Particles are made entirely of force

Illustration of particle collision. Credit: Created by artificial intelligence.

The Standard Model of particle physics is the fundamental theory that elegantly summarizes our understanding of the fundamental forces and particles that make up the universe. Think of it as a kind of periodic table of particle physics. This model classifies all known subatomic particles, including six types of quarks, six types of leptons (such as the electron), and force-carrying particles such as photons for electromagnetism, gluons for the strong force, and W and Z bosons for the weak force. .

Protons and neutrons are not part of the Standard Model because they are larger particles made up of quarks. All larger particles and all matter consist only of quarks and leptons.

Among the many particles predicted by the Standard Model, there are some exotic particles that have not yet been confirmed. This includes “glue balls,” or bundles of particles made entirely of gluons, which are the particles that transmit the strong force. In other words, a glue ball is a particle made entirely of force. Star Wars fans, rejoice!

Don’t let the goofy name fool you. Globalz Very interesting – and despite its elusive nature, many particle physicists are convinced that it actually exists. Recently, decades of work at the Beijing Particle Collider may have finally found the first evidence of the existence of a glue ball, a new particle called X(2370) that decays from a particular type of meson, known as J/ψ.

A ball made of power

Beijing spectrometer detector (image from BESIII cooperation)
Beijing Spectrometer Detector. Credit: BESIII Collaboration.

The main difference between glue balls and other molecules lies in their structure and the interactions involved. In typical hadrons, such as protons and neutrons, gluons act as the “glue” that mediates the strong force between quarks. In contrast, glue balls are pure gluon states, which are essentially clusters of gluons bound together. This self-interaction is a unique feature that arises from the ability of gluons to interact with each other, unlike other force carriers such as photons in electromagnetism.

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Detecting and studying glue balls is difficult because they are expected to mix with other quark-containing particles and decay into more familiar particles, making them elusive in experimental observations.

Since it was first brought online in 2008, the Beijing Spectrometer III — a particle detection experiment located at the Electron-Positron Collider in Beijing — has recorded 10 billion J/ψ particle shape events. These are some of the most unstable particles in existence, existing for a brief moment before decaying into something else, including the recently identified X(2370) particle.

X(2370) presents interesting properties that are consistent with those expected from a glue ball. It exhibits no electrical charge, no odd valence, and a mass within the expected range for the lightest globule state. The results are also remarkably consistent with predictions from quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a computational method that has only recently matured enough to predict such exotic particles with high accuracy.

According to researchers in China, the statistical significance of the results is more than 5 sigma. This means there is only a 0.00006% chance that the reading is a random statistical anomaly.

An illustration of how this new particle formed
The J/ψ meson can decay into a photon and a gluon. These two gluons can then combine to temporarily form an X(2370) particle. Credit: Physical Review Letters.

More study is needed

Despite these promising results, there are still reasons for caution. The production rate and branching ratios of X(2370) do not exactly match initial expectations. It’s possible that this particle represents another exotic state, like a tetraquark, rather than a true ball of glue, as physicist and science journalist Ethan Siegel noted in an article. Big thought condition.

“However, with hundreds of thousands of A type of composite particle that must exist, but has never been seen before. There is still more work to be done to determine the full nature of the Launch. If there are no glue balls in all of nature, then there is something new wrong with the Standard Model. “If glue balls do exist, X(2370) may be the first object discovered for humanity,” Siegel wrote.

The new results appeared in Physical review letters.

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