Physicists find more evidence that a new subatomic structure exists. The 'impossible' four-neutron particle (by Fiona MacDonald)
In February this year, Japanese researchers rocked the physics world when they claimed they'd finally confirmed the existence of a mysterious, and long-thought impossible 'four-neutron, no-proton' particle, known as a tetraneutron.
And now a study adds more evidence that they were right, showing that
not only can the tetraneutron exist stably, but that it should look a
whole lot like the particle that was observed by the Japanese team -
taking us a step closer to confirming the existence of a new subatomic
If further independent observation can verify the presence of the tetraneutron, it would be a huge deal, because scientists have been trying to find the mysterious structure for 40 years
, despite claims that it couldn't possibly exist. But there has been very little evidence to go off until now.
It would be such a big deal, in fact, that it would require a rewrite of our current models of nuclear force
- the force that holds protons and neutrons together.
"It would be something of a sensation," nuclear theorist Peter Schuck from France's National Centre for Scientific Research, who wasn't involved in the research, told Science News back in February