Cerenkov Radiation

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Cerenkov Radiation

The radiation from a charged particle whose velocity is greater than the phase velocity that an electromagnetic wave would have if it were propagating in the medium. The particle will continue to lose energy by radiation until its velocity is less than this phase velocity.
This phenomenon is analogous to the generation of a shock wave when an object is traveling faster than the sound velocity of the medium. A bow wave is set up which radiates energy into the medium and slows down the object.
The angle that the cone of luminescence makes with the direction of motion of the particle can be used to measure the velocity of the particle.


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use