CERN continues to add new milestones to its already long list of achievements. This week, a group of researchers from Oxford University released the result of the experiment they conducted in the LHCb detector, and confirms observations by other scientific teams more than a decade ago.
In 2007 a group of researchers from Stanford University in California (USA) first realized that there was a kind of hostel called “charming” (charm) who has the special ability to Change state spontaneouslythat changes its structure between matter and antimatter.
The key lies in the oscillation of the “charming” counter counter
Mesons are subatomic particles that belong to the hadron family composed of equal numbers of quarks and antiquarks, held together by the mediation of strong nuclear force.
When antimatter comes in direct contact with matter, they both annihilate and release a large amount of energy.
On the other hand, antimatter is nothing more than a form of matter made up of antiparticles, which are particles with the same mass and spin as the particles we know but with opposite electrical charge.
Matter made up of antiparticles is called antimatter and has a surprising property: when it comes into direct contact with matter both are destroyedthat releases a large amount of energy in the form of high-energy photons and other possible particle-antiparticle pairs.
With this little paragraph we come back to the hostels. Physicists have known for five decades that there are subatomic particles that can “jump” from matter to antimatter or vice versa. In reality, this behavior is caused by the action of Quantum superposition, and that a particle is a particle and its own antiparticle at the same time, regardless of redundancy.
What the Oxford researchers first observed was that hostels charm oscillate between the two states. It just means that they can take the form of a particle, jump to the state of an antiparticle, and return to the state of a particle. All of this spontaneously.
The strategy they used to identify this process in their LHCb experiment is surprising because, roughly speaking, it consisted of measuring the mass of the particles with astonishing precision. And is that the hostel? it doesn’t have the same mass when it assumes the particle state and the anti-particle state. The difference is very small (1 x 10 ^ -38 g), so in order to be able to measure it one has to develop an extremely precise technique. But these researchers succeeded.
An unknown mechanism that could lead us beyond the Standard Model
The implications that this finding could have are much deeper than it seems when we look at it superficially. The Standard Model, which is our most robust theory, does not explain how this mechanism works, so it is possible that unknown particles that unpredictable according to this model.
Understanding how the vibration of “charm” mesons works could be key to understanding the mechanism behind the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe.
Finding a possible rift in our most advanced theory is not bad news. But on the contrary; This is great news as it gives scientists clues on the path to take to develop new physics. And this observation invites us to look at the origin of the universe for one compelling reason: to understand how the vibration of the mesons works. charm can be the key to understanding the mechanism that explains Matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe.
According to the Standard Model, the same amount of matter and antimatter must have been produced in the Big Bang, but if it was both would have been destroyed in contact with each other and the universe would be extinct.
Obviously this was not the case, so there must have been some mechanism that prevented the production of. caused more material than antimatter. It is this asymmetry that we are talking about, and perhaps this discovery is the first step in solving this great mystery.
Pictures | CERN
More information | Oxford University
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