Quarks, the tiniest particles known to humanity, have been identified in new groupings by scientists.
In spite of their brief existence, the new structures may shed light on how our universe came to be in the first place. Quark-based atoms include neutrons and protons, both of which have three quarks each. Tetraquarks and pentaquarks, two types of “exotic” matter recently found, are made up of four and five quarks respectively. At the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, scientists have identified one new pentaquark and two new tetraquarks. This brings the total number of findings to 21. Researchers are enthusiastic about the properties of the three new discoveries, notwithstanding their uniqueness.
Pentaquark decays into weird particles, but the masses of the two tetraquarks are identical, suggesting that they may be the first pair of strange structures discovered. Discoveries in recent years suggest that the number of these particles has increased enough for a periodic table-style classification. Exotic mass is the subject of a theory and set of principles that need to be developed in order to understand it.
Physicists are examining this topic during a special conference on Tuesday at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which houses the Large Hadron Collider, in light of recent discoveries. The interaction of quarks produces the so-called “strong force” that binds the interiors of atoms – and, by extension, the entire universe – together.
Prof. Chris Parkes of Manchester University explains, “The strong force is incredibly difficult to compute, and we have no definite predictions about how the exotic pentaquarks and tetraquarks are constructed.” We hope that by learning more about them, we will be able to construct theories that help us to comprehend them better. In the fifth century B.C., the Greek philosopher Democritus proposed that the universe was composed of indivisible elements that he termed atoms.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, experimental findings demonstrated that atoms are composed of electrons, neutrons, and protons. In the 1960s, it became evident that neutrons and protons were composed of even smaller particles known as quarks, and that the interaction of quarks was connected to one of nature’s fundamental forces known as the strong force.
The force not only keeps atoms intact, and it also plays a vital role in the interplay of other subatomic particles that keep the cosmos running. Because of the recent upgrades to the Large Hadron Collider, scientists hope to find a slew of new and unusual particles, some of which may contain six bound quarks. One hundred billionths of a second may be all they have to live. Physicists would be thrilled to find even a few millimeter-long traces left by these fast-moving particles, even if they are small by human standards.