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They annihilate to produce photons. The general idea is that quantum mechanically speaking, anti-matter can be thought of holes in a sea of negative energy.

The idea goes like this. Normal electrons are particles that occupy a positive energy regime of unfilled states (the positive continuum). In the negative energy continuum, all energy states are filled. A high energy photon can come along and knock an electron out of this negative region, and promote it to the positive energy continuum, leaving behind a "hole". This hole will have an effective positive charge,a nd can be thought of as a particle in itself, i.e. the positron. if you apply and electric field, one would see that all electrons move in teh same direction (say to teh right), making it seem that the hole moves to the left, which is teh direction a positively charged particle would move in response to that same field.



So when an electron and a positron come together again, the electron merely fills the hole in the negative energy continuum, and the excess energy is given out again in high energy photons. Thus the electron and positron disappear (or annihilate) and are replaced by photons.

Why we dont experience this negative energy continuum is another matter, and one I dont know the answer to, but it was Diracs vision of the model, and it works well to illustrate the concept. Indeed, the concept is used and works well for semiconductor physics, where both electrons and electron holes contribute to conduction behaviour in these materials (though the holes in this case are not true positrons, but are actually absences of electrons from energy states in the band structures of these materials)

Jonny




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Faster than the speed of light 195 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 06-Apr-11 15:45
Re: Faster than the speed of light 242 Laird Scranton 15-Apr-11 03:10
Re: Faster than the speed of light 179 Karen H Taylor 15-Apr-11 11:18
Re: Faster than the speed of light 134 Laird Scranton 16-Apr-11 05:11
Re: Faster than the speed of light 185 Me 20-Apr-11 00:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 191 brucenyc1 18-Apr-11 20:50
Re: Faster than the speed of light 152 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 19-Apr-11 22:38
Re: Faster than the speed of light 166 Laird Scranton 20-Apr-11 05:14
Re: Faster than the speed of light 187 Me 20-Apr-11 00:23
Re: Faster than the speed of light 247 Aine 20-Apr-11 01:06
Re: Faster than the speed of light 211 JonnyMcA 20-Apr-11 18:55
Re: Faster than the speed of light 171 Aine 21-Apr-11 13:33
Re: Faster than the speed of light 191 JonnyMcA 21-Apr-11 22:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 147 Aine 25-Apr-11 13:37
Re: Faster than the speed of light 186 JonnyMcA 25-Apr-11 21:01
Re: Faster than the speed of light 258 Aine 27-Apr-11 16:03
Re: Faster than the speed of light 176 Me 05-May-11 00:48
Re: Faster than the speed of light 175 Laird Scranton 20-Apr-11 05:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 212 Me 20-Apr-11 19:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 199 Laird Scranton 21-Apr-11 15:58
Re: Faster than the speed of light 243 Absinthujone 27-Apr-11 15:21
Re: Faster than the speed of light 204 JonnyMcA 20-Apr-11 18:52
Re: Faster than the speed of light 183 Me 20-Apr-11 19:15
Re: Faster than the speed of light 187 NetWorkAngel 21-Apr-11 17:09
Re: Faster than the speed of light 253 Absinthujone 27-Apr-11 15:12
Re: Faster than the speed of light 150 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 30-Apr-11 09:10
Re: Faster than the speed of light 188 Me 05-May-11 00:41
Re: Faster than the speed of light 189 JonnyMcA 05-May-11 10:04
Re: Faster than the speed of light 166 Me 06-May-11 19:40


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