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Questionasker

Can an alternative form of electricity be possible?

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Hi, I know the very basics of quantum physics and yet I need to ask this silly quesiton.

Can there be an alternative form of electricity than revolves around the movement of positrons? Have I just asked the most stupid question in this forum? If it's possible, will anything be different with the electricity? If it's not possible then is it still possible for electricity to exist without electrons?

Keep in mind that I can't stress how little I know of quantum physics, I only understand the very, very basic ideas and equations from it.

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Posted (edited)

Positrons are very real, but difficult to contain, because they will annihilate when they come in contact with electrons, due to them being antimatter.

That is one reason that they're useless as a source of electricity. Another reason is that we don't have enough antimatter to make an electrical system of it.

Edited by QuantumT

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In a world consisting of anti-matter, moving positrons would be electricity.

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1 hour ago, Questionasker said:

Can there be an alternative form of electricity than revolves around the movement of positrons?

QuantumT has pointed out the main problems with using positrons. However, maybe worth noting that in semiconductors (so most of the components in your phone/computer) the current is carried by both electrons and “holes”, which are positive charge carriers created by an absence of electrons. 

 

Also, although nerves are often described as carrying electrical pulses, this is not like electricity running through wires. It is actually a cascade of chemical reactions that pump calcium ions through membranes.

And in electrolysis, the current though the electrolyte consists of differnt types of ions.

1 hour ago, Questionasker said:

Have I just asked the most stupid question in this forum?

Not by a long way!

As well as the examples above, one could speculate about a technology that used protons instead of electrons (they wouldn't flow through a metal wire, but you might be able to come up with some other way of using them). Or even muons; they decay after about 2 microseconds, but that might be long enough to do something with them.

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11 hours ago, Strange said:

Also, although nerves are often described as carrying electrical pulses, this is not like electricity running through wires. It is actually a cascade of chemical reactions that pump calcium ions through membranes.

And even in conventional electricity, the net flow of electrons is slow. The current is caused by the massive numbers of charge carriers, and the fact that the interaction proceeds at the speed of light in the material. But the electrons themselves have a drft velocity far, far slower. 

To have electricity you need free charge carriers, and that's typically the electrons. You could do this with other charged particles, but you'd have to create a condition where they are the free charge carriers, and that just doesn't happen except in very specific circumstances. The fact that electrons are stable and much less massive than protons, and don't bind to other particles except via the electromagnetic interaction (unlike protons binding to neutrons and other protons) is the reason they are free to create currents in conductors.

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