Scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have discovered three never-before-seen subatomic particles as they work to unlock the building blocks of the universe, the European Center for Nuclear Research CERN said on Tuesday.
The 27-kilometre (16.8-mile) LHC at CERN is the machine that found the Higgs boson, which along with its associated energy field is thought to be important to the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
Now scientists at CERN say they’ve observed a new type of “pentaquark” and the first-ever pair of “tetraquarks,” adding three members to the list of new hadrons found at the LHC.
They will help physicists better understand how quarks are bound together in composite particles.
Quarks are elementary particles that usually combine in binary and triple groups to form hadrons, such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.
However, rarely, it can also combine into particles of four quarks and five quarks, or tetraquarks and five quarks.
“The more analyzes we perform, the more exotic hadrons we find,” physicist Niels Tunning said in a statement.
“We are experiencing a period of discovery similar to the 1950s, when the discovery of the ‘particle zoo’ of hadrons began and eventually led to the quark model of conventional hadrons in the 1960s. We are making the ‘particle zoo 2.0’.”