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Hypothetical subatomic particle whose velocity is always greater than that of light. Its existence appears consistent with the theory of relativity. Just as an ordinary particle such as an electron can exist only at speeds less than that of light, a tachyon can exist only at speeds greater than that of light. At such speeds, its mass would be real and positive. On losing energy, a tachyon accelerates; the faster it travels, the less energy it has. The existence of tachyons has not been established experimentally.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tachyon, visit Britannica.com.