A new exotic particle has been hiding out amidst the gobs of data collected by the world’s largest atom smasher, physicists have discovered.
The new particle, called Ds3*, is a meson — a type of unstable particle made of one quark and one antiquark. Quarks a re subatomic particles and are the most basic building blocks of matter that make up protons and neutrons. They’re held together by the strong interaction, or strong force, that is one of the four fundamental forces in nature. (Electromagnetism, weak interaction and gravity are the other three.) No stable form of matter would exist without the strong interaction holding it together.
To find the new particle, Tim Gershon, a professor of physics at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, and his team used the Dalitz plot analysis. The technique involved waiting for the particle to decay into its most basic elements (quarks) and tracking their motion inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest atom smasher.
This is the first time the technique has been used on data from the LHC, located in a 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) underground tunnel on the border between France and Switzerland. The analysis is possible because physicists now have enough experience with the LHC data and can use it for more complicated analysis. Gershon said there could be even more new particles hidden in the data. [7 Strange Facts About Quarks]
“What we’ve shown here is that we can use the existing data to discover new particles,” Gershon told Live Science. “Hopefully, we’ve opened a door to a whole new era of these types of studies”…
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