As part of the ALICE project, physicists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), led by Professor Laura Fabbietti, have developed a method for accurately measuring the strong interaction using collisions between protons and hyperons.
Scientists working in the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN announced that they were the first to measure with high precision the strong interaction between stable and unstable particles – the proton and hyperon.
Strong interactions are one of the four fundamental physical forces that are responsible for the existence of atomic nuclei, which are composed of several protons and neutrons. The positively charged protons in atomic nuclei should actually repel each other, but strong interactions keep them together even in heavy nuclei with many protons.
In 2016, Professor Laura Fabbietti from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) proposed using femtoscopy to study the strong interaction in the ALICE experiment. It can be used to explore spatial scales close to one femtometer (10-15 meters), which is approximately equal to the size of a proton.
Thanks to this method, a group led by Fabbiettis was able to measure the strong interaction for the rarest of all hyperons, the omega hyperon, which is made up of three strange quarks.
My group has discovered a new branch of nuclear physics at the Large Hadron Collider, which includes the study of all types of quarks, achieving unexpected accuracy in places where no one has looked.
Laura Fabbietti, professor at the Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Understanding the interactions between hyperons and nucleons is extremely important for testing the hypothesis of whether neutron stars contain hyperons. After that, the authors plan to continue their research in order to solve the riddle of neutron stars.