Large Hadron Collider sheds light on new quantum physics

Large Hadron Collider sheds light on new quantum physics

Physicists conducting experiments on the world's largest atom smasher have discovered a new phenomenon in proton interactions that may change our view of the Standard Model of particle physics, RIA Novosti reported.

A study of "high multiplicity" collisions, where a hundred or more charged particles are produced, has revealed indications that some particles are somehow "correlated" or associated together when they were created at the point of collision.

"It is an unexpected phenomenon, which has been revealed for the first time during experiments on the LHC...It is possible that we have reached the stage where we can 'see' the new phenomena that are still difficult to grasp and interpret...," said Prof. Vladimir Gavrilov, the head of a group of Russian physicists working with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector at the LHC.

CMS is one of two general-purpose experiments at the LHC that have been built to search for new physics. It is designed to detect a wide range of particles and phenomena produced in the LHC's high-energy proton-proton and heavy-ion collisions.

The experiments on the CMS have revealed that in some of the pairs particles, while receding from each other at close to the speed of light, are still oriented along the same angle as if they were associated together.

"This is a phenomenon that has not been predicted by theoretical calculations," Gavrilov said.

The Russian scientist said several explanations of the phenomenon had been offered, but only cumulative statistics from long-running experiments could shed more light on the origin of this effect.

So far, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) theory, describing the interactions of the quarks and gluons making up hadrons, suggested that the force between quarks does not diminish as they are separated.

It would take an infinite amount of energy to separate two quarks and they are forever bound into hadrons such as the proton and the neutron.

The new discovery by the LHC scientists could support this theory.

The $5.6 billion international LHC project has involved more than 2,000 physicists from hundreds of universities and laboratories in 34 countries since 1984. Over 700 Russian physicists from 12 research institutes have taken part.

The collider, located 100 meters under the French-Swiss border with a circumference of 27 km, enables scientists to shoot subatomic particles round an accelerator ring at almost the speed of light, channeled by powerful fields produced by superconducting magnets.

The current run of the LHC is expected to continue for 18 months. This should enable the LHC experiments to accumulate enough data to explore new territory in all areas where new physics can be expected.

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