Anticarbon-14 and Oxygen-18 Nuclei: What If They Collided? And Then, What About the Reverse-Reaction?

anticarbon-14 and oxygen-18Were nuclei of anticarbon-14 and oxygen-18 to collide (and their opposite charges’ attractions would help with this), what would happen? Well, if you break it down into particles, the anticarbon-14 nucleus is composed of six antiprotons and eight antineutrons, while the oxygen-18 contains eight protons and ten neutrons. That lets six proton-antiproton pairs annihilate each other, releasing a specific amount of energy, in the form of gamma rays, with that amount calculable using E=mc² and KE=½mv². The two excess protons from oxygen-18, however, should escape unscathed. In the meantime, eight neutron-antineutron pairs also are converted into a specific, calculable amount of gamma-ray energy, but with two neutrons surviving. Here’s the net reaction:


Two protons and two neutrons, of course, can exist as separate particles, two deuterons, a tritium nucleus and a neutron, or a single alpha particle.

Now, consider this:  any physical process is, at least hypothetically, reversible. Therefore, it should be possible to bombard a dense beam of alpha particles with many gamma rays, each of a specific and calculable energy, and, rarely, the reverse reaction would occur, and anticarbon-14 and oxygen-18 nuclei would appear. Oxygen-18 is stable, but rare, so detection of it would be evidence that the reverse-reaction had occurred. Anticarbon-14, however, can logically being expected to decay to antinitrogen-14 via the antimatter version of beta-negative decay, which, it being antimatter, will result in the emission of an easily-detectable positron. It likely will not have time to do this, though, for carbon-14’s half-life (and anticarbon-14’s as well, one assumes) exceeds 5,000 years. The more likely scenario for the anticarbon-14 nucleus is that it will create a large burst of gamma rays when it encounters, say, a non-antimatter carbon atom — and these gamma rays would come from a different position than the ones bombarding the alpha particles, and can therefore be distinguished from them by determination of their direction.

Such a reverse-reaction would be quite rare, for it involves a decrease in entropy, violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics. However, the Second Law is a statistical law, not an absolute one, so it simply describes what happens most of the time, allowing for rare and unusual aberrations, especially on the scale of things which are extremely small. So, do this about a trillion times (or much more, but still a finite number of trials) and you’ll eventually observe evidence of the production of the first known anticarbon nucleus.

Also, before anyone points this out, I am well aware that this is highly speculative. I do make this claim, though:  it can be tested. Perhaps someone will read this, and decide to do exactly that. I’d test it myself, but I lack the equipment to do so.

About RobertLovesPi

I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things, the majority of which are geometrical. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.
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One Response to Anticarbon-14 and Oxygen-18 Nuclei: What If They Collided? And Then, What About the Reverse-Reaction?

  1. teachezwell says:

    I don’t think I would want to be near when this is tested. I have a physicist friend who works at Fermi. Maybe he’d give it a shot.


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