Y(4260) subatomic particles China Collider

Observations of a new particle may lead to a new form of matter


When it comes to subatomic particles we realize how little we know about matter and energy in general. At this level, the laws of physics begin to change and matter as we know it ceases to exist. A team of scientists in China who were working on the Electron and Positron Collider in Beijing in an effort to understand one of those particles (Y(260) with ‘strange’ behaviour, discovered a new particle that is even stranger than the previous one.

But before we continue lets roughly explain the basics. We all know that the nucleus of an atom consists of protons and neutrons. Through quantum physics we managed to figure out that the protons and neutrons consist of an elementary particle which is called a quark, and it is the fundamental particle of matter. The combination of quarks creates different other particles of which the most stable ones are the protons and the neutrons.

As a tool to understand and investigate subatomic particles we have the colliders. A collider is a particle accelerator where beams of particles (electron and positron beams for example) collide into a stationary target and during this process subatomic particles are created. The subatomic particles that are created in a collider have a lifespan of 10 -23 seconds, which I guess you understand is small! One of those particles is the Y(4260) which was discovered in 2005. This particle behaves in a way that defies quantum physics and the scientists are trying to figure out why. The Y(4260) in the collider created four times more energy than what it should have according to its mass.

The research team in Beijing during the investigation of Y(4260) discovered a new particle, named Z(3900), of which its subatomic structure (combination of quarks) has never been observed before, making this particle a new form of exotic matter. How this particle was created and what its properties are is subject to more research, but discovering new forms of matter has always been exciting and a step towards understanding the energy-matter connection in a more efficient way. After all everything looks to be energy.

By John Black

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