Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Pear-Shaped Nuclei Hint At Physics Beyond The Standard Model

Just in case people forget that CERN (and also the LHC via predominantly the ALICE detector) can also do nuclear physics experiment, here's a new report on the study of the shape of heavy nuclei that might provide hints at physics beyond the Standard Model.

Although there was some limited evidence for pear-shaped nuclei in experiments carried out on radium-226 and neodynium-148 in the 1990s, neither study was conclusive. What Peter Butler of the University of Liverpool and colleagues in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US have now done is to find strong evidence for octupole transitions in radon-220 and radium-224. These transitions are a sign that the nuclei are lopsided and appear in the spectrum of gamma rays these nuclei emit as they decay from an excited state.

I'm sure that this is just the very beginning of this line of inquiry.


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