
Description: an atom “a” at rest with mass absorbs a photon “b” propagating in the x-direction turning itself into an excited atom “c”, moving in the x-axis (suffering a “recoil” after the photon hits it).
The atom after aborption has
Therefore, since the photon verifies:
and it is true in every inertial frame. Thus,
Expanding the square root
In this case,
Atom’s rest mass increases by an amount up to first order in the Planck’s constant, and it decreases up to second order in h a quanity due to motion ( “recoil”). Therefore,
In this way, identifying terms:
In the laboratory frame, the excited atom velocity is calculated by momenergy conservation. It is simple:
Then, we obtain that:
where we have used in the last step .
Example 2. Emission of a photon by an atom.
An atom c at rest, with the rest mass, emits a photon b with frequency in the x-direction, turning itself into a non-excited atom “a”, with . What is the energy shift ?
is in the rest frame of “a”.
in the rest from “c” reads
in the rest frame of “c” is
in the rest frame of “c” is
In this way, we have
From this equations we deduce that
And from the definition we get
Note: the photon’s energy IS NOT equal to the difference of the atomic rest energies but it is less than that due to the emission process. This fact implies that the atom experieces “recoil”, and it gains kinetic energy at the expense of the photon. There is a good chance for the photon not to be absorbed by an atom of some kind. However, “resonance absorption” becomes problematic. The condition for recoilless resonant absorption to occur nonetheless, e.g., the reabsorption of gamma ray photons by nuclei of the some kind were investigated by Mössbauer. The so-called Mössbauer effect has been important not only to atomic physics but also to verify the theory of general relativity. Furthermore, it is used in materials reseach in present time as well. In 1958, Rudolf L. Mössbauer reported the 1st reoilless gamma emission. It provided him the Nobel Prize in 1961.
Example 3. Decay of two particles at rest.
The process we are going to study is the reaction
The particle C decays into A and B. It is the inverse process of the completely inelastic collision we studied in a previous example.
From the conservation of the tetramomentum
Choose the frame in which the following equation holds
Let be the laboratory frame velocities in the rest frame of “C”. Then, we deduce
From these equations
Therefore, the total kinetic energy of the two particles A,B is equal to the mass defect in the decay of the particle.
Example 4. Pair production by a photon.
Suppose the reaction , in which a single photon ()decays into a positron-electron pair.
That is, .
Squaring the momenergy in both sides:
In the case of the photon:
In the case of the electron and the positron:
We calculate the components of momenergy in the center of mass frame:
with . Therefore,
This equation has no solutions for any positive solution of the photon energy! It’s logical. In vacuum, it requires the pressence of other particle. For instance is the typical process in a “photon collider”. Other alternative is that the photon were “virtual” (e.g., like QED reactions ). Suppose, alternatively, the reaction . Solving this process is hard and tedious, but we can restrict our attention to the special case of three particles staying together in a cluster C. In this way, the real process would be instead . In the laboratory frame:
and in the cluster reference frame
Squaring the momenergy:
In the absence of an extra mass M, i.e., when , the energy would be undefined, and it would become unphysical. The larger M is, the smaller is the additional energy requiere for pair production. If M is the electron mass, and , the photon’s energy must be twice the size of the rest energy of the pair, four times the rest energy of the photon. It means that we would obtain
In general, if we would deduce:
Example 5. Pair annihilation of an electron-positron couple.
Now, the reaction is the annihilation of a positron-electron pair into two photons, turning mass completely into (field) energy of light quanta. implies the momenergy conservation
where “a” is the moving electron and “b” is a postron at rest. Squaring the identity, it yields
Then, we deduce
while we do know that
for the electron/positron and
since they are photons. The left hand side is equal to , and for the momenergy in the right hand side
Combining both sides, we deduce
The only solution to the right hand side to be not zero is when we select and and we plug values with DIFFERENT signs. In that case,
From previous examples:
and we evaluate it in the laboratory frame to give
The last two boxed equations allow us to solve for
If we insert this equation into the first boxed equation of this example, we deduce that
Solving for this last equation
Example 1. Completely inelastic collision of 2 particles .
We will calculate the mass and velocity after the collision, when a cluster is formed.
From the consevation of momentum in the collision, we get
Squaring both sides:
In the rest frame of the particle labelled with “a”:
Now, with and
From this equation, we get
If , then , as we should expect from classical physics ( Lavoisier’s law: the mass is conserved).
We observe that, in general, there is NO rest mass conservation law in relativistic physics ( as we have mentioned before). Momentum and energy can be transformed into rest mass and viceversa. From the next equations:
is the center or mass velocity in the laboratory frame. If and , then
And if we write , the formula provides
And it is the classical center of mass equation for two particles, as we expected to be.
Example 2. Production of a proton-antiproton pair in the chemical highly energetic process given by .
If we get an extremely energetic beam of protons. Then, we collide one proton A of the beam with another proton B, at rest. If the kinetic energy is enough, we can create a proton-antiproton pair! The question is, what is the minimum (total) energy, sometimes called threshold energy?What is the minimum kinetic energy, or threshold kinetic energy? And what is the velocity of the incident proton A in order to get the pair production? We are going to solve this really nice problem.
The proton B at rest has and then .
Note that we have and , for the system after the collision when the pair is created.
Using the formulae we have studied
It implies for the kinetic threshold energy. The necessary velocity can be obtained in a simple way:
Energetically, we find that the collision is more “favourable”, in general, when we get a storage ring with 2 protons and we crash them with . In that case, the energy threshold and the kinetic energy threshold, provide:
and then, the minimum velocity of each proton has to be:
Thus, the minimun threshold total energy of each proton is:
Therefore, the minimum kinetic energy, the kinetic threshold energy, is given by . For each proton PAIR, the total energy threshold is . This value differs from the relativistic value previously obtained by an amount . Now the kinetic threshold energy to obtain the pair equals i.e., 1/3 ()of the total energy in the previous example () is saved smashing 2 protons in opposite directions in order to create the pair proton-antiproton.
We can generalize the problem to the creation of n-pairs proton-antiproton. The equations yield:
The threshold kinetic energy will be in this case:
and the incident minimum velocity to hit the proton at rest is now:
In the case of a very large number of pairs, we get that
In the case of a storage ring,
and from this equation, algebra provides
Problem 1. In the S-frame, 2 events are happening simultaneously at 3 lyrs of distance. In the S’-frame those events happen at 3.5 lyrs. Answer to the following questions: i) What is the relative speed between frames? ii) What is the temporal distance of events in the S’-frame?
And by simultaneity,
since we have simultaneity implies . Then,
Problem 2. In S-frame 2 events occur at the same point separated by a temporal distance of 3yrs. In the S’-frame, is their spatial separation. Answer the next questions: i) What is the relative velocity between the two frames? ii) What is the spatial separation of events in the S’-frame?
Solution. i) with
As the events occur in the same point
Therefore, the second event happens 1.8 lyrs to the “left” of the first event. It’s logical: the S’-frame is moving with relative speed for .
Problem 3. Two events in the S-frame have the following coordinates in spacetime: , i.e., and , i.e., . The S’-frame moves with velocity v respect to the S-frame. a) What is the magnitude of v if we want that the events were simultaneous? b) At what tmes t’ do these events occur in the S’-frame?
Problem 4. A spaceship is leaving Earth with . When it is away from our planet, Earth transmits a radio signal towards the spaceship. a) How long does the electromagnetic wave travel in the Earth-frame? b) How long does the electromagnetic wave travel in the space-ship frame?
For the spaceship, and for the signal . From these equations, we get
$late \beta ct=x$ and , and it yields and thus for the intersection point. But, and . Putting this value in the intersection point, we deduce that the intersection point happens at . Moreover,
b) We have to perform a Lorentz transformation from to , with .
and . Then . And thus, we obtain that . The Lorentz transformation for the two events read
Remarks: a) Note that and differ by 3 instead of . This is due to the fact we haven’t got a time interval elapsing at a certain location but we face with a time interval between two different and spatially separated events.
b)The use of the complete Lorentz transformation (boost) mixing space and time is inevitable.
Problem 5. Two charged particles A and B, with the same charge q, move parallel with . They are separated by a distance d. What is the electric force between them?
In the S-frame, we obtain the Lorentz force:
The same result can be obtained using the power-force (or forpower) tetravector performing an inverse Lorentz transformation.
Problem 6. Calculate the electric and magnetic field for a point particle passing some concrete point.
The electric field for the static charge is:
with when the temporal origin coincides, i.e., at the time . Suppose now two points that for the rest observer provide:
and . For the electric field we get:
Then, implies that
There are two special cases from the physical viewpoint in the observed electric fields:
a) When P is directly above the charge q. Then
b) When P is directly in front of ( or behind) q. Then, for a=0,
Note that we have if .