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Positron: antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron

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Positron: antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron

Positron: antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron

  • Recently the Raman Research Institute (RRI) has succeeded in solving the mystery of the positron (antimatter counterpart of the electron) and “positron excision phenomena”.
  • It may be noted that RRI is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Bangalore.
  • The antimatter is of the opposite nature to the normal substance. Sub-molecular particles of antimatter have opposite properties to normal matter.
  • Atoms are the basic units of matter and a defined structure of elements. Atoms are made up of three particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Positron:

  • It has the same mass as the electron, but the difference between the two is that the electron is a negatively charged particle and the positron is a positively charged particle. Positron was discovered in the year 1932.

Key points

Positron Excess:

  • Over the years astronomers have observed an excess of antimatter counterpart of the electron or positrons having energy of more than 10 giga-electronvolts, or 10 GeV.
  • For an estimate, this is the energy of a positively charged electron accelerated across a 10,000,000,000 volt battery! Positrons with energy more than 300 GeV, however, are lower in comparison to what astronomers expect.
  • This behavior of positrons between 10 and 300 GeV is what astronomers call a ‘positron excess’.

Study of RRI:

  • The Milky Way consists of huge clouds of molecular hydrogen. They can extend up to 600 light-years, the distance it would take 600 years to travel.They are the seats of the formation of new stars and can be up to 10 million times the mass of the Sun.
  • Cosmic rays originating in supernova explosions propagate through these clouds before reaching Earth. Cosmic rays make contact with molecular hydrogen and can give rise to other cosmic rays.
  • As they propagate through these clouds, they move from their original forms into a state of decay and lose their energy by intermixing, activating clouds, and can become active again.
  • RRI studied all these astrophysics processes using publicly available computer codes.

RRI’s proposal:

  • Cosmic rays, while propagating through the Milky Way galaxy, react with the matters and produce other cosmic rays.
  • All the mechanisms through which cosmic rays interact with molecular clouds indicate that molecular clouds can contribute to solving the mystery of ‘positron accession phenomena’.

Cosmic rays:

  • Cosmic rays are high-energy particles that originate in the outer space of space. Their speed is almost the same as the speed of light, and they are found all around the earth. They were discovered in the year 1912.

Light years:

  • The light-year is a unit of length used to express astronomical distances and is approximately equal to 9.46 trillion kilometers.
  • According to the definition of the International Astronomical Union, a light-year is the distance that light completes in one Julian year.

Source: PIB

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