In a matter-antimatter reaction, is all the material converted into energy? If not, what is the efficiency of the reaction?
Asked by: Heather Patterson
Yes, the reaction between matter and its corresponding anti-matter particles is 100% efficient,
converting all of the mass into energy. If you want to find the amount of energy produced
in any such reaction, just multiply the total mass (particles plus their anti-particles) in
kilograms by the speed of light squared (9 x 1016) and you will get the result in joules.
Because this reaction is 100% efficient, cosmologists believe that were it not for an
asymmetry that favors matter over antimatter, the Big Bang may have annihilated ALL matter
and produced a Universe filled with only energy.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor
When it comes to Anti-matter, the annihilation effect converts the particle or particles that are
opposite the anti-particle. An example is the electron and positron. They annihilate each other
completely and the resultant energy is high end gamma ray radiation. If, on the other hand, there
is a hydrogen ion and a positron, the end result is a proton (maybe a neutron, depending on the
isotope) and gamma radiation. With anti-MATTER it depends on the particles used. Interesting
enough, If you reverse the process, by starting with the high end gamma ray radiation, you can
create electron/positron pairs. This is much much harder to do. To figure out the output (or
input) energy, use Einstein's energy equation: E=mc2.
Answered by: R Smiley
'One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.'