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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 19, @04:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the strange-but-charming dept.

The LHCb experiment at CERN is a hotbed of new and outstanding physics results. In just the last few months, the collaboration has announced the measurement of a very rare particle decay and evidence of a new manifestation of matter-antimatter asymmetry, to name just two examples.

In a paper released today, the LHCb collaboration announced the discovery of a new system of five particles all in a single analysis. The exceptionality of this discovery is that observing five new states all at once is a rather unique event.

The particles were found to be excited states – a particle state that has a higher energy than the absolute minimum configuration (or ground state) – of a particle called "Omega-c-zero", Ωc0. This Ωc0 is a baryon, a particle with three quarks, containing two "strange" and one "charm" quark. Ωc0 decays via the strong force into another baryon, called "Xi-c-plus", Ξc+ (containing a "charm", a "strange" and an "up" quark) and a kaon K-. Then the Ξc+ particle decays in turn into a proton p, a kaon K- and a pion π+.

From the analysis of the trajectories and the energy left in the detector by all the particles in this final configuration, the LHCb collaboration could trace back the initial event – the decay of the Ωc0 – and its excited states. These particle states are named, according to the standard convention, Ωc(3000)0, Ωc(3050)0, Ωc(3066)0, Ωc(3090)0 and Ωc(3119)0. The numbers indicate their masses in megaelectronvolts (MeV), as measured by LHCb.

Significant results, if a bit quarky.

Paper available online at arxiv.org.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @08:55AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @08:55AM (#481413)

    Does anyone really care about these particles if they are unstable and non-fundamental?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Bot on Monday March 20, @09:04AM (2 children)

      by Bot (3902) on Monday March 20, @09:04AM (#481416)

      Fundamentalist particles tend to be even more unstable, especially near airports.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @09:16AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @09:16AM (#481420)

        Im not kidding though, this sounds like "physicists create new matierial that seems likely to be totally useless." Why is this interesting to the public?

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @11:44AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, @11:44AM (#481450)

          Maybe not interesting for you, but owing to the fact that this is basic research, it is interesting to an educated public. These experiments are probing our fundamental models of physics. The collaborations for these experiments also have very tangible geopolitical impacts. No, they won't directly generate products or processes in the short-term that can be applied to something like making border walls taller and cheaper, but from a big-picture prospective they generally have much higher returns on investment than short-term projects.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Monday March 20, @10:03AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Monday March 20, @10:03AM (#481429) Journal

    I was just out looking for Blue Supernovae, and now this? "Omega-c-zero", Ωc0, and it has quarks, they say. Do you know how much it hurts the head to go from massive cosmic events, although admittedly metal-poor and billions of lightyears away, to really, really, really small transient particles? At least one quark has "charm". Nothing all that charming about supernovae, they are more on the "awesome" scale. But my point is, keep the pure science articles coming, eds. A lack of comments does not indicate a lack of interest.

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