The atomic nucleus is made up of nucleons in the form of protons and neutrons. It is thanks to them that the atom acquires its properties and mass. It’s just that nucleons are made up of smaller elements: quarks and gluons. To better understand them, scientists must isolate them from one another, although this is no easy task.
Particle accelerators used for this purpose fragment atoms, creating streams of fragments. This is a desirable effect, but quarks and gluons combine so quickly that they are difficult to study in detail. Perhaps a breakthrough in this matter will happen thanks to the efforts of representatives of the University of Tokyo, who write about their achievements in the pages Physical review letters.
To better understand our physical world we need to do experiments, and to improve on experiments we need to explore new approaches to the way we do things. We have identified a possible method for identifying the mechanism responsible for the formation of quarks. This has been a long-standing problem in physics, and if solved, could reveal some important mysteries about the matter and structure of the universe.
Kenji Fukushima explains
Quarks and gluons are the building blocks of nucleons
The magnitude of the challenge is best illustrated by the fact that quarks and gluons are practically not responsible for the mass of a nucleon. The former make up 2% of it, while the latter – probably 0% (in other words – gluons are probably massless). So where does atomic mass come from? Perhaps, in large part, from the way quarks and gluons are bound together. In this case, the forceful interaction, which is one of the four forces considered fundamental, plays a key role.
Fukushima concludes that it is not yet possible to say with 100% certainty that the strong interaction leads to cluster formation. The key in the analyzes performed was the interpretation of the observed quark parameters as a novel variable. This has been called the imaginary angular velocity, and with further research, this should lead to further advances in the study of the substance.
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