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Thread: Neutron charge

  1. #1
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    Neutron charge

    If the neutron had a small charge, on the order of 10^-38 or 10^-58 coulombs, would that charge be able to be measured with current technology.
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  2. #2
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    I don't know of any reason to expect that they have a tiny charge. They are made of three quarks that each have a charge, but collectively add up to zero, so if you get close to one, you can detect some differential electric field.
    On the question of detectability, probably not, since the charge would be neutralized by a few extra electrons per gram of material for 10^-38, and even less for tinier charges. Is there some reason that you are asking about this?
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    I suspect that the large amount of work done on Isotopic shift (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopic_shift) rules that out to a high degree of precision. What degree I can't say off the top of my head, but you might be able to work it out from a literature survey.

    You'd also have some issues with charge conservation unless you adjusted the base charges of leptons and quarks to compensate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    I don't know of any reason to expect that they have a tiny charge. They are made of three quarks that each have a charge, but collectively add up to zero, so if you get close to one, you can detect some differential electric field.
    On the question of detectability, probably not, since the charge would be neutralized by a few extra electrons per gram of material for 10^-38, and even less for tinier charges. Is there some reason that you are asking about this?
    I'm just speculating.
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  5. #5
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    Wikipedia says that the experimental constraint on the charge of the neutron is on the order of 10-41 C. So it's possible in principle that the neutron could have an extremely small charge. But it seems like it might be hard to explain why charge comes in quantized amounts that are almost, but not exactly, equal.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    If the neutron had a small charge, on the order of 10^-38 or 10^-58 coulombs, would that charge be able to be measured with current technology.
    "on the order of"? One of those is 100 quintillion times larger than the other.

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