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1. This question is about nuclear reactions.

(a) Complete the table below, by placing a tick ( ) in the relevant columns, to show how an
increase in each of the following properties affects the rate of decay of a sample of
radioactive material.

Effect on rate of decay


Property
increase decrease stays the same
temperature of sample
pressure on sample
amount of sample
(2)

226
Radium-226 ( 88 Ra) undergoes natural radioactive decay to disintegrate spontaneously with the
emission of an alpha particle (α-particle) to form radon (Rn). The decay constant for this
–4 –1
reaction is 4.30 × 10 yr . The masses of the particles involved in the reaction are

radium: 226.0254 u
radon: 222.0176 u
α-particle: 4.0026 u

–4 –1
(b) (i) Explain what is meant by the statement that the decay constant is 4.30 × 10 yr .

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(2)

(ii) Calculate the energy released in the reaction.

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(c) The radium nucleus was stationary before the reaction.

(i) Explain, in terms of the momentum of the particles, why the radon nucleus and the
α-particle move off in opposite directions after the reaction.

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(ii) The speed of the radon nucleus after the reaction is vR and that of the α-particle is
v
v . Determine the ratio v R .
α

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(3)

A college has been using a sample of radium-226 as an α-particle source for 30 years. Initially,
the mass of radium was 15.0 μg.

(d) Determine

(i) the initial number of atoms of radium-226 in the sample;

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(ii) the number of atoms of radium-226 in the sample after 30 years;

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(iii) the average activity of the sample during the 30 year period.

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(e) The α-particle is composed of protons and neutrons. Describe, by reference to the
structure of the proton and the neutron, why they are not classed as fundamental particles.

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(3)

Another type of nuclear reaction is a fusion reaction. This reaction is the main source of the
Sun’s radiant energy.

(f) (i) State what is meant by a fusion reaction.

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(3)

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(ii) Explain why the temperature and pressure of the gases in the Sun’s core must both
be very high for it to produce its radiant energy.

High temperature: ............................................................................................

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High pressure: ............................................................................................

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(Total 30 marks)

2. This question is about particle physics.

(a) Possible particle reactions are given below. They cannot take place because they violate
one or more conservation laws. For each reaction identify one conservation law that is
violated.
– –
(i) μ ®e +γ

Conservation law: .....................................................


(1)

0
(ii) p+n®p+π

Conservation law: .....................................................


(1)

+ –
(iii) p®π +π

Conservation law: .....................................................


(1)

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(b) State the name of the exchange particle(s) involved in the strong interaction.

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(1)
(Total 4 marks)

3. This question is about deducing the quark structure of a nuclear particle.


When a K meson collides with a proton, the following reaction can take place.

– 0 +
K +p®K +K +X

X is a particle whose quark structure is to be determined.

The quark structure of mesons is given below.

particle quark structure


K
– su

K
+ us

K
0 ds


(a) State and explain whether the original K particle is a hadron, a lepton or an exchange
particle.

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(b) State the quark structure of the proton.

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(c) The quark structure of particle X is sss. Show that the reaction is consistent with the
theory that hadrons are composed of quarks.

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(2)
(Total 6 marks)

4. This question is about particle physics.

A neutron can decay into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino according to the reaction

n ® p + e + ve .

(a) Deduce the value of the electric charge of the antineutrino.

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(1)

(b) State the name of the fundamental interaction (force) that is responsible for this decay.
(1)

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(c) State how an antineutrino differs from a neutrino.

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(1)
(Total 3 marks)

5. This question is about fundamental particles and conservation laws.


Nucleons are considered to be made of quarks.

(a) State the name of

(i) the force (interaction) between quarks;

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(1)

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(ii) the particle that gives rise to the force between quarks.

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(1)

+
(b) Outline in terms of conservations laws, why the interaction v + p = n + e is observed but
+
the interaction v + p = n + e has never been observed. (You may assume that mass-
energy and momentum are conserved in both interactions.)
(3)
(Total 5 marks)

6. This question is about the decay of a neutron.



The diagram below illustrates a neutron decaying into a proton by emitting a b -particle.

p ro to n p a rtic le X
-p a rtic le

p a rtic le Y

n e u tro n

State the name of

(a) the force involved in this decay;

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(1)

(b) the particle X;

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(1)

(c) the exchange particle Y involved in the decay.

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(1)
(Total 3 marks)

7. This question is about radioactive decay.

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The decay process of a neutron is given by the following equation.

n ® p  e  ve

(a) Complete the table below.

– ve
particle n p e

baryon number

lepton number

(2)

(b) Baryon number and lepton number are both conserved in this decay process. State one
other property that is conserved.

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(1)
(Total 3 marks)

8. This question is about fundamental particles.

Particle production and annihilation are subject to conservation laws. Two of these laws are
conservation of mass-energy and conservation of momentum.

(a) State the names of three other conservation laws.

1. .........................................................................................................................

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(b) Free neutrons are unstable. A neutron may decay to become a proton with the emission of
an electron. A student represents the decay by the following equation.

1 1
0 n® 1 p  10e

(i) State, by reference to conservation laws, why the student’s equation is not correct.

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(1)

(ii) Write down the correct decay equation.

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(Total 5 marks)

9. This question is about fundamental interactions.



(a) The Feynman diagram below represents a b decay via the weak interaction process.

The exchange particle in this weak interaction is a virtual particle.

(i) State what is meant by a virtual particle.

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(1)

(ii) Determine whether the virtual particle in the process represented by the Feynman
+ – 0
diagram is a W , a W or a Z boson.

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± 0 –2
(b) The order of magnitude of the mass of the W and Z bosons is 100 GeV c . Estimate the
range of the weak interaction.

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(3)
(Total 6 marks)

10. This question is about a proton.

The proton is made out of three quarks.

(a) Explain why the three quarks in the proton do not violate the Pauli exclusion principle.

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. Explain how it is possible for the proton to also have spin 12 .
(b) Quarks have spin 2

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(2)
(Total 4 marks)

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11. This question is about fundamental interactions.


(a) The Feynman diagram below represents a b decay via the weak interaction process.

The exchange particle in this weak interaction is a virtual particle.

(i) State what is meant by a virtual particle.

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(1)

(ii) Detemine whether the virtual particle in the process represented by the Feynman
+ – 0
diagram is a W , a W or a Z boson.

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(2)

± 0 –2
(b) The order of magnitude of the mass of the W and Z bosons is 100 GeV c . Estimate the
range of the weak interaction.

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(3)
(Total 6 marks)

12. This question is about a proton.

The proton particle is made out of three quarks.

(a) Explain why the three quarks in the proton do not violate the Pauli exclusion principle.

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1
. Explain how it is possible for the proton to also have spin 12 .
(b) Quarks have spin 2

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(2)
(Total 4 marks)

13. This question is about the synchrotron and particle production.

(a) In a synchrotron ring, a beam of protons and another beam of antiprotons move in
opposite directions through regions of electric and magnetic fields as they circle the ring.

Describe the purpose of the

(i) electric fields.

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(ii) magnetic fields.

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(1)

(b) Explain why the magnitudes of the magnetic fields in a synchrotron must be increased as
the energy of the accelerated particles increases.

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(c) The neutral lambda baryon  and its antiparticle may be produced in proton-antiproton
collisions according to the following reaction.

p  p®  

The minimum energy required to produce the  and the  is 2240 MeV. The rest mass
–2
of the proton is 938 MeV c .

Calculate the minimum kinetic energy, EK, of the antiproton, in order to produce the 
and  particles when

(i) the proton and the antiproton are each accelerated to a kinetic energy EK;

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(1)

(ii) the antiproton is accelerated to a kinetic energy EK and collides with a stationary
proton.

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(3)

(d) By reference to your answers to (c), state an advantage of collisions between protons and
antiprotons in a synchrotron compared with collisions between stationary protons and
moving antiprotons.

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(1)
(Total 10 marks)

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14. (a) Outline

(i) what is meant by a deep inelastic scattering experiment.

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(ii) how deep inelastic scattering experiments give evidence in support of the existence
of quarks and gluons.

quarks: .......................................................................................................

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gluons: .......................................................................................................

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(b) Deep inelastic scattering experiments indicate that the quarks inside hadrons behave as
free particles. Suggest a reason for this.

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(c) State two fundamental differences between the standard model for quarks and leptons and
the theory of strings.

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(2)
(Total 10 marks)

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