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Published November 15, 1958 | public
Journal Article Open

Wide-angle pair production and quantum electrodynamics at small distances


Wide-angle photoproduction of high-energy electron-positron pairs in hydrogen is proposed and analyzed as a test of quantum electrodynamics at distances ≤10^-13 cm. The effect of proton structure can be removed in terms of the two form factors measured in the elastic electron-proton scattering process. Cross sections are presented for two classes of pair production experiments: (1) those detecting one of the final particles, and (2) coincidence experiments. In addition to kinematic, anomalous moment, and nucleon form-factor corrections to the Bethe-Heitler formula, dynamical corrections to the proton current and radiative corrections are calculated. The final theoretical formula is believed to be accurate to 2%. A simple cutoff model suggests that a 5% accuracy in an experiment of type (1) tests the electron propagator at distances ∼0.7×10^-13 cm, while a 10% accuracy in a coincidence arrangement of type (2) probes the electron propagator at ∼0.3×10^-13 cm.

Additional Information

©1958 The American Physical Society. Received 7 July 1958. This research was supported in part by the United States Air Force through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. A preliminary account was presented at the Stanford Meeting of the American Physical Society, December, 1957 [Bjorken, Drell, and Frautschi, Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. Ser. II, 2, 392 (1957)]. [S.C.F. was a] [h]older of a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. [The article was] [p]art of a thesis (by S.C.F.) submitted in 1958 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a Ph.D. degree to the Department of Physics, Stanford University, California. Further calculations will be found in this thesis.


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