The researchers argue that the potential discovery does not fit into the standard model of particle physics.
A team of scientists from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have found an unusual signal in their data that may be the first hint of a new kind of physics, as reported by The Guardian.
The LHCb collaboration, one of the LHC’s four main teams, analyzed 10 years of observation of how unstable particles called B mesons decayed into more familiar matter like electrons.
The mathematical basis underlying scientists’ understanding of the subatomic world is called the Standard Model of Particle Physics. She argues that particles should decay into materials that include electrons at the same rate as materials that include heavier particles called muons.
But the results of research at CERN showed something unusual. B mesons do not decay the way the conventional model suggests: instead of producing electrons and muons at the same rate, nature seems to take a different path.
“We expected this particle to decay into a final state containing electrons and a final state containing muons at the same rate. But the results show that it is possible that these two processes do not occur at the same rate,” – LHCb collaboration spokesman, physicist -Experimenter from the University of Manchester Chris Parks.
In the language of physicists, the probability that the result is a mere coincidence is about 1 in 1000. True, the announcement of a new discovery is made when the probability decreases to 1 in several million.
The Standard Model of Particle Physics describes the particles and forces that govern the subatomic world. The model created over half a century determines how elementary particles called quarks create protons and neutrons inside atomic nuclei, and how they, together with electrons, form all known matter.
The model explains three of the four fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions of all elementary particles. But it does not describe the fourth force, gravity, and it says nothing about 95% of the universe, which is supposedly composed of other matter.
According to scientists, most of the cosmos consists of dark energy, which drives the expansion of the universe, and dark matter – a mysterious substance that holds the cosmic web of matter in place.
“If additional analysis confirms the results, it would mean that something is missing in our standard model to explain what we saw,” Parks says.
This, in turn, will open up the possibility for the existence of dark energy and dark matter, which also do not yet fit into the standard model.
According to him, the results are convincing, as they are consistent with other studies on B-mesons.
“We are intrigued because this result is not only significant enough, but also in line with some of the previous results from LHCb and other experiments around the world,” he adds.
If the results are indeed confirmed, then this may indicate the existence of hypothetical particles of leptoquarks, which will be a new force acting on other particles.
“It could be a new quantum force that makes B-mesons decay into muons at the wrong speed. It sticks them together and slows down the decay into muons,” the scientists concluded.