I understand that particles such as tachyons don't really exist and are unlikely, but say for the sake of this question they do. Would these particles bond or interact with atoms? By interactions I mean bonding with atoms and dragging them backwards in time or simply destroying or kicking out electrons, protons or neutrons and/or replacing them.

I understand this might be an impossible question or a question better suited for the physics stackexchange, but I will try and ask here and see if I require migrating this question.


Short version : not bond, maybe interact.

Would these particles bond or interact with atoms?

Atoms must travel at a velocity lower than light speed in all reference frames.

Tachyons must travel at a velocity faster than light speed in all reference frames.

There is no way both types of particles could bond as they cannot ever co-move in any meaningful way. From the perspective of an e.g. electron (in the electron's rest frame) the tachyon would always be moving faster than the speed of light. How cold the electron be bonded to such a thing ?

By interactions I mean bonding with atoms and dragging them backwards in time or simply destroying or kicking out electrons, protons or neutrons and/or replacing them.

Ordinary (non-tachyon) matter has to stay at a velocity below the speed of light to be "seen" by other ordinary matter as behaving like ordinary matter. A tachyon can never do that, so it can never "look like" ordinary matter.

There are any number of other complications. For example, tachyon matter would have to have imaginary mass. That is to say it's mass is neither positive ("the usual thing") or negative (so called "exotic matter") but imaginary (a scalar multiplied by the square root of -1). There's no way to apply e.g. conservation of momentum if you try and replace an electron in an atom with a tachyon in an atom because all of a sudden you have an atom with an imaginary mass component which makes no sense at all.

The best you might manage...

Tachyons might (arguably) interact (in the sense of scattering) with ordinary matter due to e.g. electromagnetic effects. I'm not convinced this is viable, but can't locate a paper that discusses this from a source I could give any credence. This would mean that a tachyon and electron might deflect each other in some way. However this still causes problems with conservation of momentum because of the mixing of imaginary mass and normal mass (and hence imaginary valued momentum and normal valued momentum).

Such an interaction might (we're in deep handwavy territory here) create a hybrid state that isn't a pure tachyon or a pure-non-tachyon, but a thing with both an imaginary mass component and a real mass component. This doesn't really make any sense in physics. Energy and momentum for such a particle would have a complex value and it's really hard to see how such a particle's dynamics would operate, if at all.

Note that if you want to preserve the universe in a state remotely like the one we have, such an interaction would have to be extremely rare. It would essentially have to be undetectable because it's so rare an occurrence - that level of unlikeliness. If it happened with any frequency (even in e.g. high energy particle physics labs) it would be incredibly obvious because the effects would be quite obvious (i.e. "physics is completely broken" obvious).

  • $\begingroup$ What about black holes? Upon reaching the event horizon all bets are off, after passing the event horizon the particle needs more velocity to escape than the speed of light. This would also mean that the particles would need to move faster than the speed of light inside the black hole. Current theory and math would suggest that time and space switch places after the event horizon. But that would mean that a tachyon might be a point of swapped spacetime (or some kind of dark matter that has different physics allowing different interactions and volocities). How this interacts... no idea. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jul 18 '19 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan - the idea of time and space swapping is just an artifact of the Schwarzschild coordinate system which is often used to analyzed the black hole spacetime. This type of swap has no coordinate-invariant physical meaning, and you can analyze the same spacetime using a coordinate system like Kruskal-Szekeres coordinates where the same coordinate is used for time both inside and outside the horizon, and ordinary matter still moves slower than light inside the horizon. $\endgroup$ – Hypnosifl Jul 18 '19 at 23:27

Atoms interact with each other by means of electromagnetic forces. These propagate at the speed of light.

If we assume that tachyons could interact by means of electromagnetic forces, the interaction would be negligible: moving faster than light, there would be limited time to interact, and it would necessarily happen after the particle has been at that certain place.

  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be the most plausible interaction between atoms & tachyons. Any contact by any force mechanism would be so fleeting as to be almost non-existent. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 18 '19 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ The same could be said for photons. They go fast and the interaction is fleeting... except thats not exactly how they interact right? So one of the options is to see it as a type of light with a higher velocity (although the speed of light isnt about the actual speed of light). This would mean that the following interactions would be possible: ozradonc.wikidot.com/photon-interactions $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jul 18 '19 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan, photons ARE the carrier of electromagnetic interaction $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jul 18 '19 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ Yes I understand. But since all electromagnetic actions happen at the speed of light and arent neglegible there is no reason to assume that all tachyons would automatically have neglegible interactions. Otherwise you might also see it like a neutrino type. While most interactions wont be influential, there are events where they are through volume. Such as supernovae having enough neutrino's to cause you to die from the radiation. And because its a tachyon the world of the writer might have enough volume of tachyons to matter, otherwise the question wouldnt be asked. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jul 18 '19 at 12:29

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