I fisici che lavorano all’esperimento LHCb hanno pubblicato un articolo in merito ad una serie di misure di una particella esotica denominata Z(4430)–. Secondo il modello standard che descrive i quark, le particelle che sono soggette all’interazione forte, cioè gli adroni, sono formate sia da coppie quark-antiquark (mesoni) o da tre quark (barioni). Da quasi 50 anni, gli scienziati stanno cercando di identificare queste particelle, chiamate adroni esotici, che potrebbero non essere classificate secondo gli schemi tradizionali. Sono stati proposti numerosi candidati ma fino ad oggi non c’è stata alcuna evidenza sperimentale che confermasse con certezza la loro esistenza.
The first evidence for the Z(4430) particle has been presented in 2008 by the Belle Collaboration as narrow peak in the ψ’π– mass distribution in the B → ψ’Kπ– decays. In the latest Belle publication the observation of the Z(4430) particle is confirmed with a significance of 5.2σ and a 3.4σ evidence is presented that the quantum numbers JP = 1+ are favored over the other spin assignments. There are many so called charmonium cc* neutral states in this mass region. The fact that the Z(4430) is a charged particle does not allow to classify it as a charmonium state making this particle an excellent exotic candidate. The BaBar collaboration could explain the Z(4430) enhancement in their data by a possible feature of experimental analysis (so called reflections, for experts), not contradicting in the same time the Belle evidence. The LHCb Collaboration has reported today an analysis of about 25 200 B0 → ψ’Kπ–, ψ’ → μ+μ– decays observed in 3 fb−1 of pp-collision data collected at √s = 7 and 8 TeV. The LHCb data sample exceeds by an order of magnitude that of Belle and BaBar together.
The significance of the Z(4430)– signal is overwhelming, at least 13.9σ, confirming the existence of this state.
The Z(4430)– quantum numbers are determined to be JP = 1+ by ruling out 0–, 1–, 2+ and 2– assignments at more than 9.7σ, confirming the evidence from Belle. The LHCb analysis establishes the, so called, resonant nature of the observed structure in the data, and in this way proving unambiguously that the Z(4430) is really a particle. The minimal quark content of the Z(4430) state is cc*du*. It is therefore a four quark state or a two-quark plus two-antiquark state.
Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), have played a major role in the development of the STAR Heavy Flavor Tracker. The STAR HFT is actually the collective name for three separate silicon-based detector systems that make it possible for the first time to directly track the decay products of hadrons comprised of flavors (types) of quarks, “charm” and “bottom,” with heavy mass. Heavy quarks are considered ideal probes for quark-gluon plasma studies; however, their low production yield and short life-span (a fraction of a microsecond) make them difficult to study in heavy ion collisions that also produce huge quantities of light flavor particles. The HFT was first conceived nearly 15 years ago by Berkeley Lab’s Howard Wieman, a physicist with the Lab’s Nuclear Sciences Division who also played a prominent role in the creation of STAR. The HFT construction project, which began a few years later, was initially led at Berkeley Lab by Hans Georg Ritter, a physicist who served as head of the Nuclear Science Division’s Relativistic Nuclear Collisions program (RNC) for many years. “The HFT enables precision tracking measurements of heavy quarks at low momentum where the particle production is most sensitive to the bulk medium created in heavy ion collisions”, says Nu Xu, a physicist also with Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division who is the current spokesperson for the STAR experiment. “This allows us to distinguish the decay vertices of heavy flavor particles from primary vertices and significantly reduces combinational background, which yields cleaner measurements with a higher level of significance”. The importance of the HFT’s precision measurements at low momentum to quark-gluon plasma studies is explained by Peter Jacobs, a Berkeley Lab physicist who now heads the Nuclear Science Division’s RNC program. “Theorists claim they can calculate the dynamical behavior of heavy quarks in matter more accurately than that of light quarks or gluons. Some even think they can calculate the dynamical behavior of heavy quarks in the quark-gluon plasma using models inspired by string theory”, Jacobs says. “One of the things we will be testing with the HFT is the different predictions of the behavior of heavy flavors in the quark-gluon plasma made by string-inspired models versus more conventional physics”.
Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers are now developing a new, larger version of the HFT which they propose to be fabricated for the ALICE detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. “If approved, this will be an upgrade to the Inner Tracking System of the ALICE experiment at the LHC that is a direct follow-on to the STAR HFT, utilizing a number of HFT developments”, says Jacobs. “It is proposed to be installed during the next long LHC shutdown in 2018 and will essentially be a 25 giga-pixel camera made up of 11 square meters of silicon, about 30 times larger than the HFT at STAR”.