Just when you thought the Higgs Boson was the be all and end all of particle physics...
Science Alert reports today confirmation of a particle which may be a new kind of matter:
Scientists have discovered an elusive particle that may be an example of a tetraquark, an entirely new form of matter.
Apparently, the implications of this discovery could be as dramatic as a star made up of quarks.
Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the overachieving device famous for finding the Higgs boson, have confirmed that a new particle called Z(4430) exists, and is the best evidence to date of a new form of matter called a tetraquark.
Quarks are the subatomic particles that form all matter and are usually found in pairs or triplets - but scientists had long predicted that a new particle Z(4430) could exist that was a combination of four quarks. And now the LHC has spotted as many as 4,000 of the elusive particles, the researchers reported in ArXiv.org.
Before you get too excited, there is still work to be done to determine if Z(4430) really is a tetraquark, and, if so, what that means for us.
Right now, scientists still aren't 100% sure a tetraquark would obey the laws of physics. Thomas Cohen at the University of Maryland in College Park told New Scientist: "Our computers aren't yet big enough to solve the theory from first principles."
But the big first hurdle has been overcome - scientists have proved that Z(4430) really does exist and shown there's still so much we have to discovery about the world we live in.
The discovery has particular importance for our understanding of neutron stars, according to space-news site Universe Today, which wrote:
"With the existence of tetraquarks, it is possible for neutrons within the core to interact strongly enough to create tetraquarks. This could even lead to the production of pentaquarks and hexaquarks, or even that quarks could interact individually without being bound into color neutral particles. This would produce a hypothetical object known as a quark star."
Captain Sisko would not be happy.