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An international team of high-energy physicists says the discovery of an electrically charged subatomic particle called Zc(4020) is a sign that they have begun to unveil a whole new family of four-quark objects.

The Beijing Spectrometer (BESIII) collaboration, which includes scientists from UH Mānoa, previously announced the discovery of a mysterious four-quark particle called Zc(3900) in April 2013.

"While quarks have long been known to bind together in groups of twos or threes, these new results seem to be quickly opening the door to a previously elusive type of four-quark matter," said Frederick Harris, a professor of physics and astronomy at UH Mānoa, and a spokesman for the BESIII experiment. "The unique data sample collected by the BESIII collaboration has continued to yield a stream of clues about the nature of multi-quark objects."

The recent breakthroughs by the BESIII collaboration have come about through a dedicated study of the byproducts of the anomalous Y(4260) particle.

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