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Our world consists mainly of particles built up of three quarks bound by gluons. The process of the sticking together of quarks, called hadronisation, is still poorly understood. Physicists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, working within the LHCb Collaboration, have obtained new information about it, thanks to the analysis of unique data collected in high-energy collisions of protons in the LHC.

When protons accelerated to the greatest energy collide with each other in the LHC, their component particles - quarks and gluons - create a puzzling intermediate state. The observation that in the collisions of such relatively simple particles as protons this intermediate state exhibits the properties of a liquid, typical for collisions of much more complex structures (heavy ions), was a big surprise. Properties of this type indicate the existence of a new state of matter: a quark-gluon plasma in which quarks and gluons behave almost as free particles. This exotic liquid cools instantly. As a result, the quarks and gluons re-connect with each other in a process
calledhadronisation. The effect of this is the birth of hadrons, particles that are clumps of two or three quarks. Thanks to the latest analysis of data collected at energies of seven teraelectronvolts, researchers from the Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Cracow, working within the LHCb Collaboration, acquired new information on the mechanism of hadronisation in proton-proton collisions.

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Category: Science