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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Laser nonenhancement of beta decay Blevis, Ira


The possibility of influencing nuclear beta decay with high intensity, low frequency electromagnetic radiation (such as from a laser) is examined. The motion of an electron in an e.m. field is found first according to classical mechanics and then according to quantum mechanics. The latter discussion yields the Volkov solution for the electron wave function which is then used in a beta decay calculation patterned after Becker et al. In this calculation the Volkov solution is substituted for the electron plane wave factor in the transition amplitude in the Fermi theory of beta decay. The ratio of total decay rates R= W with laser/W no laser is numerically evaluated with a computer for the case of ³H (and some others) where the emphasis is on only allowed nuclear transitions and on phase space considerations. No change in rate to 1% accuracy is found, for the range of the dimensionless field strength intensity parameter V =ea/m ε [. 3 ,7 ], or the photon energy range ш e [2,8]eV. This range of v corresponds to the range in laser intensity of I ε [3x10¹⁷|,2x10²⁰]W/cm². The endpoints of the neutrino spectrum are found to be unmodified by the laser (both analytically and numerically). Thus this calculation suggests that the basic beta decay process is not affected by laser irradiation.

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