Positron facts for kids
Cloud chamber photograph by C. D. Anderson of the first positron ever identified. A 6 mm lead plate separates the chamber. The deflection and direction of the particle's ion trail indicate that the particle is a positron.
|Interactions||Gravity, Electromagnetic, Weak|
|Symbol||Error no symbol defined, Error no symbol defined|
|Theorized||Paul Dirac (1928)|
|Discovered||Carl D. Anderson (1932)|
|Electric charge||+1 e
|Spin||12 (same as electron)|
A positron is the antimatter version of an electron. It has the same mass and spin as an electron. However, it has a positive charge, whereas an electron has a negative charge. Like all antimatter, when it meets its so-called counterpartner, each are annihilated and turned into energy. The electron and positron disappear, and the total mass decreases. There is no name for this type of energy, as it is neither mechanical, radiation, chemical, electrical, nuclear, nor thermal. Although the energy does emit light photons when annihilated, it is converted from some form of energy that has not been named.
A positron also very rarely makes a structure called positronium. Positronium is like an atom in many ways, but is very unstable, and usually quickly annihilates.
Images for kids
Wilson cloud chambers used to be very important particle detectors in the early days of particle physics. They were used in the discovery of the positron, muon, and kaon.