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Journal Article

Transmutation of protons in a strong electromagnetic field

MPS-Authors
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Wistisen,  T. N.
Division Prof. Dr. Christoph H. Keitel, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Keitel,  C. H.
Division Prof. Dr. Christoph H. Keitel, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Di Piazza,  A.
Division Prof. Dr. Christoph H. Keitel, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

Fulltext (public)

2011.08031.pdf
(Preprint), 618KB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

Wistisen, T. N., Keitel, C. H., & Di Piazza, A. (2021). Transmutation of protons in a strong electromagnetic field. New Journal of Physics, 23: 065007. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/abf705.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-C01A-2
Abstract
The process of turning a proton into a neutron, positron and electron-neutrino in a strong plane-wave electromagnetic field, is studied. This process is forbidden in vacuum and is seen to feature an exponential suppression factor which is non-perturbative in the field amplitude. The suppression is alleviated when the proton experiences a field strength of about 13 times the Schwinger critical field in its rest frame. Around this threshold the lifetime of the proton, in its rest frame, is comparable to the usual neutron decay lifetime. As the field strength is increased, the proton lifetime becomes increasingly short. We investigate possible scenarios where this process may be observed in the laboratory using an ultra-intense laser and a high-energy proton beam with the conclusion, however, that it would be very challenging to observe this effect in the near future.