New PRL on positronium

Last updated May 29, 2017 by Andrew Brown

A striking similarity between positronium and electron scattering from atoms and molecules observed experimentally [S. J. Brawley et al., Science 330, 789 (2010)] has been explained. Positronium (Ps) is a hydrogen-like neutral “atom” consisting of an electron and positron. A paper by Ilya Fabrikant (University of Nebraska) and Gleb Gribakin (CTAMOP) [Phys. Rev. Lett 112, 243201 (2014)] shows that when Ps scatters from noble-gas atoms at intermediate velocities (v=0.5-2 atomic units), the electron within Ps gives a dominant contribution to the Ps-atom interaction. The main reason behind this phenomenon is the distinct exchange interaction which affects the electron-atom scattering but is absent in the positron-atom system. Calculations performed in the Impulse Approximation support this understanding and show good agreement with experiment.


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