Chronology of Milestone Events in Particle Physics - BREIT 1936
Chronology of Milestone Events in Particle Physics

BREIT 1936

Breit, G.; Wigner, E.P.;
Capture of Slow Neutrons
Phys. Rev. 49 (1936) 519;

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Reprinted in
The Physical Review - the First Hundred Years, AIP Press (1995) 265.

Current theories of the large cross sections of slow neutrons are contradicted by frequent absence of strong scattering in good absorbers as well as the existence of resonance bands. These facts can be accounted for by supposing that in addition to the usual effect there exist transitions to virtual excitation states of the nucleus in which not only the captured neutron but, in addition to this, one of the particles of the original nucleus is in an excited state. Radiation damping due to the emission of -rays broadens the resonance and reduces scattering in comparison with absorption by a large factor. Interaction with the nucleus is most probable through the s part of the incident wave. The higher the resonance region, the smaller will be the absorption. For a resonance region at 50 volts the cross section at resonance may be as high as 10-19 cm2 and 0.5 x 10-20 cm2 at thermal energy. The estimated probability of having a nuclear level in the low energy region is sufficiently high to make the explanation reasonable. Temperature effects and absorption of filtered radiation point to the existence of bands which fit in with the present theory.

Related references
See also
H. A. Bethe, Phys. Rev. 47 (1935) 747;
J. Chadwick and M. Goldhaber, Proc. Roy. Soc. A151 (1935) 479;
F. Perrin and W. Elsasser, Compt. Ren. 200 (1935) 450;
G. Beck and Horsley, Phys. Rev. 47 (1935) 510;
P. B. Moon and R. R. Tillman, Nature 135 (1935) 904;
Bjerge and Westcott, Proc. Roy. Soc. A150 (1935) 709;
Artsimovich, Kurchatov, Myssovskii, and Palibin, Compt. Ren. 200 (1935) 2159;
Ridenour and Yost, Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 383;
L. Szilard, Nature 136 (1935) 950;
J. H. van Vleck, Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 367;
O. K. Rice, Phys. Rev. 33 (1929) 748;
O. K. Rice, Phys. Rev. 35 (1930) 1551;
O. K. Rice, Phys. Rev. 38 (1931) 1943;
M. Polanyi and E. P. Wigner, Z. Phys. 33 (1925) 429;
P. A. M. Dirac, Z. Phys. 44 (1927) 594;
V. F. Weisskopf and E. P. Wigner, Z. Phys. 63 (1930) 54;
G. Breit, Rev. of Mod. Phys. 5 (1933) 91;
G. Breit, Rev. of Mod. Phys. 5 (1933) 117;
G. Breit and I. S. Lowen, Phys. Rev. 46 (1934) 590;
G. Breit and F. L. Yost, Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 203;
J. R. Dunning et al., Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 265;
A. C. G. Mitchel and E. J. Murphy, Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 653;
F. Rasetti, E. Segrè et al., Phys. Rev. 49 (1936) 103;
P. B. Moon and R. R. Tillman, Proc. Roy. Soc. A153 (1936) 476;
O. R. Frisch, G. Hevesy, and H. A. C. McKay, Nature 137 (1936) 149;
L. R. Hafstad and M. A. Tuve, Phys. Rev. 48 (1935) 306;
P. Savel, Compt. Ren. 198 (1934) 1404;
E. Amaldi et al., Proc. Roy. Soc. A149 (1935) 522;

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Breit-Wigner form of the amplitude for resonance reactions.
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