Large Hadron Collider researchers find new particle
By Eric Mack
December 27, 2011
British researchers say they've seen a new particle using data from the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. The chi b(3P) is the first new particle that has been clearly observed using the LHC, the world's largest particle accelerator, which is housed in a 17-mile (27-km) long tunnel near the border of Switzerland and France.
The chi b(3P) is a boson, but is different than the Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle" that researchers have also been using the LHC to search for. Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Lancaster University describe the new particle as a new way of combining a beauty quark and its antiquark so that they bind together.
"While people are rightly interested in the Higgs boson, which we believe gives particles their mass and may have started to reveal itself, a lot of the mass of everyday objects comes from the strong interaction we are investigating using the chi b," says Professor Roger Jones, Head of the Lancaster ATLAS group.
ATLAS also said in a release that the chi b is slightly heavier than predicted, meaning the quark anti-quark pair is a little more loosely bound than expected.
Lancaster researcher Dr. James Walder, who has looked for evidence of the chi b in previous experiments, says the particle has been predicted for years, but not observed until now.
"The lighter partners of the chi b(3P) were observed around twenty five years ago," adds Birmingham research fellow Dr. Miriam Watson. "Our new measurements are a great way to test theoretical calculations of the forces that act on fundamental particles, and will move us a step closer to understanding how the universe is held together."
A report on the findings have been published in the online repository arXiv.
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