Fifth force of nature: what is the X17 boson

(ORDO NEWS) — This mysterious boson testifies to the fundamental force of the Universe, still unknown to mankind.

Everything in our universe is held together or apart by four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and two nuclear forces. However, physicists are confident that they have discovered a fifth physical force arising from the helium atom.

The researchers claim that there is a strange force that has already been observed at least a couple of times. A few years ago, it was already detected in the process of decay of the beryllium isotope. Recently, the same team of scientists discovered a second example of a mysterious force coming into play. In their opinion, it is carried by particles under the conditional name X17.

By learning more about X17, we can better understand the forces that govern our universe. It will also help scientists solve the problem of dark matter once and for all.

Atilla Krasnahorkai and his colleagues at the Hungarian Institute for Nuclear Research suspected that something strange had happened in 2016. The team then studied how beryllium-8 emits light as it decays. If the radiation was intense enough, it turned into an electron and a positron. The two particles repelled each other at a predictable angle.

Based on the law of conservation of energy, with an increase in the energy of light emitting two particles, the angle between them should decrease. However, in reality, Atilla and his colleagues saw that the discrepancy at some points reaches 140 degrees! No violations were found in the experiment itself, and therefore physicists around the world soon became interested in the study.

Why is it so important? Scientists agree that a completely new fundamental boson, unknown to science, is responsible for this deviation. All four fundamental forces in the Universe have them – we have already discovered three of them, but the gravitational boson, the so-called. “graviton” is still elusive.

The new force also cannot be a manifestation of any of the already known ones – its boson has a unique mass (17 megaelectronvolts, which is about 33 times more than that of an electron) and a tiny lifespan.

Now the work was carried out with helium atoms. Similar to the previous discovery, the researchers found that pairs of electrons and positrons separate at an angle that doesn’t match currently accepted models. This time the number was closer to 115 degrees.

Working backwards, the team calculated that a helium nucleus could also create a short-lived boson with a mass of just under 17 megaelectronvolts. For simplicity, they named the particle X17. It is worth noting, however, that it still has a long way to go to the “official” particle, which we can add to any models and equations that describe the states of matter.


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