My watch list  

Dalitz plot

The Dalitz plot is a scatterplot often used in particle physics to represent the relative frequency of various (kinematically distinct) manners in which the products of certain (otherwise similar) three-body decays may move apart.

The kinematics of a three-body decay can be completely described using two variables. In a traditional Dalitz plot, the axes of the plot are the squares of the invariant masses of two pairs of the decay products. (For example, if particle A decays to particles 1, 2, and 3, a Dalitz plot for this decay could plot m212 on the x-axis and m223 on the y-axis.) If the decay is a true three-body decay, with the particle decaying directly into the 3 decay products, then the distribution on the Dalitz plot can be uniform. However, three-body decays are often dominated by resonant processes, in which the particle decays into two decay products, with one of those decay products immediately decaying into two additional decay products. In this case, the Dalitz plot will show a non-uniform distribution, with a peak around the mass of the resonant decay. In this way, the Dalitz plot provides an excellent tool for studying the dynamics of three-body decays.

R.H. Dalitz introduced this technique in 1953 to study decays of K mesons (which at that time were still referred to as "tau-mesons"). It can be adapted to the analysis of four-body decays as well.


  • R.H. Dalitz, Phil. Mag.44, 1068 (1953).
  • E. Fabri, Nuovo Cimento11, 479 (1954).
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dalitz_plot". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE