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This is a follow-up to a question I asked a couple of months ago.

I'm familiar with the concept that a proton can be transformed into a neutron if it is supplied with 1.29 MeV of energy. I've done extensive research, but I can't seem to find the answers to some burning questions I had. I hope someone can help answer these:

  1. Does this idea of proton-to-neutron only apply to protons in the nucleus, free protons, or both?
  2. If this is the case, would accelerating a proton fast enough (causing a gain 1.29 MeV of energy) cause it to convert into a neutron? If so, has this been done before? And was it done with free protons or protons in the nucleus?
  3. I'm familiar with the Cowan-Reines experiment and how antineutrinos were used to convert protons to neutrons. Are we limited only to antineutrinos to cause such a transformation? Or could any elementary particle (say, an electron) cause a proton to convert into a neutron, given that it was supplied enough energy?

Note: This question excludes natural decay processes, such as electron capture.

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  • $\begingroup$ Conservation of charge is still a thing, so you will need a negatively charged particle in the interaction. $\endgroup$ – Triatticus Apr 24 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding #2, kinetic energy isn't an absolute, it is always relative to some reference frame. Talking about the KE of some isolated proton without specifying a frame is meaningless. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Apr 25 at 9:33
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When you get outside the nucleus and talk of particle interactions, the framework is particle physics interactions, and the model is Quantum Field Theory. QFT describes simply the scattering and decay interactions of particles.

feyndiag

These diagrams are iconal representation of the first order terms in a perturbations series, showing two body scatterings , and to read them, one has to decide which are the incoming and which the outgoing particles. The rule is if the arrow points against the direction of time, the antiparticle is implied. From bottom to top for the first diagram (from left to right for the second) : taking the incoming particles as the scattering of the proton and an antineutrino electron , quantum numbers allow a neutron to be produced together with an e+.

1.Does this idea of proton-to-neutron only apply to protons in the nucleus, free protons, or both?

To both.

If this is the case, would accelerating a proton fast enough (causing a gain 1.29 MeV of energy) cause it to convert into a proton?

Particles obey special relativity., and Feynman diagrams use the fourvectors of the particles. (The mass in "E=mc^2" has nothing to do with the invariant mass that characterizes all particles, in all inertial frames. It is not used in studying data of particle physics.) Interactions are described in the center of mass system of the particles, the numbers can be transformed to any inertial frame afterwards, with Lorenz transformations.

I'm familiar with the Cowan-Reines experiment and how antineutrinos were used to convert protons to neutrons. Are we limited only to antineutrinos to cause such a transformation? Or could any elementary particle (say, an electron) cause a proton to convert into a neutron, given that it was supplied enough energy?

Any elementary particle can end up into producing a neutron when scattering off a proton, in a complex diagram, BUT quantum number conservation and charge conservation have to hold. This means to get a positron to conserve charge from the proton, lepton number conservation needs an electron antineutrino; so it will always be there in the first order diagrams.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe a simpler answer for 2 is that the process can’t simultaneously conserve energy and momentum. $\endgroup$ – ragnar Apr 25 at 5:19
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Does this idea of proton-to-neutron only apply to protons in the nucleus, free protons, or both?

Yes it is for both nuclear protons and free protons.

If this is the case, would accelerating a proton fast enough (causing a gain 1.29 MeV of energy) cause it to convert into a neutron? If so, has this been done before? And was it done with free protons or protons in the nucleus?

It can be done by the absorption of a W- boson because only weak interactions are flavor changing.

It cant be done by the absorption of a pion because in strong interactions -topness and downness is conserved .

I'm familiar with the Cowan-Reines experiment and how antineutrinos were used to convert protons to neutrons. Are we limited only to antineutrinos to cause such a transformation? Or could any elementary particle (say, an electron) cause a proton to convert into a neutron, given that it was supplied enough energy?

Yes it can be done with antineutrinos and the emmited particle will be the type of neutrino . For example : If a muon antineutrino is absorbed by the proton , an antimuon will be created , if a tau antineutrino is absorbed by the proton , an antitau will be created to conserve lepton number.

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