In particle physics, a resonance is the peak located around a certain energy found in differential cross sections of scattering experiments. These peaks are associated with subatomic particles, which include a variety of bosons, quarks and hadrons (such as nucleons, delta baryons or upsilon mesons) and their excitations. In common usage, "resonance" only describes particles with very short lifetimes, mostly high-energy hadrons existing for or less.
where h is the Planck constant and .
Thus, the lifetime of a particle is the direct inverse of the particle's resonance width. For example, the charged pion has the second-longest lifetime of any meson, at . Therefore, its resonance width is very small, about or about 6.11 MHz. Pions are generally not considered as "resonances". The charged rho meson has a very short lifetime, about . Correspondingly, its resonance width is very large, at 149.1 MeV or about 36 ZHz. This amounts to nearly one-fifth of the particle's rest mass.