Researchers on CERN’s multipurpose Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector have spotted downright weird bumps in their most recent data. The team at CMS think they might have discovered a mysterious particle with twice the mass of a carbon atom.
The find comes from two separate pieces of analysis from the CMS team. In both, the CMS team were able to find data that pointed to a build-up of muons (a type of heavy electron) in the detector.
The data would indicate a new particle with a mass of 28GeV or 1 billion electron volts which would have slightly less than a quarter of the mass of a Higgs boson.
Speaking to The Guardian, Alexandre Nikitenko, a theorist on the CMS team explained that “theorists are excited and experimentalists are very sceptical” of the new find which doesn’t fit into any of the existing theories of reality ( of course many theorists are now going to be working on models that do ).
The team at Atlas, the LHC’s other multipurpose detector, are now double checking their own data to see if they can find any evidence of the mystery particle.
Whatever the team have found it was not the particle they were looking for and analysis will be so time-consuming it could take another year confirm with any certainly if the particle exists.
Source: The Guardian
More info will be available today, Thursday, when the CERN team have scheduled a press conference.
The 27-km Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator ever built. It accelerates protons to nearly the velocity of light — in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions — and then collides them at four locations around its ring. At these points, the energy of the particle collisions gets transformed into mass, spraying particles in all directions.
The Compact Muon Solenoid (or CMS) detector sits at one of these four collision points. It is a general-purpose detector; that is, it is designed to observe any new physics phenomena that the LHC might reveal.
CMS acts as a giant, high-speed camera, taking 3D “photographs” of particle collisions from all directions up to 40 million times each second. Although most of the particles produced in the collisions are “unstable”, they transform rapidly into stable particles that can be detected by CMS. By identifying (nearly) all the stable particles produced in each collision, measuring their momenta and energies, and then piecing together the information of all these particles like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, the detector can recreate an “image” of the collision for further analysis.
How CMS Works
The 14,000-tonne detector gets its name from the fact that:
- at 15 metres high and 21 metres long, it really is quite compact for all the detector material it contains;
- it is designed to detect particles known as muons very accurately; and
- it has the most powerful solenoid magnet ever made.
The CMS detector is shaped like a cylindrical onion, with several concentric layers of components. These components help prepare “photographs” of each collision event by determining the properties of the particles produced in that particular collision.