- Charm Meson can travel as a mixture of their particle and antiparticle
- Standard Model theory to explain Particle physics
- Decaying of particles before oscillation
According to sources and discoveries made by physicists, it has been proved that subatomic particles can be switched into its antiparticle alter-ego and back again. The Oxford researchers using the LHCb experiment at CERN have submitted the first evidence that charm mesons can change into their antiparticle and back again.
In the past 10 years, scientists have known about charm mesons, which can travel as a mixture of their particle and antiparticle states, known as mixing. However, this new result for the first time showed that they can oscillate between the two states.
Particle can oscillate into Antiparticle
In quantum physics, charm mesons can be itself and its antiparticle at the same time. This is also known as quantum superposition, which results in heavier and lighter version of particle. The superposition allows charm mesons to oscillate into its antiparticle and back again.
Based on the data collected during the second run of the Large Hadron Collider, a researcher from the University of Oxford measured the difference in mass between the two particles of 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 grams – or in scientific notation 1×10-38g. This certain measurement is only possible when the phenomenon is being observed many times and it can only happen when so many charm mesons are being produced in LHC collisions.
As the measurements were too precise, the researcher team used a novel technique to ensure these measurements are accurate. This technique was originally developed by colleagues at the University of Warwick.
The standard model is the theory that explains particle physics which can turn into an antiparticle; this contains four types of particles. The mixing phenomenon was first observed in strange mesons in the 1960s and in Beauty mesons in the 1980s. The only other particle that was seen to oscillate was strange-beauty meson among the four, this was made in 2006.
Oscillations are Slow
Professor Guy Wilkinson at the University of Oxford, whose group contributed to the analysis, said- “What makes this discovery of oscillation in the charm meson particle so impressive is that, unlike the beauty mesons, the oscillation is very slow and therefore extremely difficult to measure within the time that it takes the meson to decay.”
This also shows that the oscillations are so slow that the large part of the particle can decay before they even get a chance to oscillate. However this story still holds no confirmation because LHCb have collected so much data and have provided evidence to it.
As the discovery of charm mesons oscillates opens up the door of physics to new levels of experiments and phases of physics exploration; now the researchers want to understand the oscillation process. Moreover they want to solve the mystery of matter and antimatter asymmetry. This is to focus on whether the rate of particle and antiparticle transitions are the same with antiparticle and particle, it is also to understand whether the transitions are influential or caused by unknown particles not specified by the standard model.
Dr. Mark Williams at the University of Edinburgh, who convened the LHCb Charm Physics Group within which the research was performed, said: ‘Tiny measurements like this can tell you big things about the Universe that you didn’t expect.’
The result, 1×10-38g, cross the ‘five sigmas’ level of statistical significance that is required to claim discovery in particle physics.