In my last question, Can stimulated emission happen in nuclear energy states?, anna v mentioned this in his/her answer:

This involves nuclear transitions, but the output is electromagnetic.

I thought about this, and it's just making me more perplexed. It's perfectly understandable that a change in electron states can generate electromagnetic waves, as there's an electric field changes involved there, but how can a nuclear transition energy difference, which is due to strong nuclear forces, generate an electromagnetic wave? Shouldn't it generate a "strong nuclear wave", similar to how gravitational waves are generated?


Nuclei have protons and protons have electric charge. Nuclear transitions involve spatial changes in the distribution of those protons and their electric charge. Those changes then produce electromagnetic radiation. This is exactly the same mechanism as in electronic transitions.

The fact that the dynamics is driven by the strong nuclear force on top of the electromagnetic interaction doesn't change any of the above. What you don't get is "strong nuclear waves" radiating from the nucleus, because the strong interaction is short-ranged.


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