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Exotic particle turns out to be quark molecule

Simulations suggest Lambda (1405) is meson-baryon combo

11:04am, April 3, 2015

Like atoms, subatomic particles can link up to form “molecules.” A long-studied subatomic particle called Lambda (1405) is actually a molecule of two tightly knit particles, researchers report in the April 3 Physical Review Letters. The study reveals a novel arrangement of matter made of quarks, the fundamental constituents of Lambda (1405) and every nucleus of every atom in the universe.

Quark-containing particles are divided into two groups: mesons, which have two quarks, and baryons, which have three. Many physicists considered the particle Lambda (1405) to be a baryon like protons and neutrons. But some researchers proposed that Lambda (1405) could be one part meson and one part baryon, with a total of five quarks. Physicists at the University of Adelaide in Australia ran a supercomputer simulation guided by equations that chart quark interactions to see which interpretation was correct.

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