Geant4: 2.5.  How to Specify Physics Processes

2.5.  How to Specify Physics Processes

2.5.1.  Physics Processes

Physics processes describe how particles interact with materials. Geant4 provides seven major categories of processes:

  • electromagnetic,
  • hadronic,
  • transportation,
  • decay,
  • optical,
  • photolepton_hadron, and
  • parameterisation.

All physics processes are derived from the G4VProcess base class. Its virtual methods

  • AtRestDoIt,
  • AlongStepDoIt, and
  • PostStepDoIt

and the corresponding methods

  • AtRestGetPhysicalInteractionLength,
  • AlongStepGetPhysicalInteractionLength, and
  • PostStepGetPhysicalInteractionLength

describe the behavior of a physics process when they are implemented in a derived class. The details of these methods are described in Section 5.2.

The following are specialized base classes to be used for simple processes:

Processes with only AtRestDoIt
Processes with only AlongStepDoIt
processes with only PostStepDoIt

Another 4 virtual classes, such as G4VContinuousDiscreteProcess, are provided for complex processes.

2.5.2.  Managing Processes

The G4ProcessManager class contains a list of processes that a particle can undertake. It has information on the order of invocation of the processes, as well as which kind of DoIt method is valid for each process in the list. A G4ProcessManager object corresponds to each particle and is attached to the G4ParticleDefiniton class.

In order to validate processes, they should be registered with the particle's G4ProcessManager. Process ordering information is included by using the AddProcess() and SetProcessOrdering() methods. For registration of simple processes, the AddAtRestProcess(), AddContinuousProcess() and AddDiscreteProcess() methods may be used.

G4ProcessManager is able to turn some processes on or off during a run by using the ActivateProcess() and InActivateProcess() methods. These methods are valid only after process registration is complete, so they must not be used in the PreInit phase.

The G4VUserPhysicsList class creates and attaches G4ProcessManager objects to all particle classes defined in the ConstructParticle() method.

2.5.3.  Specifying Physics Processes

G4VUserPhysicsList is the base class for a "mandatory user class" (see Section 2.1), in which all physics processes and all particles required in a simulation must be registered. The user must create a class derived from G4VUserPhysicsList and implement the pure virtual method ConstructProcess().

For example, if just the G4Geantino particle class is required, only the transportation process need be registered. The ConstructProcess() method would then be implemented as follows:

Example 2.16.  Register processes for a geantino.

  void MyPhysicsList::ConstructProcess()
    // Define transportation process

Here, the AddTransportation() method is provided in the G4VUserPhysicsList class to register the G4Transportation class with all particle classes. The G4Transportation class (and/or related classes) describes the particle motion in space and time. It is the mandatory process for tracking particles.

In the ConstructProcess() method, physics processes should be created and registered with each particle's instance of G4ProcessManager.

An example of process registration is given in the G4VUserPhysicsList::AddTransportation() method.

Registration in G4ProcessManager is a complex procedure for other processes and particles because the relations between processes are crucial for some processes. In order to ease registration procedures, G4PhysicsListHelper is provided. Users do not care about type of processes (ie. AtRest and/or Discrete and/or Continuous ) or ordering parameters.

An example of electromagnetic process registration for the gamma is shown below

Example 2.17.  Register processes for a gamma.

void MyPhysicsList::ConstructProcess()
  // Define transportation process
  // electromagnetic processes

void MyPhysicsList::ConstructEM()
  // Get pointer to G4PhysicsListHelper
  G4PhysicsListHelper* ph = G4PhysicsListHelper::GetPhysicsListHelper();

  //  Get pointer to gamma
  G4ParticleDefinition* particle = G4Gamma::GammaDefinition(); 

  // Construct and register processes for gamma 
  ph->RegisterProcess(new G4PhotoElectricEffect(), particle);
  ph->RegisterProcess(new G4ComptonScattering(), particle);
  ph->RegisterProcess(new G4GammaConversion(), particle);

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