Interactions of Cosmic Ray Nuclei

  • Reinhard Schlickeiser
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)


In Chap. 4 we have seen that the cross-sections for point-like electromagnetic interactions of cosmic ray electrons (synchrotron radiation, inverse Compton scattering, nonthermal bremsstrahlung) involve the Thomson cross-section being proportional to the square of the electron radius of the radiating particle. Therefore, if we consider here a heavy cosmic ray nucleus of charge Ze and mass M = Am p instead of a cosmic ray electron, the corresponding cross-sections involve the square of the nucleon radius R 0 - (Ze)2/(Am p c 2) = (Z 2/A)(m e/m p)r 0 yielding the Thomson cross-section for nuclei
$${\sigma _N} = \left( {{Z^4}/{A^2}} \right){\left( {{m_e}/{m_p}} \right)^2}{\sigma _T} = 1.97 \times {10^{ - 3}}\frac{{{Z^4}}} {{{A^2}}}c{m^2}$$
As a consequence the cross-sections of electromagnetic interactions of cosmic ray nucleus are much smaller than those of the cosmic ray electrons of the same Lorentz factor, and can be neglected in practically all astrophysical applications as production processes for cosmic photons and as energy loss processes for cosmic ray nuclei.


Pair Production Pion Production Lorentz Factor Energy Loss Rate Energy Loss Process 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhard Schlickeiser
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretische Physik IVRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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