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Mechanics is the science of studying energy and forces, and their effects on matter. It involves mechanisms, kinematics, cross sections, and transport. Radiation mechanism describes how various types of radiation interact with different targets (atoms and nuclei). The book addresses the above four aspects of radiation mechanics integrating these aspects of radiation behavior in a single treatise under the framework of “radiation mechanics". Covers all aspects of radiation mechanics Helps non-nuclear graduates readily familiarize themselves with radiation Integrates and coordinates mechanisms, kinematics, cross sections and transport in one volume End of each chapter problems to further assist students in understanding the underlying concepts Use of computations and Internet resources included in the problems

Publisher: Elsevier ScienceReleased: Jul 7, 2010ISBN: 9780080552880Format: book

**Principles and Practice **

*Esam M.A. Hussein *

*Department of Mechanical Engineering University of New Brunswick Fredericton, N.B. Canada *

Elsevier Science Ltd

**Cover image **

**Title page **

**PREFACE **

**LIST OF ALGORITHMS **

**CHAPTER ONE: MECHANISMS **

**Publisher Summary **

**1.1 INTRODUCTION **

**1.2 RADIATION **

**1.3 WAVE-PARTICLE DUALITY **

**1.4 NUCLEAR/ATOMIC FIELDS **

**1.5 ATOM AND NUCLEUS **

**1.6 NUCLEAR DECAY **

**1.7 REACTIONS AND INTERACTIONS **

**1.8 MACROSCOPIC FIELD **

**1.9 PROBLEMS **

**CHAPTER TWO: COLLISION KINEMATICS **

**Publisher Summary **

**2.1 OVERVIEW **

**2.2 CENTER-OF-MASS SYSTEM **

**2.3 RELATIVITY **

**2.4 CONSERVATION LAWS **

**2.5 EINSTEINIAN KINEMATICS **

**2.6 NEWTONIAN KINEMATICS **

**2.7 SPECIFIC INTERACTIONS **

**2.8 ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERACTIONS **

**2.9 PROBLEMS **

**CHAPTER THREE: CROSS SECTIONS **

**Publisher Summary **

**3.1 INTRODUCTION **

**3.2 NUCLEAR CROSS-SECTION MODELS **

**3.3 NEUTRON CROSS SECTIONS **

**3.4 ELECTRODYNAMICS **

**3.5 PHOTON CROSS SECTIONS **

**3.6 CHARGED-PARTICLE CROSS SECTIONS **

**3.7 DATA LIBRARIES AND PROCESSING **

**3.8 PROBLEMS **

**CHAPTER FOUR: TRANSPORT **

**Publisher Summary **

**4.1 BOLTZMANN TRANSPORT EQUATION **

**4.2 MODAL SOLUTION METHODS **

**4.3 NODAL SOLUTION METHODS **

**4.4 STOCHASTIC METHODS **

**4.5 TRANSPORT OF CHARGED PARTICLES **

**4.6 PROBLEMS **

**BIBLIOGRAPHY **

**CONSTANTS AND UNITS **

**USEFUL WEB SITES **

**GLOSSARY **

**INDEX **

The word radiation

refers to electromagnetic waves (at various frequencies), atomic emissions (X-rays), or nuclear decay and reaction products (alpha and beta particles, gamma rays, neutrons, positrons, etc.). Conventional optical principles are used to describe the behavior of electromagnetic radiation in the form of visible light, while the concepts of radiative heat transfer are utilized when dealing with thermal (infrared) radiation. These relatively simplistic principles along with the more elegant analysis of electromagnetic radiation using the Maxwell equations are appropriate when a large number of photons are involved, and wave characteristics are the norm. At very high frequencies (in the range of X– and γ-rays), electromagnetic radiation exhibits corpuscular properties, and conventional particle mechanics (conservation of energy and momentum) become directly applicable. The transport, as a collective, of these particle-like photons is governed by the Boltzmann transport equation. Similarly neutral radiation particles (neutrons) abide by conservation laws and the transport equation. However, when characterizing the dynamics of neutron interactions with the nucleus, wave (quantum) mechanics is utilized. At low energy, neutrons exhibit wave properties, and the wave nature of radiation still prevails. Particles carrying an electric charge (such as alpha and beta particles, or protons) are affected by the Coulomb forces of the atom and its nucleus as they traverse matter, and as such do not penetrate deep into matter. They can, however, trigger the generation of a chain of electrons in the form of a shower

that can propagate further into matter. Electrons, being light in mass, can acquire a speed that approaches the speed of light, then relativistic effects become pronounced and must be taken into account.

It is obvious from the above preamble that the mechanics of atomic/nuclear radiation involves many physical effects. At the time of writing this book and to the author’s knowledge, there was no single textbook that covers all these aspects. While a classical book such as that of Evans [1] covers the basic interactions and mechanisms, it does not tackle the transport theory and in essence considers a single interaction of a radiation entity with matter at a time. On the other hand, a book on transport theory, such as that of Davison [2], concerns itself with the mathematical aspects of the transport theory. Applied textbooks, such as those concerned with reactor theory [3, 4], radiation detection and measurement [5, 6], radiation shielding [7, 8], or radiation-based devices [9], tend to focus on the aspects that specifically relate to the subject of interest. Students of the field formulate an overall understanding of radiation behavior from individual subjects, ranging from basic nuclear physics and quantum mechanics to radiation transport theory and computations. This work integrates these aspects of radiation behavior in a single treatise under the framework of radiation mechanics

, in the same manner all aspects of fluid flow are covered under the subject of fluid mechanics

, and stress analysis is addressed under solid mechanics

or mechanics of materials

.

Mechanics is the science of studying energy and forces, and their effects on matter. It involves (1) mechanisms, (2) kinematics, (3) cross sections, and (4) transport. *Mechanisms *describe how various types of radiation interact with different targets (atoms and nuclei). *Kinematics *studies particle motion via conservation of energy and momentum, albeit taking into account energy stored within the target, along with any relativistic effects which become pronounced at high particle speeds. Therefore, kinematics determines the energy and direction of radiation following a certain interaction. A reaction *cross section *is a measure of the probability of occurrence of a certain interaction, at given kinematic (energy and direction) attributes. Interaction cross sections are determined by the interaction amplitudes

, as dictated by the potential field

of the target and its effect on the incoming radiation. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical framework for obtaining these amplitudes, the square of which (properly normalized) defines a cross section. The *transport *(spread and distribution of radiation from one location to another and its evolution with time) is determined by bookkeeping principles via the particle transport theory.

The book addresses the above four aspects of radiation mechanics in four separate chapters. The first two chapters can be covered in a one-semester course, and the latter two chapters in a subsequent semester. However, students with some background in modern and nuclear physics can skip **Chapter 1, and each of the other three chapters can be presented in any order, since they are reasonably independent of each other. At the end of each chapter a set of problems is presented to further assist students in understanding the underlying concepts. Use of computations and Internet resources¹ are included in the problems as much as possible. Instructors can approach the author at hussein@unb.ca for a copy of the solutions manual for the problems in this book. **

In order to enable the reader to navigate through this book, one interaction at a time, **Table 1 below provides a summary of all the relevant interactions and refers to the pages in this book where they are defined, their kinematics are addressed, and their cross sections are presented. **

**Table 1 **

**List of radiation interactions: numbers indicate the page number in which a particular aspect of an interaction is addressed **

This book was written using LATEX, based on MiKTEXplatform, with WinTEX XP as the interfacing editor. Special thanks to Mr. John T. Bowles for proof reading the text of the four chapters of the book.

**Esam Hussein, ***Fredericton, N.B. Canada *

*December, 2006 *

**¹Uniform resource locators (URL’S) in this book refer to web sites that were active at the time of finalizing this work. Such web sites may change location and content, or disappear altogether. Readers are advised to do an Internet search under the relevant topic, if a URL ceases to be accessible. **

• Relativistic kinematics of a two-body interaction: 2(1,3)4 **92 **

• Invariant-based kinematics of a two-body interaction: 2(1,3)4 **96 **

**CHAPTER ONE **

**MECHANISMS **

This chapter outlines various radiation interaction mechanisms. Mechanics is the study of forces and energy and their effect on matter. Radiation mechanics involves understanding the mechanisms through which radiation interacts with target atom/nucleus, and studying the kinematics of an interaction through the conservation of momentum and energy. A neutrino has very little mass if any, and is not affected much by the strong nuclear forces. A neutrino serves to conserve momentum and energy in decay processes involving the emission of positive or negative beta rays. The decay of a nucleus by the emission of an α particle requires that two protons and two neutrons combine within the nucleus, and the formed positively charged particle overcomes the Coulomb barrier in the field of the nucleus. The conservation of the total angular momentum and parity restricts the energy levels from which α decay can occur. It is found that the energy of the emitted γ-rays is slightly lower than the difference in energy between the initial and final states. The difference between the two binding energies of the electron filling the vacancy is released in the form of an X-ray photon, known as fluorescent radiation. The elastic and ground state scattering are also elaborated.

Mechanics is the study of forces and energy and their effect on matter, it is also the study of mechanisms. Radiation mechanics then involves:

1. Understanding the *mechanisms *via which radiation interacts with a target atom/nucleus and how the target reacts.

2. Studying the *kinematics *of an interaction via the conservation of momentum and energy.

3. Determining the probability of interaction of a certain radiation entity, having a certain energy with a particular atom/nucleus (*cross sections*).

4. Modeling the *transport *of a flux of these entities into a medium.

**Figure 1.1 illustrates these concepts schematically for a scattering mechanism. In the Figure, a particle (or an equivalent wave packet) approaches the nuclear field, and its associated electric (Coulomb) field. These fields change the particle’s energy and direction, i.e. the particle is scattered. The energy of the emerging particle is determined by the kinematics of scattering. The probability that the particle will emerge in any specific direction is dictated by the potential field of the target nucleus and its effect on the incoming particle. This particle will continue to move in the medium causing different types of interactions with many target nuclei, until it is absorbed or escapes from the domain of interest. The collective movement of these particles in a medium is called particle transport. In Fig. 1.1, the particle could have been replaced with a photon and the target with an atom, or even a single atomic electron, and the same three aspects of particle mechanics will still emerge. These aspects are discussed in this book. Chapter 2 deals with interaction kinematics. The cross sections of interactions are discussed in Chapter 3. The particle transport process is analyzed in Chapter 4. **

**Figure 1.1 **A schematic view of the *mechanics *of a radiation interaction: a scattering *mechanism*, the *kinematics *of which determines the outgoing energy, *E*(ϑ), based on the incoming energy, *E*0, and the angle of scattering, while the *potential field *governs the probability of scattering by ϑ to *E*(ϑ). A sequence of scattering events results in the *transport *of many particles in a medium of many atoms/nuclei.

In this chapter, the basic mechanisms affecting the behavior of each type of radiation addressed in this book are examined. The chapter begins by introducing the various forms of radiation, and identifying the ones that evince corpuscular (that of a minute particle) properties, which are the main subject of this book. Since nuclear/atomic radiation can assume both wave and particle characteristics, the concept of wave–particle duality is introduced. The information given in this chapter is quite basic and can be found in more detail in nuclear and atomic physics textbooks such as those of [1, 10–16]. The natural atomic/nuclear fields involved in the formation of the atom and its nucleus, to which radiation particles are exposed, are then reviewed, followed by an examination of the structure of the atom and the nucleus, and the nuclear decay processes. The types of interactions radiation can encounter upon approaching these fields are subsequently classified. After studying individual radiation particles and the individual target atoms/nuclei they interact with, we take a macroscopic point-of-view by involving many radiation particles with a medium containing many atoms/nuclei. This defines the space within which radiation transport takes place. Note that this book is not concerned with high-energy particle physics, a field that deals with studying the fundamental constituents of matter, though some of the concepts introduced are suited for use with high-energy particles.

This book deals with three types of radiation as outlined in **Table 1.1. **

**Table 1.1 **

**Types of nuclear/atomic radiation **

A particle by definition carries a mass. Einstein (1905), through the special theory of relativity, introduced an energy term corresponding to the mass, *m*0, of a particle when it is at rest; (see **Section 2.3), the so-called rest-mass energy: **

where *c *is the speed of light. This is a *fundamental *relationship, not derivable from other relations, just like Newton’s laws of motion. A number of these fundamental relationships will be identified throughout this chapter. The introduction of the rest-mass energy enables the accommodation of changes within the target atom and nucleus that involve changes in mass and energy.

The neutral particle of interest in this book is the neutron. There is, however, another elementary particle called the neutrino, which is discussed here because of the role it plays in the β-decay process. A neutrino (referred to as *v*) has very little mass (less then a few eV rest-mass energy)**¹, if any, and is not affected much by the strong nuclear forces (see Section 1.4). As such, neutrinos are highly penetrating as they interact weakly with matter. It is, therefore, difficult to detect neutrinos, or harness their use in practical applications. A neutrino serves to conserve momentum and energy in decay processes involving the emission of positive (positron, β+) or negative (electron, β−) beta rays. These nuclear decay processes, unlike those of gamma decay, exhibit a continuous, rather than a discrete, energy distribution, although both decay processes are associated with discrete transitions in energy from one nuclear state to another. The neutrino shares a portion of the released energy with the emitted beta particle, causing the energy distribution to be continuous, as that portion can vary from nothing to the entire decay energy. The conservation of momentum in the β-decay process requires also the emission of a neutrino at 180° from the emitted β-particle. The neutrino associated with β− decay is known as an antineutrino, while that associated with β+ decay is called a neutrino. In fact the antineutrino is the antimatter counterpart of the neutrino, in the sense that the particles annihilate each other if they ever coexist at the same location and the same time. The spin of a neutrino is opposite its linear momentum, i.e. it follows the orientation of the fingers of the left hand when wrapped around the vector of the linear momentum with the thumb pointing along the direction of the linear momentum. On the other hand, the spin of the antineutrino is **

right-handed.

The neutron is an elementary particle with a mass, *mn*, of about 1.675 × 10−27 kg or 1.0087 u, where u is the atomic mass unit**², and an equivalent rest-mass energy, mnccharge, where e is the electronic charge (see Glossary for the definition of quarks). At very low energy (in the meV range), neutrons exhibit strong wave characteristics that are employed in studying the crystal structure of matter. These neutrons are known as **

cold neutrons, to distinguish them from the

thermalneutrons, which have an energy corresponding to the temperature of the medium in which they propagate (see Section 3.3.7).

The term charged particles refers to electrons (e−), positrons (e+), protons (p), and the positive ions of any atom, including that of the ⁴He atom which is known as the alpha (α) particle. The electric charge of each particle is defined in terms of the charge of one electron (e); a fundamental constant called the elementary charge (1 e = 1.602 × 10−19 C). Charged particles are classified as light particles (electrons, positrons) and heavy particles (protons, α particles, and other ions). The Glossary at the end of this book gives the charge and mass of common charged particles. When these particles move at a speed much larger than the velocities of thermal motion, they are referred to as swift

particles. These swift particles are those of interest in this book.

A photon is a quantum of electromagnetic energy. It can be thought of as a packet of waves consolidating together within a confined space as shown in **Fig. 1.2. This packet of energy has no mass, no electric charge, and an indefinitely long lifetime, but it exhibits the characteristics of a discrete particle. The energy of a photon, E, is related to the frequency, v, of its electromagnetic wave by the Planck constant, h (= 4.135667 × 10−15 eV/s), so that: **

**Figure 1.2 **A wave packet formed by waves consolidating together within a confined space.

**(1.2) **

The photons we are interested in here are those that have sufficient energy to change the physical status of an atom, say by exciting its electrons or ionizing it by stripping one of its electrons. The electron-binding energy of the tightest bound electron (those in the shell closest to the nucleus, K shell) is in the range from 13.6 eV (for H) to 121.76 eV (for Pu)**³. Therefore, our interest here is in electromagnetic radiation with an energy in the tens of eVs, so that they can reach the bound electron in the inner electronic shells. Obviously, for photons to affect the nucleus, they must have much higher energy to overcome the barrier of atomic electrons. **

As **Table 1.2 shows, only radiation in the upper range of the ultraviolet (uv) waves and above has sufficient energy to affect bound atomic electrons. However, given the relatively long wavelength of ultraviolet radiation and soft (low energy) X-rays (10−8 to 10−10 m), in comparison to the size of the atom (about 10−11 m), uv and soft X-ray photons tend to behave more like waves than particles when encountering the atom. With this wave behavior, no energy is deposited within the atom and the waves are reflected, refracted, diffracted, or Doppler shifted in a manner similar to an optical wave. However, in the smaller wavelength of soft X-rays, the radiation wavelength becomes comparable in value to the spacing distance between atoms. Therefore, soft X-rays can provide useful information on lattice structures from the diffraction patterns of incident waves. This raises, however, the question of whether photons are particles or waves (see Section 1.3). **

**Table 1.2 **

**Wavelength, frequency, and photon energy of various forms of electromagnetic radiation **

**aUltra low frequency. **

**bExtremely low frequency. **

**cVoice (telephone) frequency. **

**dIncludes VLF (very low frequency) waves, used for instance in submarine communications, radio waves, and the UHF (ultra high frequency) waves of TV channels. **

**eX- and γ-rays are distinguished by their origin; the former from electronic effects while the latter is due to nuclear excitation. The given range is only indicative, as the two types of radiation overlap in range. **

X-rays are the photons produced electronically, by fast electrons bombarding an electron-rich target. X-ray generators can be common X-ray tubes or powerful electron accelerators (linear accelerators (linacs) or synchrotrons). Gamma (γ) rays are the photons emitted during the decay of a radioactive material. Since an electron bombarding a target slows down gradually, it emits a continuous spectrum extending in energy from an energy equal to the energy of the incident electron to zero energy. X-rays have, therefore, a continuous energy distribution, γ-ray photons have, on the other hand, discrete energies, as they correspond to certain transitions between the excitation levels of a nucleus.

Before discussing the concept of wave–article duality, let us examine the general characteristics of waves and particles, and the concept of duality.

A wave is characterized by a frequency, *v*, and a wavelength, λ, related such that:

**(1.3) **

where *c *is the speed of the wave, which is equal to the speed of light in the case of electromagnetic radiation. A wave propagates and exists in all locations and at all times. For instance a sine wave is expressed by the function *A *sin(*ωt + kx*), where *A *is its wave number, and ω = 2*πν*. A more complex waveform can be constructed by a linear summation of sine waves, with different frequencies. When two waves interact, they can interfere with each other constructively (increasing the resultant amplitude) or destructively. A wave can also change its amplitude when encountering a change in the medium in which it propagates, and it can be phase-shifted (its period displaced) in the process. Subsequently, the phenomena of reflection, refraction, diffraction, and Doppler shifting are observed with waves.

Unlike a wave, a particle is a consolidated discrete uniform entity with an energy concentrated within a well-defined finite and confined space with definite boundaries. Therefore, a particle exists at a specific location at a certain time, and can only move to a new position in space under the external influence of a force or a potential field. Hence, a particle, unlike a wave, can change its speed, and consequently can be accelerated or decelerated. When a particle collides with another particle, the interaction between the two is governed by the principles of conservation of momentum and energy.

Duality of wave and particle means that an entity can possess the quality or state of having corpuscular or wave properties. This has been observed, for instance, in the case of light photons which at the frequency range of ultraviolet radiation or higher can behave as particles that collide with atomic electrons and liberate them. Then an electric current can be driven by applying an external voltage, as in the case of photocells. On the other hand, particles such as electrons are known to produce diffraction patterns in a grating, similar to those observed with light. In fact, electron microscopes work on the premise that electrons function as waves providing a resolution on the order of their wave length, 10−12 m or less; a resolution much better than that the 10−6 m, or so, of an optical microscope. In order to be able to express the corpuscular behavior of electromagnetic waves and the wave behavior of particles, the concept of wave–particle duality was devised.

The concept of a wave exhibiting particle behavior is better explained by the expanded definition of energy, *E*, to include the rest-mass energy of **Eq. (1.1), **

**(1.4) **

where *T *refers to the kinetic energy. This expression accommodates a particle with zero mass. A zero-mass particle can be used to express the corpuscular properties of a wave. This particle

is called a photon, and it has only a kinetic energy equal, according to **Eq. (1.2), to: **

**(1.5) **

While this takes care of the energy of the photon, we must also give that photon a momentum, *p*, so that it can possess all the attributes of a particle. Since this photon particle

has no mass, we cannot use the classical definition of moment as mass X velocity. We can rely instead on the relativistic definition of momentum, discussecd in **Section 2.3, **

**(1.6) **

For a photon:

**(1.7) **

**Equations (1.5) and (1.7) give an electromagnetic wave kinetic energy and momentum values, which in turn enable us to use the laws of conservation of energy and momentum of particles. Note that the momentum is a vector with a direction corresponding to the direction of wave propagation. **

In order for a particle to behave like a wave, it needs to have a frequency, *v*, and a wavelength, λ, so that νλ = *v*, where *v *is the particle’s velocity. One must also accommodate the fact that while a wave tends to extend across the entire space, as in the case of a sine wave, a particle is concentrated within a small region in space. This confinement of space can be accommodated using the fact that waves interfere constructively and destructively, and that interference can be formed such that the waves combine into a packet (or a beat, as it is called in the case of sound waves), as shown in **Fig. 1.2; see also Problem 1.2 and the Wave Packet Explorer: http://phys.educ.ksu.edu/vqm/html/wpe.html on the Internet. We will demonstrate this by simply taking two sinusoidal waves, sin( k–Δk)x and sin(k + Δk)x, propagating in the x direction with wave numbers k – Δk and k + Δk, respectively. The combination of these two waves gives: **

The cosine term in the combined wave can be seen as a gradual modulator of the amplitude of the sine wave, which initially strengthens the combined wave, but tends to destroy it as the two combined waves become completely out of phase. The result is that the energy of the two waves is consolidated into a beat

within a distance of about Δ*x*. Note that the two combined waves will again become in phase, and the beat will periodically re-emerge. If a wide range of wave numbers is taken, the quality (concentration) of the beat is improved, and its length, Δ*x*, is reduced. In the limit, when a continuous distribution of waves of various values of *k*, spread over a range, Δ*k*, are combined, one obtains a wave packet similar to that shown in **Fig. 1.2, and the combined waves will never become in phase again since they have many different values of k. That is, the wave packet will not be repeated and will be confined within a distance of Δx, so that ΔxΔk ~ 1. Now, we have a localized wave packet that resembles a particle in its confinement to a finite space. What remains is to relate the kinetic energy and momentum of the particle to its wave packet. Before we do this, it should be kept in mind that the above argument can be repeated for a wave propagating in time (using waves of the form: sin ωt), resulting in the confinement of the wave packet within a time interval, ΔtΔω ~ 1. **

We can link the mass and velocity of a particle to the wavelength, λ, and the corresponding wave number, *k*, of the associated wave, using de Broglie’s relationship (L. de Broglie, 1924) of duality between particle and wave:

where *p *is the momentum of the particle. Note that this relationship is identical to that of **Eq. (1.2) for photons, though the latter was derived for photons (zero mass), and that Eq. (1.9) cannot be derived from Eq. (1.6) due to the non-zero particle mass, m0. As such Eq. (1.9) is another fundamental relationship. Similarly, the energy of the particle, E, can be related to the frequency of its associated wave using Eq. (1.2): **

**(1.10) **

There is a problem with using a single wave number, and frequency, as **Eqs (1.9) and (1.10) indicate, while using a wave packet to resemble a particle. A wave packet, as indicated earlier, is the result of the combination of many waves of various wave numbers within Δ k around k; while the above-mentioned equations designate one value of k; a particle can have only one momentum, p, at a given point in space. This dilemma is resolved by the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which states that a particle’s momentum is uncertain until it is measured. This is a logical statement, as it says one cannot know the value of the momentum or any other physical property until one measures it. The uncertainty principle has profound implications. It enables a wave packet to possess the many values of k needed for its formation, while only a single value of k, hence a single value for p, can be measured. This is because the measurement process is an intrusive process that requires some perturbation of the physical property of the particle in order to measure its attributes. For instance, in order to measure the position of a particle such as an electron, one can send a high-energy photon (say an X-ray) and observe its reflection. This X-ray wave will, however, give energy to the electron and in effect change its momentum. On the other hand, if we send a low-energy photon (e.g. a light wave) to precisely measure the momentum, one would get a fuzzy picture of the particle and its position becomes more uncertain. Therefore, in order to know exactly the value of Δx, one cannot determine the value of Δk (the range of the wave numbers forming the wave packet), or equivalently the particle’s momentum. The opposite is also true, to measure k, the value of Δx will be uncertain. This effect is already demonstrated by the fact that ΔxΔk . The uncertainty (or indeterminacy) principle (W. Heisenberg, 1927) states that: **

**(1.11) **

. Note that the above inequality confines the precision with which a quantity can be measured along with its complementary variable**⁴. Another form of this principle is: **

**(1.12) **

makes this principle practically irrelevant when dealing with large objects.

Given the above discussion one may ask the questions: Is a diffracted neutron a wave? Is a scattered photon imparting kinetic energy to an electron a particle? The concept of wave-particle duality answers these questions by the fact that all radiation entities (particles or photons) evince at times wave-like characteristics and at other times corpuscular behavior. In other words, these entities appear to us, the observers, as particles in some interactions and as waves in others. The wave nature of particles is used to explain the interaction probabilities as discussed in **Chapter 3. The term particle is, therefore, often used metaphorically to refer to all subatomic entities. **

There are four basic natural forces: (1) the force of gravity, (2) electromagnetic forces (3) the strong nuclear force, and (4) the weak nuclear force. Since the particles we deal with here are minute, the effect of gravity is negligible, hence the use of the term corpuscular properties. The other forces create potential fields that can affect approaching nuclear particles.

A natural potential field is seen as an interaction between two entities mediated by some exchange particle. For the field of gravity, the exchange particle is thought to be yet undetectable virtual particle with zero mass called the graviton

. Photons are the particles mediating the electromagnetic field. The strong nuclear forces are mediated by unstable nuclear particles called pions (a type of mesons; see Glossary), with an energy of 135 MeV, while intermediate vector bosons of energy of about 80 GeV mediate the weak nuclear forces. The intermediate vector

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