A new kind of particle that has never been seen before has been found at CERN.
The Large Hadron Collider Beauty project spotted the four-quark particle, in a discovery that could help reveal important information about the very building blocks of all matter.
Quarks are formed together into composite particles known as hadrons, which include protons and neutrons. Scientists hope that the new discovery, of a particle made up of four specific kinds of quarks, will show how the quarks bind themselves together to make those composites, which in turn form the matter that surrounds us.
Quarks usually combine together in groups of two or three when they form hadrons. Scientists had long predicted that there could be hadrons made up of four or five quarks, and experiments in recent years have allowed them to be found.
But all of the previous examples have been made up of specific collections of quarks, all of the same kind.
“Particles made up of four quarks are already exotic, and the one we have just discovered is the first to be made up of four heavy quarks of the same type, specifically two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks,” said Giovanni Passaleva, the outgoing spokesperson of the LHCb collaboration.
“Up until now, the LHCb and other experiments had only observed tetraquarks with two heavy quarks at most and none with more than two quarks of the same type.”
Read more: Independent