New results from precision particle detectors at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) offer a fresh glimpse of the particle interactions that take place in the cores of neutron stars and give nuclear physicists a new way to search for violations of fundamental symmetries in the universe. The results, just published in Nature Physics, could only be obtained at a powerful ion collider such as RHIC, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The reveal that the holding together the components of the simplest "strange-matter" nucleus, known as a "hypertriton," is greater than obtained by previous, less-precise experiments. The new value could have important astrophysical implications for understanding the properties of neutron stars, where the presence of particles containing so-called "strange" quarks is predicted to be common.

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