It’s not the long awaited Higgs boson, but an ATLAS team at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has discovered a new particle – the Chi-b 3P.
The particle is a boson made up of a beauty quark – also known as the bottom quark – and its anti-quark. The two heavy objects are held together by the same ‘strong force’ which holds the atomic nucleus together.
“Analysing the billions of particle collisions at the LHC is fascinating,” said Andy Chisholm a PhD student from the University of Birmingham. “There are potentially all kinds of interesting things buried in the data, and we were lucky enough to look in the right place at the right time.”
The new measurements are a great way to test the theoretical calculations of the forces that act on fundamental particles, said Dr Miriam Watson, a research fellow from Birmingham. She believes the discovery will help move us a step closer towards understanding how the universe is held together.
“It is also interesting for what it tells us about the strong forces that hold the quark and anti-quark together – the strong nuclear force,” said Professor Roger Jones, head of the ATLAS group from Lancaster University.
“That’s the same force that holds, for instance, the atomic nucleus together with its protons and neutrons.”
He said that a lot of the mass of everyday objects comes from the strong interations that scientists are now investigating using Chi-b.
Chi-b 3P is a more excited state of Chi-b particles that were found several years ago, and its discovery has been published on the online repository arXiv.