Understanding nuclear power may require major changes

Understanding nuclear power may require major changes

The four-neutron experiment found evidence of the existence of a long-searched particle containing four neutrons.

Although all atoms except hydrogen are made up of protons and neutrons, physicists have been searching for particles of one, three or four neutrons for more than half a century. Experiments by a team of physicists at the University of Munich University of Technology (TUM) in the accelerator laboratory at the Corching Research Complex suggest that there may be a particle with four bound neutrons.

Although nuclear physicists acknowledge that there are no proton-only systems in the universe, they have been searching for particles of one, three, or four neutrons for more than 50 years.

At the Maier-Leibnitz’s van de Graaff tandem accelerator at Korsching’s research campus, a team of physicists from the University of Munich Institute of Technology (TUM) accelerated the lithium-7 target to 12 percent light speed with the lithium-7 nucleus. All measurement results show that their experiments produced the desired carbon-10 and tetranuotron. Credit: Sonja Battenberg / TUM

If there is such a particle, parts of the theory of strong interactions should be reconsidered. In addition, a detailed study of these particles will help to better understand the properties of neutron stars.

“Strong contact is a force that holds the world at its center. Atoms heavier than hydrogen are unimaginable without it,” said Dr. Thomas Westerman, who led the experiments.

Everything now shows the fact that this type of particle was formed in one of the recent experiments carried out on the van de Graf tandem particle accelerator, which is currently inactive at the Corching Research Complex.

Atomic tetranuotron reaction

A team of physicists from the University of Munich University of Technology (TUM) bombed a lithium-7 target with a lithium-7 atom von de Graf tandem accelerator at the Maier-Leibnitz laboratory in Corching, accelerating it to 12 percent. Light speed. All measurement results show that their experiments produced the desired carbon-10 and tetranuotron. Credit: Thomas Faestermann / TUM

Long tetranuotron searches

Twenty years ago, a French research team published the measurements, which were described as the signature of the desired tetranuotron. Subsequent work on other groups, however, shows that the method used did not prove the presence of tetranuotrons.

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In 2016, the team attempted to create a tetranuotron from helium-4 in Japan by bombarding it with a beam of radioactive helium-8 particles. This reaction should result in beryllium-8. In fact, they were able to detect four such atoms. Based on the results of the measurements, the researchers concluded that the tetranuotron is unrelated to each other and decomposes rapidly into four neutrons.

Thomas Westermannas

Dr. Thomas Westermann at the Van de Graf Tandem Accelerator Access Hutch at the Corching Research Campus. Here, more than ten million volts of lithium ions accelerate at about 12 percent the speed of light. Westerman and his team bombed a lithium-7 target with these lithium ions. All measurement results show that their experiments produced the desired carbon-10 and tetranuotron. Credit: Ole Benz / TUM

In their experiments, Westerman and his team detonated lithium-7 at speeds up to 12 percent faster than the speed of light. In addition to the tetranuotron, it is expected to produce carbon 10. In fact, physicists were able to find this species. Repeatedly confirmed the result.

Circumstantial evidence

The group’s measurements correspond to the carbon 10 signature and the associated 0.42 mega electronvolt (MeV) tetranuotron, which is expected at the first excitation. In terms of measurements, a tetranuotron is approximately as stable as a neutron. It decomposes with beta decay with a half-life of 450 seconds. “For us, this is the only reasonable physical interpretation of the measured values ​​in all genres,” Drs. Thomas Westerman.

Romanas Gernhauzeris

He is a researcher in the Department of Physics at the University of Munich (TUM). Roman Gernhäuser is in the target room of the van de Graf tandem accelerator in the city of Corching, where lithium ions accelerate by about 12 percent. The light strikes lithium 7 at the target. All measurement results show that the desired carbon-10 and tetranuotron were obtained in their experiments. Credit: Ole Benz / TUM

From its measurements, the team achieved more than 99.7 percent. Or 3 sigma sure. In physics, however, the existence of a particle is considered final only if it reaches a resolution of 5 sigma. So scientists are now eagerly awaiting independent approval.

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Note: Thomas Westerman, Andreas Bergmeier, Roman Jernhauser, Dominic Cole and Mahmoud Mahkoub, Frontier Quaternary Neutron Indicators, 2021. Available November 26th. Letters of Physics b.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.physletb.2021.136799

The Meyer-Leibniz Laboratory is a collaboration between the University of Technology in Munich and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich in collaboration with the van de Graf tandem accelerator. The facility was closed in 2020 for structural reasons. in the beginning. All five faculty are graduates or staff of the University of Munich University of Technology.

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