Large Hadron Collider Discovers The Pentaquark

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An artist’s impression of the famed five-quark pentaquark particle. CERN / LHCb Collaboration

In a amazing day for science, the CERN Large Hadron Collider discovers the pentaquark. This has taken over 50 years to find after it was first suggested, but it has finally been proven.

Short life

Having identified the pentaquark suggests that scientists may find a new type of subatomic matter that lives for 1 billion trillion trillionth of a second before it decays.

“The pentaquark is not just any new particle,” LHCb spokesperson Guy Wilkinson said in a statement. “Studying its properties may allow us to understand better how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we’re all made, is constituted.”

Composition

The pentaquark consists of five quarks, which are the smallest particles that we know to exist. They can exist in different combinations to form larger particles like baryons which are made up of three quarks and include protons.

CERN announced last year that it had discovered the first four quark particle called a tetraquark but this latest find is more significant and could open a whole new area of physics.

“It is an important result in that it shows that there is a new state of matter,” Professor Sheldon Stone from Syracuse University, who did the physics analysis for the result with his colleagues, said. “Although pentaquark states were thought possible from the dawn of the quark model, the theory that explains the structure of baryons like the proton, they had never been seen before.”

What next

This find was discovered in data collected from the first phase of testing with the Large Hadron Collider. Now that the Large Hadron Collider can create higher energies in its second phase, the scientists will look for more data on pentaquark and how they exists with other subatomic particles.