UC Davis News & Information :: Strange Antihyperparticle Created

Physicists, including nine from UC Davis, working at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory recently created some strange matter not seen since just after the Big Bang — an “antihypertriton” composed of antimatter and “strange” quarks. A paper describing the work was published online this month in the journal Science.If researchers can create and study enough of these particles, they can start to address deep problems in physics, such as why the universe is made of matter at all, said Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez, associate professor of physics at UC Davis and part of the project team.A triton is the nucleus of the hydrogen isotope tritium: a proton and two neutrons. A neutron is made up of three quarks, two “down” and one “up.” In a hypertriton, one of the neutrons is replaced by a particle called a lambda hyperon, with one “up,” one “down” and one “strange” quark. A hypertriton was observed for a fleeting moment in a lab experiment about 50 years ago, Calderon said.Calderon and his colleagues detected the antihypertriton when they used Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider to slam gold atoms into each other at enormous speed. The energy released in these collisions creates new particles in a “quark-gluon plasma,” similar to that which existed microseconds after the beginning of the universe.The antihypertriton, as its name suggests, is a hypertriton in which the up, down and strange quarks are replaced with antimatter equivalents anti-up, anti-down and anti-strange quarks.

via UC Davis News & Information :: Strange Antihyperparticle Created.

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