A team of scientists has predicted a strange new type of dibaryon particle by using intricate quantum simulations performed by a supercomputer called "K computer."
The new dibaryon particle predicted is called the "di-Omega." It may further explain the interactions of elementary particles in the interior of neutron stars. It may also finally explain in more accuracy how the universe formed right after the Big Bang.
The team who performed the simulations is comprised of international scientists from Japan's RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science and the Riken Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences (iTHEMS) program. The team has also worked with scientists from the country's premier universities.
Scientists have long identified the existence of the baryon particles. These particles are chiefly made up of protons, neutrons, and three quarks that are tightly bound together.
Quarks are subatomic particles that carry a fractional charge and have yet to be physically observed in the scientific field. All known facts about quarks are based on theoretical predictions.
From baryons come the dibaryon particles. These particles contain two baryons and six quarks instead of the usual three.
There is only one predicted dibaryon called the deuteron that contains a nucleus with heavy nitrogen composition. Its pair of proton and neutron is loosely bound together.
Scientists have kept searching and fail to identify other types of dibaryons other than deuteron.
Now, with the power of Japan's K computer, the team of scientists, headed by Tetsuo Hatsuda from RIKEN iTHEMS, has finally predicted a possible new type of the dibaryon particle.
The K Computer
RIKEN is a research institute based in Japan and one of the largest of its kind in the country. The institution is known for compelling studies that dwell in a different range of scientific disciplines.
RIKEN's K computer is touted as one of the supercomputers in the world with the highest caliber, particularly because of its ability to perform high-speed quantum simulations.
K is capable of bypassing any malfunctioning CPU component. It can continue its calculations even with a defective CPU. In fact, malfunctioning CPU parts can be replaced while K continues its operation.
K computer has already performed fast calculations and high-resolution simulations, which is not yet done before. The supercomputer had already been integral in new drug discovery, weather forecasting, space science, and material development.
By using powerful theoretical and computational tools of the K computer to predict whether there exists another type of dibaryon particles, the RIKEN team is able to calculate the existence of di-Omega.
The di-Omega Dibaryon Particles
The di-Omega is comprised of two Omega baryons that have three quarks respectively.
For their study, the scientists combined three fundamental processes to predict the existence of the new dibaryon particle.
First, they used a newly created hypothetical framework called the time-dependent HAL QCD method.
"It allows researchers to extract the force acting between baryons from the large volume of numerical data obtained using the K computer," the team wrote in the study published in Physical Review Letters.
Second, they derived an original computational method they called "the unified contraction algorithm." This method calculates a greater number of quarks inside a system.
Third, they programmed K with the combined HAL QCD framework and the unified contraction algorithm. The supercomputer then performed the calculations using its high-speed aptitude.
The Future with di-Omega
The next step for the team is to confirm its initial prediction of the existence of the di-Omega dibaryon particle through conducting another round of experiments. Specifically, they hope to discover the first ever dibaryon system aside from the deuteron.
The work, according to Hatsuda, could give them deeper insights into the interaction of far more complex baryons and more quarks that are strangely bound together.
"This work could give us hints for understanding the interaction among strange baryons (called hyperons) and to understand how, under extreme conditions like those found in neutron stars, normal matter can transition to what is called hyperonic matter," Hatsuda explained.