Geneva (Switzerland) At the largest particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European nuclear research center CERN near Geneva, scientists made protons, i.e. positively charged particles in an atomic nucleus, collide with iron ions. The protons hit the iron ions at almost the speed of light and exploded. But under the blasted particles, new particles of matter suddenly appeared and their behavior can not yet be explained. The researchers suspect that this could be a new form of matter.
With such particle collisions, new particles are usually formed for a short time, which then disintegrate again. These particles move in an uncontrolled manner from the collision location at almost the speed of light in all directions. However, when iron ions were bombarded with protons, the scientists of the Compact Muon Solenoid Team (CMS) made an unusual discovery. From two million collisions, a few pairs of particles appear again and again, which always move parallel in exactly the same direction and move away from the collision location in exactly the same trajectory. Even in numerous repeated attempts, these mysterious pairs of particles were observed repeatedly.
Physicist Gunther Roland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reports in the journal Physical Review B: “Somehow these couples always flew in the same direction, although we can’t really explain how they communicated that direction to each other. That surprised a lot of people and us as well. “
The MIT Heavy Ion Group was able to confirm the new discovery on the basis of its own tests. Here, for example, the scientists brought protons to collide with the ions of heavy metals such as gold, lead or copper. Here, too, there were a few pairs of particles that always had exactly the same trajectory. During the heavy ion collision, a wave of quark-gluon plasma is generated for a millionth of a second. This presumably also existed for a very short time after the Big Bang. The researchers suspect that the quark-gluon plasma affects a few particles and that this could explain the strange behavior of the particle pairs.
The researchers emphasize that the behavior observed is a really very small effect that almost would have been overlooked. The fact that this behavior of matter can be reproduced over and over again suggests that this discovery is something very fundamental, for which, however, there is as yet no exact scientific explanation.