The binding energy and lifetime of hypertriton, a particle that can shed light on the structure of neutron stars, were determined by researchers.
The Higgs boson, created by colliding high-energy protons, was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012 and has become the LHC's most famous achievement. But the collider also accelerates particles other than protons, and some research requires colliding much heavier materials. A group currently working on the ALICE experiment at the LHC has broken down lead nuclei to study an unusual particle known as hypertriton. The result obtained may help researchers in minimizing errors in neutron star structure simulations.
A hypertriton is a tritium nucleus in which a neutron has been replaced by a heavier particle called a lambda hyperon, whose quark configuration is weird-up-down-strange rather than weird-up-down. The energy required to bond the proton and two neutrons of tritium has been known to scientists for a long time. However, it was unclear how the neutron-lambda hyperon transition affected this energy.
Because lead-lead collisions produce much greater amounts of hypertriton than proton-proton collisions, the ALICE Collaboration chose these collisions to answer this question.
The time required for the decay of a hypertriton and the energy of the decay products depend on the interaction energy between the lambda hyperon and the hypertriton nucleus.
A hypertriton decays very quickly into a helium-3 nucleus and a pion.
Scientists discovered that the lifetime of a free lambda hyperon and a hypertriton are quite similar, indicating that the latter particle is only weakly bound. The stability of neutron stars is believed to be affected by the creation of lambda hyperons, which puts a limit on how massive they can get. The existence of neutron stars with masses beyond the predicted range can be explained by this precise measurement of the binding energy of the lambda hyperon.
📩 10/09/2023 11:42