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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 140 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 06-Apr-11 15:45
Re: Faster than the speed of light 198 Laird Scranton 15-Apr-11 03:10
Re: Faster than the speed of light 138 Karen H Taylor 15-Apr-11 11:18
Re: Faster than the speed of light 95 Laird Scranton 16-Apr-11 05:11
Re: Faster than the speed of light 129 Me 20-Apr-11 00:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 145 brucenyc1 18-Apr-11 20:50
Re: Faster than the speed of light 113 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 19-Apr-11 22:38
Re: Faster than the speed of light 108 Laird Scranton 20-Apr-11 05:14
Re: Faster than the speed of light 137 Me 20-Apr-11 00:23
Re: Faster than the speed of light 204 Aine 20-Apr-11 01:06
Re: Faster than the speed of light 169 JonnyMcA 20-Apr-11 18:55
Re: Faster than the speed of light 115 Aine 21-Apr-11 13:33
Re: Faster than the speed of light 151 JonnyMcA 21-Apr-11 22:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 102 Aine 25-Apr-11 13:37
Re: Faster than the speed of light 141 JonnyMcA 25-Apr-11 21:01
Re: Faster than the speed of light 214 Aine 27-Apr-11 16:03
Re: Faster than the speed of light 126 Me 05-May-11 00:48
Re: Faster than the speed of light 128 Laird Scranton 20-Apr-11 05:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 163 Me 20-Apr-11 19:19
Re: Faster than the speed of light 152 Laird Scranton 21-Apr-11 15:58
Re: Faster than the speed of light 187 Absinthujone 27-Apr-11 15:21
Re: Faster than the speed of light 157 JonnyMcA 20-Apr-11 18:52
Re: Faster than the speed of light 138 Me 20-Apr-11 19:15
Re: Faster than the speed of light 146 NetWorkAngel 21-Apr-11 17:09
Re: Faster than the speed of light 194 Absinthujone 27-Apr-11 15:12
Re: Faster than the speed of light 96 Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton 30-Apr-11 09:10
Re: Faster than the speed of light 138 Me 05-May-11 00:41
Re: Faster than the speed of light 139 JonnyMcA 05-May-11 10:04
Re: Faster than the speed of light 123 Me 06-May-11 19:40


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