CERN has announced another step forward for science – the discovery of a new pentaquark and a pair of tetraquarks (which includes a new type of tetraquark, nbd). These newly discovered particles should help physicists better understand quark binding and composite particles.
Quarks are elementary particles and come in six flavours: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. They usually combine together 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”. These exotic hadrons were predicted by theorists at the same time as conventional hadrons, about six decades ago, but only relatively recently, in the past 20 years, have they been observed by LHCb and other experiments.
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