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High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion

Posted by: Sigma - Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:29 am
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High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion 
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Post High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:29 am
Is there any way to use a hyper-dense form of matter to absorb high energy particles like neutrinos or gamma? Could a shielding system absorb radation to then emmit it accelerated in one direction?

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:46 pm
Well, it depends on how much energy the particles have. In the case of neutrons, the energy characterizes how fast they're going, and in the case of photons like gamma rays, the energy is inversely proportional to the wavelength.

At lower energies, a hyper-dense material can "absorb" the energy of the particles.

In this case, the neutron or gamma radiation will scatter off of the stuff in matter (like nuclei or electrons), and leave the matter largely unaffected (there will be some heating of the matter though). If there is enough matter, the neutrons can be scattered until they thermalize (basically, until they're in thermal equilibrium with the matter).

Similarly, gamma rays can scatter (look up Compton scattering) and lose energy in the matter until their wavelengths are comparable to that of the atoms in the matter.

In the case of lower energy neutrons and gamma rays, some of the energy goes into heating the material up, meaning that the constraints of thermodynamics apply at this point (the amount of useful energy that you can get depends on temperature differences).

At higher energies, a hyper-dense material can "absorb" the particles, but the material itself will likely be altered.

In this case, neutrons might be absorbed by the nuclei of the atoms making up this hyper-dense material. In that case, the nuclei may become heavier isotopes, or turn into nuclei of different elements. In some cases, the new nuclei may be unstable and decay into something else, dramatically changing the elemental composition of the material.

For higher energy gamma rays, a lot might pass through (though it depends on how dense your material is), and the ones that don't fully pass through may only scatter a few times before leaving the material (keeping most of their energy) or also alter the nuclei.

Now there is one possibility here, and that is of nuclear isomers. Gamma rays of particular energies can be absorbed to excite nuclei into higher energy states. The different energy states of a nucleus are called isomers. Some isomers can be quite long-lived, and there has been some research into the possibility of using them to store and release large amounts of energy. However, this area of research has become taboo in the scientific community because of a controversy with Hafnium isomer research a few years back. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafnium_controversy


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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:16 pm
Sigma wrote:
Is there any way to use a hyper-dense form of matter to absorb high energy particles like neutrinos or gamma? Could a shielding system absorb radation to then emmit it accelerated in one direction?


I think it is currently beyond our level of technology to produce the kind hyper-dense forms of matter that might do what you want. Metallic hydrogen has been produced briefly in some labs but has not existed long enough in large enough quantities to fully test its properties tho it might be interesting to go out to Jupiter and shine a neutrino source thru it, but it is currently beyond our political and economic capabilities to set up that kind of lab. Magnetic fields can be used to bend and accelerate charged particles in any direction you want if you can afford something the size of CERN and a big power bill. :wink: :twisted:

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:54 pm
Well, lead seems to work ok to stop radiation. That's what they use when they put you in the x-ray machine.

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:53 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
Well, lead seems to work ok to stop radiation. That's what they use when they put you in the x-ray machine.


Yes but Sigma also wanted to stop neutrinos which would take more than six trillion miles of lead *1 a bit on the bulky side to move around. :twisted:




*1 Which i suspect would probably collapse under its own mass into something that would cause a Hawking radiation problem. :wink: :twisted:

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:50 pm
Why would you want to stop neutrinos? They can't hurt you.

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:42 am
The idea is to protect and fuel the ship with external energy and micromass to accelerate as fuel, the broader the absorbtion band the more net energy gain and mass you could capture and or accelerate with. Shield =intake for vasimer style thruster

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:42 am
Sigma wrote:
The idea is to protect and fuel the ship with external energy and micromass to accelerate as fuel, the broader the absorbtion band the more net energy gain and mass you could capture and or accelerate with. Shield =intake for vasimer style thruster


Micromass will get you micro thrust. Really small particles have really small mass, which will get you really small acceleration. There actually is macromass in space, and that is the idea behind the bussard ramjet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bussard_ramjet

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:17 pm
I was under the understanding that the faster you accelerate a mass the more it weighed and also the greater the thrust, With the capacity to absorb all of the radation of sphere x and seletivly accelerate mass you could get thrust.

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:39 am
Well yes, but just because Archimedes understood the principle of the water screw doesn't mean he was ready to build a turbojet engine.


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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:23 pm
Actually, a more efficient way of moving a spacecraft would be to turn mass into radiation.
KABLOOEY!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_propulsion

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:29 pm
Easier anyway.

"Me caveman. Me have atom bomb. Me build starship. Ug!"


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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:58 pm
Well this is a theoretical system, the nuts and bolts are of course complicated, what about densely confined plasma? Can it absorb gamma?

Are there any quantum syatem that increase probablity of strike, like bose einstien condensates or cooper pairs?

Is there such a thing as a neutral particle confinement so you could make a shield made from densely packed nuetrons?

If I create particles from the background, can otherparticles pay the deficit by winking out?

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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:35 pm
Sigma wrote:
Well this is a theoretical system, the nuts and bolts are of course complicated, what about densely confined plasma? Can it absorb gamma?


More likely to emit gamma if you piss it off enough.

Quote:
Is there such a thing as a neutral particle confinement so you could make a shield made from densely packed nuetrons?


Do you have a neutron star handy?

Quote:
If I create particles from the background, can otherparticles pay the deficit by winking out?


No, but what may be theoretically possible is to "flip" neutrons from the "untouchables" to the ones we can manipulate (or at least see), perhaps even convert them to protons. But we are a long long way from that point.


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Post Re: High Energy Subatomic Particle Absorbtion   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:54 pm
Well, the problem I see with having high density sheilding is the high Mass that comes with it. If you're using micromass to accellerate it, you'd have to get it going pretty fast to get much net impulse, and a lot of it. That means a big tank, with dense sheilding, which means a lot more mass, more fuel, more tank...

This is why we try to make ships as light as possible. About the only thing I'd use Nutronium in that I wanted to move would be reaction mass, but how do you accelerate it without a charge?

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