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New discovery could help unlock building blocks of the universe

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The Large Hadron Collider has facilitated the discovery of three never-before-seen subatomic particles. Photo: PA Media

The Large Hadron Collider has facilitated the discovery of three never-before-seen subatomic particles. Photo: PA Media

The Large Hadron Collider has facilitated the discovery of three never-before-seen subatomic particles. Photo: PA Media

Scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have discovered three subatomic particles never seen before as they work to unlock the building blocks of the universe.

The news was confirmed yesterday by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern).

The 27km-long (16.8 mile) LHC at Cern is the machine that found the Higgs boson particle.

The Higgs boson particle, along with its linked energy field, is thought to be vital to the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

Now scientists at Cern say they have observed a new kind of “pentaquark” and the first-ever pair of “tetraquarks”.

It means three members have been added to the list of new hadrons found at the LHC.

They will help physicists better understand how quarks bind together into composite particles.

Quarks are elementary particles that usually combine in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons, such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.

More rarely, however, they can also combine into four-quark and five-quark particles, or tetraquarks and pentaquarks.

“The more analysis we perform, the more kinds of exotic hadrons we find,” physicist Niels Tuning said in a statement.

“We’re witnessing a period of discovery similar to the 1950s, when a ‘particle zoo’ of hadrons started being discovered and ultimately led to the quark model of conventional hadrons in the 1960s. We’re creating ‘particle zoo 2.0’.”

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