In an incredible new discovery up there with that of the Higgs boson event pictured, scientists have used the LHC to find something extraordinary.
The Large Hadron Collider buried deep underneath Geneva, Switzlerand has just scored another big discovery. Physicists using the LHC at CERN have found a new kind of heavy particle known as Xi-cc++, which is composed of three smaller elementary particles that we know as quarks.
This particular particle has one “up” quark, similar to those found in protons and neutrons, and two “charm” quarks, which are heavier than “up” quarks and more exotic. “Up” and “charm” are two of six categories of quarks physicists have assigned based on their masses and charges.
Such “doubly charmed” particles had been theorized, but never been detected until now. The findings could either further reinforce the Standard Model of physics which predicted them, or open up new pathways in our understanding of the universe itself.
“Today at the EPS Conference on High Energy Physics in Venice, the LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has reported the observation of Ξcc++(Xicc++) a new particle containing two charm quarks and one up quark,” the CERN statement reads. “The existence of this particle from the baryon family was expected by current theories, but physicists have been looking for such baryons with two heavy quarks for many years. The mass of the newly identified particle is about 3621 MeV, which is almost four times heavier than the most familiar baryon, the proton, a property that arises from its doubly charmed quark content. It is the first time that such a particle has been unambiguously detected.”