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Aug 23, 2020

Large Hadron Collider Beauty Discovers First “Open-Charm” Tetraquark

Posted by in category: particle physics

The particle, which has been called X(2900), was detected by analyzing all the data LHCb has recorded so far from collisions at CERNs Large Hadron Collider.

The LHCb experiment at CERN has developed a penchant for finding exotic combinations of quarks, the elementary particles that come together to give us composite particles such as the more familiar proton and neutron. In particular, LHCb has observed several tetraquarks, which, as the name suggests, are made of four quarks (or rather two quarks and two antiquarks). Observing these unusual particles helps scientists advance our knowledge of the strong force, one of the four known fundamental forces in the universe. At a CERN seminar held virtually on August 12, LHCb announced the first signs of an entirely new kind of tetraquark with a mass of 2.9 GeV/c²: the first such particle with only one charm quark.

First predicted to exist in 1964, scientists have observed six kinds of quarks (and their antiquark counterparts) in the laboratory: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Since quarks cannot exist freely, they group to form composite particles: three quarks or three antiquarks form “baryons” like the proton, while a quark and an antiquark form “mesons.”

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