(a) Collision of laser radiation (green wavy lines) with the static Coulomb field of an atomic nucleus (blue). For very strong fields this collision can result in creation of an electron-positron pair.(b) An attempt to create muons directly by the similar mechanism, which is doomed, since the large mass of muons makes its probability virtually zero. Fig.(c) shows how the nuclear antenna works.
Firstly, the electron-positron pair is created, as in (a). Then the electron and positron propagate large distances, interacting with the laser field and absorbing very large amounts of energy along the way. The laser field bends their trajectories, which makes possible their collision. This in turn results in their annihilation and creation of a pair of muons.
The energy necessary for the muon production is accumulated initially in the electron-positron pair, which plays a role analogous to conventional aerials, where electrons travel large distances accumulating energy from radio waves.
Reported by: Michael Kuchiev in Physical Review Letters
Associated Physics News Update 837, item 1
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