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Q & A: Bremsstrahlung and other types of particle interactions

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Most recent answer: 06/18/2013
Are Bremsstrahlung encounters and particulate collisions both considered to be coulombic in nature?
- Eli (age 32)
Raleigh, NC, USA

Bremsstahlung involves the emitting  of electromagnetic radiation whenever a charged particle undergoes a change of velocity. A classical example of bremsstahlung is the x-ray tube where electrons are accelerated by a voltage and then slam into a tungsten target.   The sudden de-acceleration causes x-rays to be emitted.   Bremsstahlung exists in both the classical and quantum mechanical realms but always involve charged particles and the Coulomb interaction.  

Particle-particle interactions don't necessarily have associated photons or electro-magnetic radiation.  For example two high energy protons can interact with each other through the so-called strong or nuclear force. All kinds of things can happen, such as producing mesons or Higgs bosons.   No photons or charges are necessary.   Other non-Coulombic interactions come into mind, for example the weak force which cause beta decay and even the gravitational force.  




(published on 06/18/2013)

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