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weak interaction

In particle physics, the weak interaction is the mechanism responsible for the weak force or weak nuclear force, one of the four known fundamental interactions of nature, alongside the strong interaction, electromagnetism, and gravitation. The weak interaction is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles, and it plays an essential role in nuclear fission. The theory of the weak interaction is sometimes called quantum flavordynamics (QFD), in analogy with the terms QCD and QED, but the term is rarely used because the weak force is best understood in terms of electro-weak theory (EWT).

• In the Standard Model of particle physics, the weak interaction is caused by the emission or absorption of W and Z bosons.

All known fermions interact through the weak interaction. Fermions are particles that have half-integer spin (one of the fundamental properties of particles). A fermion can be an elementary particle, such as the electron, or it can be a composite particle, such as the proton.

• The masses of W+, W−, and Z bosons are each far greater than that of protons or neutrons, consistent with the short range of the weak force. The force is termed weak because its field strength over a given distance is typically several orders of magnitude less than that of the strong nuclear force and electromagnetic force.

During the quark epoch, the electroweak force split into the electromagnetic and weak forces. Important examples of weak interaction include beta decay, and the production, from hydrogen, of deuterium needed to power the sun's thermonuclear process. Most fermions will decay by a weak interaction over time. Such decay also makes radiocarbon dating possible, as carbon-14 decays through the weak interaction to nitrogen-14. It can also create radioluminescence, commonly used in tritium illumination, and in the related field of betavoltaics.

Quarks, which make up composite particles like neutrons and protons, come in six "flavours" – up, down, strange, charm, top and bottom – which give those composite particles their properties. The weak interaction is unique in that it allows for quarks to swap their flavour for another. For example, during beta minus decay, a down quark decays into an up quark, converting a neutron to a proton. Also the weak interaction is the only fundamental interaction that breaks parity-symmetry, and similarly, the only one to break CP-symmetry. Wikipedia, Weak Interaction

See Also


Figure 9.4 - Radiation and Absorption interactions with Neutral Center
Interaction of Intense Laser Pulses with Atomic Clusters - Measurements of Ion Emission Simulations and Applications
Laser Cluster Interactions
Models of Laser Cluster Interactions
Weak Force

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Friday May 6, 2016 05:17:09 MDT by Dale Pond.