LHC reports discovery of its first new particle
By JONATHAN AMOS - BBC NEWS SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
Added: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:17:39 UTC
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the Franco-Swiss border has made its first clear observation of a new particle since opening in 2009.
The LHC has been built to investigate the fundamental building blocks of nature
It is called Chi_b (3P) and will help scientists understand better the forces that hold matter together.
The as-yet unpublished discovery is reported on the Arxiv pre-print server.
The LHC is exploring some of the fundamental questions in "big physics" by colliding proton particles together in a huge underground facility.
Detail in the sub-atomic wreckage from these impacts is expected to yield new information about the way the Universe is constructed.
The Chi_b (3P) is a more excited state of Chi particles already seen in previous collision experiments, explained Prof Roger Jones, who works on the Atlas detector at the LHC.
"The new particle is made up of a 'beauty quark' and a 'beauty anti-quark', which are then bound together," he told BBC News.
"People have thought this more excited state should exist for years but nobody has managed to see it until now.
"It's also interesting for what it tells us about the forces that hold the quark and the anti-quark together - the strong nuclear force. And that's the same force that holds, for instance, the atomic nucleus together with its protons and the neutrons."
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