Technology & Science

Physicists discover new particle

A new heavy particle known as cascade b has been discovered by physicists at the Fermi lab in Illinois.

A new heavy particle has been discovered by physicists at the Fermi lab in Illinois.

The particle —known as cascade b — is special because it's the first of its kind to be made up of quarks representing all three quark families, the lab announced in a news release.

Quarks are the most fundamental building blocks of matter. There are six types, grouped in pairs — up and down,top and bottom,strange and charm.

This particle has a strange quark, a bottom quark and a down quark.

Particles with three quarks, such as this one,are called baryons— derived from the Greek word "barys," meaning "heavy." The most common of baryons are protons and neutrons.

The cascade b was created in a particle accelerator— a machine where matter is banged together to create new forms of matter. The cascade b doesn't live long though. It travels a few millimetres at almost the speed oflight before decaying into other forms of matter.

Scientists were able to detect that it had existed by examining the more stable decay products.

The discovery is expected to help develop understanding of how strong nuclear forces affect the basic building blocks of matter.

The discovery is a product of an international collaboration of more than 600 physicists from 88 institutions in 19 countries. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratoryis a national laboratory funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy