Scientists observe a new form of strange matter

Scientists observe a new form of strange matter
Schematic of the experiment. Credit: RIKEN

In a discovery that could provide new insights into the origin of mass in the universe following the Big Bang, scientists from the international J-PARC E15 Collaboration, led by researchers from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) have used experiments with kaons and helium-3 to experimentally demonstrate, for the first time, the existence of an exotic nucleus containing two protons and a bound kaon.

Kaons are a type of meson—a group of extremely short-lived particles that mediate the strong force that binds protons and neutrons inside the , consisting of an anti-quark and quark pair. The existence of mesons was first proposed by Japanese physicist Hideki Yukawa in 1935, and after they were discovered to exist he became the first Japanese to receive a Nobel Prize for his efforts. K mesons have recently become an important topic of research, as they usually exist as "virtual " that pop in and out of existence in the nucleus, but it might become real bound particle in a nucleus and become for a fleeting moment a part of an exotic nucleus, along with the typical neutrons and protons, since there is a slight time lag before the anti-quark and quark annihilate. Understanding how this happened could provide insights into mysteries such as the origin of mass and the quantum phenomenon of "color confinement." However, this state had never been observed in the real world.

To investigate this, the research group launched experiment to try to bind a kaon to a nucleus. To do the experiment, the researchers decided to use a helium-3 target—a nucleus made up of two protons and a single . By knocking out a neutron from the helium-3 target they were able to greatly reduce the energy of the kaon by using the recoil from the ejection and replacing the neutron with a kaon, forming a tightly bound with two protons and a single kaon.

"What is important about this research," says Masahiko Iwasaki, the leader of the team, "is that we have shown that mesons can exist in nuclear matter as a real particle—like sugar that is not dissolved in water. This opens up a whole new way to look at and understand nuclei. Understanding such exotic nuclei will give us insights into the origin of the mass of nuclei, as well as to how matter forms in the core of neutron stars. We intend to continue experiments with heavier to further our understanding of the binding behavior of kaons."


Explore further

Unresolved puzzles in exotic nuclei

More information: S. Ajimura et al. "K−pp", a K‾-meson nuclear bound state, observed in 3He(K−,Λp)n reactions, Physics Letters B (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2018.12.058
Journal information: Physics Letters B

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Jan 24, 2019
What is the lifetime of this exotic nucleus? You never said.

Jan 24, 2019
Doesn't matter what the lifetime is. They detected it.

Maybe you forgot.

Jan 24, 2019
The paper is open access at the given DOI link. I read it. Did anyone else? Love to hear 'yes' from you.

Jan 25, 2019
The more the researchers dig into it, the more it seems like matter was intelligently designed with highly logical fitting parts to it. There seems to be rules that need to be strictly adhered to in order to keep things from spontaneously falling apart, or worse just collapsing into one big blob of matter or black hole or spontaneously dissolving into energy.

Where does the rules come from?

Jan 25, 2019
Wow! I also got a duplicate comment to register. I thought it seemed strange yesterday when someone else got 5!
So I'll just leave this here to brag.
The more the researchers dig into it, the more it seems like matter was intelligently designed with highly logical fitting parts to it. There seems to be rules that need to be strictly adhered to in order to keep things from spontaneously falling apart, or worse just collapsing into one big blob of matter or black hole or spontaneously dissolving into energy.

Where does the rules come from?

Jan 25, 2019
Not thinkin' @FreddyJoe read it.

Just sayin'.

Jan 25, 2019
Where does the rules come from?
Well certainly not from a god who wrote a book full of lies. Maybe from some other being who didnt feel the need to make up stories about people who never existed and things that never happened.

Do novelists create universes?

Jan 25, 2019
Do novelists create universes?
All the time.

Jan 25, 2019
Do novelists create universes?

All the time
But most wouldn't be foolish to promise you immortality just for believing that their fiction was real.

Well maybe L Ron Hubbard but besides him.

Jan 28, 2019
The more the researchers dig into it, the more it seems like matter was intelligently designed with highly logical fitting parts to it. There seems to be rules that need to be strictly adhered to in order to keep things from spontaneously falling apart, or worse just collapsing into one big blob of matter or black hole or spontaneously dissolving into energy.

Where does the rules come from?
says FredJose

That which you refer to as "Intelligent Design" is where the "Laws" and "Rules" were planned, formulated, came to fruition and, of course, all of the Rules are logical and reasonable ones - also a great achievement incorporating common sense. It is from the Intelligent Designer Himself that Nature and the natural scheme of things in the Universe had been decided upon, and then became reality.
Matter and Energy are interchangeable while being subject to the Natural Laws and Rules which humans are in the process of discovering and often trying to circumvent.

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