16 Jan 2012

LHC physics: More than just the Higgs search


Events containing a muon pair and a photon detected by the ATLAS calorimeter. The three peaks are events consistent with different quarkonium decay states. The scale on the horizontal axis is mass. (Credit: ATLAS)

The LHC has been in the limelight recently with the first tantalizing hints concerning the Higgs boson. But there's more to physics at the LHC. Two of the LHC experiments have recently made discoveries in other areas of particle physics.

In November the LHCb experiment reported a new effect in the decays of particles containing a charm quark (or antiquark). The result could be the first evidence for CP violation  - a tiny difference in the behaviour of matter and antimatter - in charmed particles. The effect is very small, but more data should reveal whether it points to physics beyond the Standard Model.

In December the ATLAS experiment announced the discovery of a new "quarkonium state", containing a beauty quark bound with its antiquark. Predicted by theory, it is known as the χb(3P). The new state will help in understanding the force that binds quarks (and antiquarks) together.

Watch out for more discoveries in 2012!

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