Feeds

Scientists catch exotic new particles

Bottom quark caught...stop sniggering...

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Researchers working at the FermiLab particle accelerator in the US have discovered two new kinds of particle, exotic relatives of the common-or-garden proton and neutron.

Dr Todd Huffman of the University of Oxford, one of the UK scientists in Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), said although the particles have been predicted by theory, they haven't been seen before.

"These are variants on the familiar proton and neutrons found in atoms, but in each case one of the quarks inside them has been replaced with a much heavier bottom quark," he said.

Protons and neutrons are both baryons, a particle composed of three quarks. There are six different "flavours" of quark: up, down, top, bottom, strange, and charmed (u,d,t,b,s,c) (the nomenclature tells you something about particle physicists, not about quarks).

The combinations of flavours determine the characteristics of the particle. For example, protons contain two up quarks and one down quark (u-u-d), while neutrons have two down and one up (d-d-u).

These exotic new particles are also composed of three quarks, but the mixture is different: they have u-u-b and d-d-b quark combinations. They have been named Sigma-sub-b.

Quark theory predicts six types of three-quark particles with one bottom quark. Only one had been observed before, so catching these two is quite a feat.

A bottom quark has almostthe same mass as a lithium ion, so it takes very high energies in a particle accelerator to produce a baryon with a bottom quark. The Tevatron collider at Fermilab accelerates protons and antiprotons and makes them collide at the energy of two tera electron volts.

"These particles are like rare jewels that we mined out of our data," said Jacobo Konigsberg, University of Florida. "Piece by piece we are developing a better picture of how matter is built out of quarks. We learn more about the subatomic forces that hold quarks together and tear them apart. Our discovery helps complete the periodic table of baryons." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.