Skip to main content

The Large Hadron Collider May Have Found A New Form Of Matter

Life just gets more and more like a Madeleine L'Engle book.


Z(443o) may sound like a radio station, but it’s actually a recently-proven particle discovered by the Large Hadron Collider– and it could be evidence of tetraquarks, an entirely new form of matter.

Quarks are the subatomic particles that form all matter. Tetraquarks are a hypothetical form of matter that, as the name implies, are a quartet of quarks. Researchers at CERN have discovered up to 4000 of the new particles, and are conducting tests now to determine if Z(4300) is the tetraquark evidence scientists are looking for.

Experts are already weighing in on the CERN team’s still-inconclusive discovery. Israeli theorist Marek Karliner says the particle’s composition makes it “likely that it’s a tetraquark.” However,  New Scientist reports that one concern for researchers excited by the unprecedented discovery is Z(4430)’s decay rate: 10 times faster than scientists expect from a tetraquark.

If the Large Hadron’s discovery is determined to be evidence of an unprecedented form of matter, talk of five-quark groups (pentaquarks) could also be revived. Says Karliner, “What determines who can bind together and who can’t? […] It’s completely uncharted territory.”

Keep up the good work, LHC. I don’t know what practical application could be made in the near future of a tetraquark or pentaquark discovery, but this is why we keep you around.

(New Scientist via Gizmodo, image via CERN)

Meanwhile in related links

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: