Large Hadron Collider helped discover new strange particles

(ORDO NEWS) — As news began to spread that CERN was launching the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for the first time in three years, scientists announced that they had discovered three new “exotic” particles.

According to the results presented at the CERN workshop, a new type of “pentaquark” and the world’s first pair of “tetraquarks” were discovered, with one of the pairs representing a completely new type of tetraquark.

“The more experiments we do, the more kinds of exotic hadrons we find,” said Nils Tuning, a physicist and coordinator of experiments at the LHC’s smallest of the four main detectors (LHCb), in a CERN press release.

“We are facing a period of discovery similar to the 1950s, when physicists began to discover the “particle zoo”, which eventually led to the quark model of ordinary hadrons in the 1960s. We are creating ‘Particle Zoo 2.0′”.

Subatomic space

Quarks are subatomic elementary particles that are considered the fundamental building blocks of matter. They are usually seen in combinations of two or three quarks, called hadrons, and are less common in groups of four and five quarks (tetraquarks and pentaquarks).

What makes these new quarks special is their “charm”. Literally.

Large Hadron Collider helped discover new strange particles 2
The new pentaquark, shown here as a pair of standard hadrons loosely bound into a molecular-like structure, consists of a charmed quark and a charmed antiquark, as well as up, down, and strange quarks

These “exotic” quarks usually consist of a so-called charmed quark (c-quark) and a charmed antiquark. The remaining quarks are either up (u-quark), down (d-quark), or strange/antiquarks (s-quarks).

Large Hadron Collider helped discover new strange particles 3

However, the newly discovered pentaquark is made up of a charmed quark, a charmed antiquark, an up and down quark, and a strange quark.

According to CERN, this is the first time a strange quark has been detected in a pentaquark. As for the tetraquark, it is unique in that it consists of a charmed quark, a strange antiquark, up and down antiquarks, and has a double electric charge.

History of success

The LHC was used to pioneer the 2012 discovery of the so-called “God Particle” or the Higgs boson , a particle whose existence, until then, had only been predicted by the Standard Model of physics.

The discovery earned theoretical physicists François Engler and Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize in Physics for predicting its existence back in 1964.

Now, the scientists involved in the LHCb experiment continue to contribute to the LHC’s already impressive legacy.


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