The collaboration between a group of researchers at the University of Kansas with an international team of scientists came into fruition after they have successfully reproduced the quark-gluon plasma. The group of researchers said quark-gluon plasma is a state of matter which is believed to have formed at the birth of the universe.
Researchers say that the new discovery will help us answer the conceptual question that asks what were the properties of the primordial Universe.
If we consider our Universe, and we try to run the movie backwards by pushing all the matter to smaller and smaller place, at some point, a few microseconds after the Big Bang, all of the matter in the Universe was on the top of each other. That matter was all quark-gluon plasma.
By using the Large Hadron Collider, which is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the researchers finally managed to create the elusive substance. The researchers said that the discovery was the result of the collision between protons and lead nuclei at very high speeds inside the LHC’s Compact Muon Solenoid detector. The resulting plasma was named by the physicists the “littlest liquid”.
One of the most fascinating things about the quark-gluon plasma is that is about a million times hotter than the center of the sun. A quark-gluon plasma occurs when the temperature is so high that individual protons and neutrons literally melt.
Before the results came out, it was thought that the substance created by the proton and lead collisions will be too small to produce quark-gluon plasma. But researcher Quan Wang said that the analysis in the experiment’s paper indicated that, contrary to their expectations, quark-gluon plasma can be generated in extremely asymmetric proton-to-lead collisions.
The scientists on charge with the Compact Muon Solenoid detector declared that this surprising discovery is a milestone for high-energy physics research. Physicists generate collisions like this about one month each year. The study of quark-gluon plasma is still a relatively new science, but scientists at RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) and the LHC promised us that in the next few years they will show us very interesting data on this hottest state of matter.
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