Scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva have discovered three particles which have never been seen before.
The European nuclear research center CERN, which built the LHC, recently announced the discovery.
The 27 kilometer long LHC at CERN is the machine that found the Higgs boson particle. This particle, along with its related energy field, is considered important for the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
CERN says the LHC works by breaking two beams together and using special devices to record the results.
The two beams inside the LHC are made to collide, or collide, at four places around a ring. There are four particle detectors at these collision points. They are known as ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb.
ATLAS and CMS surround the entire collision point with a closed detector, the CERN website says. The LHCb experiment uses sub-detectors to study forward particles. They are particles thrown forward by the collision in one direction. The first sub-detector is close to the collision point, the others follow every 20 meters.
The LHCb working group has observed a new type of “pentaquark” and the very first pair of “tetraquarks”. The results, recently presented at CERN on 5 July, add three members to the list of new hadrons discovered at the LHC.
The research will help physicists better understand how quarks connect, or bind together, to make composite particles.
Quarks are particles that usually combine in groups of two or three to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up the atom cores.
More rarely, however, they can also combine into four- and five-quark particles. They are called tetraquarks and pentaquarks.
LHCb spokesman Chris Parkes described the new particles in a statement.
“Finding new types of tetraquarks and pentaquarks and measuring their properties will help theorists develop a unified model of exotic hadrons…” Exotic is a term that means unusual.
Parkes said the exact nature of these alien particles is unknown. He added that the new findings will also help scientists better understand previously discovered hadrons.
Physicist Niels Tuning said in a statement that the more in-depth studies we do, the more exotic types of hadrons we find.
Tuning added: “We are witnessing a period of discovery similar to the 1950s…” During this time, new subatomic particles were discovered, leading to new ideas about subatomic physics.
I am John Russell.
John Russell adapted this story from a Reuters report and information on the CERN website.
words in this story
particle – nm any of the very small parts of matter (such as a molecule, atom, or electron)
shine – nm a line of energy, particles, etc., which cannot be seen; a line of light from a source (such as the sun or a lighthouse)
quark – nm (physics) one of the many types of very small particles that make up matter
hadrons – nm a subatomic particle composed of two or more quarks
composite – adj. made up of different parts or elements
proton – nm (physics) a very small particle of matter that is part of the nucleus of an atom and has a positive electrical charge
neutron -not. (physics) a very small particle of matter that has no electrical charge and is part of the nucleus of all atoms except hydrogen atoms
core – nm (physics) the central part of an atom made up of protons and neutrons; plural – nuclei
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