Auto-ionization of positrons in heavy ion collisions

Berndt Müller, Johann Rafelski, Walter Greiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Autoionization of positrons occurs as a fundamentally new process of quantum electrodynamics, if empty 1 s- or 2 p1/2- etc. electronic shells obtain binding energies larger than 2 mec2. This effect should be experimentally observable in the scattering of very heavy ions (Z≧80) on each other since in such collisions superheavy electronic molecules are formed (superheavy quasi-molecules). The scattering mechanism and the distribution of autoionization positrons are discussed. The adiabaticity of the heavy ion collision is studied and the electron-positron pair production background to the ionization problem is estimated. Analytic solutions are obtained for 1/r-potentials for the case Zα≧1. The phase shifts of negative energy solutions in the case of cutoff Coulomb potentials reveal the accuracy of the autoionization formalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-211
Number of pages29
JournalZeitschrift für Physik
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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