back to article LHC spots mesons flipping between matter and antimatter

The LHC might be inactive at the moment, but the science goes on: a group of researchers trawling the instrument's vats of data has spotted a matter-antimatter oscillation that completes their “zoo” of meson “flips”. In a paper published at Arxiv and accepted by Physical Review Letters, the researchers say they've spotted D …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Very nice

    How does that look in a Feynman diagram though? Does the arrow along the "one of the infinitely possible particle paths" alternatively point to the future and to the past?

  2. Len Goddard

    Beauty returns to quantum physics

    Genuine physics aside, I am delighted to see that the bottom quark has oscillated back into its beauty state.

    I was very disappointed when the original Truth and Beauty names for the T & B quarks were replaced by the mundane and unimaginative Top and Bottom. Although I suppose there is a place for Tops and Bottoms in an SM theory ...

  3. Rentaguru

    nothing to show

    oh come on what's this www thingy we're using here .... direct from particle physics.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You lost me after "The"

    I was away the day we did quarks at school.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: You lost me after "The"

      In France, one would not be allowed to do quarks!

  5. Crisp

    Mesons play for both sides in polarity switch shocker!

    So where's the sexy footage of mesons oscillating?

    1. breakfast Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mesons play for both sides in polarity switch shocker!

      The people demand that it be illustrated through the medium of Playmobil.

  6. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Naive understanding of antimatter...

    [Mesons] don't annihilate because that only occurs when a particle is confronted with its own antiparticle; in the case of mesons, the mis-match between quark types prevents this from happening.

    Tell that to the J/ψ meson (charm/anticharm).

  7. S4qFBxkFFg

    So, to someone who didn't do any more physics than 1st year undergrad, how much closer does this get us to huge antimatter factories in tight solar orbit pumping out grammes of the stuff?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      About the lifetime of a typical meson

  8. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I'm confused

    If a meson is composed of both a quark and an anti-quark, how can it have an anti-partner? Surely that, too would be composed of an anti-quark and quark; what then distinguishes this from it's normal matter counterpart?

    Is it just by convention that we call a meson composed of a anti-charmed quark and a down quark as matter, but one composed of an anti-down quark and charmed quark as antimatter? How does flipping between the two cause CP violation, or is it to do with the quarks having different charge/spin/colour values?

    I'm sure the answers are out there for me to google if I so wish, but I feel the article should at least explain what the actual transition that has been observed is, and why it demonstrates charge/parity violation. After all, if this does go towards explaining why the universe contains matter at all, it is an important result.

    1. Mallorn

      Re: I'm confused

      "If a meson is composed of both a quark and an anti-quark, how can it have an anti-partner?"

      D0 meson = charm quark + up anti-quark

      anti-D0 meson = charm anti-quark + up quark

      Since a charm quark is distinct from a charm anti-quark these are two different particles. However you can get mesons consisting of the quark and anti-quark of the same flavour (e.g. phi meson = strange+anti-strange). These are their own anti-particles just like a photon!

  9. Gareth Gouldstone

    Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain ...

    and a nice hot cup of tea.


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    labor prices in different countries

    just for the record, in order to warn any non-westerners:

    "The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [where Y>X]

    source: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report

    ISBN: 9290831693

  11. 4ecks

    LHC Collider?

    Why do we need to collide Lettuce, Ham & Cheese with Layers of Extra Pickle and Squeezy Mustard ?

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    So THAT'S where the anit-matter is hiding.


  13. William Donelson

    Perhaps matter itself is a fractal; the deeper you go, the more you find.

  14. Jamie Jones Silver badge


    Could you please redo this article as a series of photos, using playmobil characters?

    Trying to make sense of this drove me quarkers

    /gets coat

  15. attoman

    How lovely in scope and color and charming to behold

    the Standard Model is beautiful. One should also appreciate the purpose of naming unique mathematical characterizations charm, and color. How sad that we have up and down, top and bottom, for these words impart to the mind a familiar behavior with no connection to their use in the SM.

    What is amusing is that we are told that only "serious physicists" etc. No one in their right mind will accept the results of the LHC as proven until the Higgs has shown by further yet to be defined experimentation that it has the right "stuff".

    ANd how can anyone be satisfied with this years accelerator energies when Dark Matter and Dark Energy rule the Universe and are untamed by "serious physicists".

    I predict the way forward will be through the DARKness and into the light of Beyond the Standard Model.

    Please don't take me seriously.

  16. mfritz0

    Vacuum Energy

    So with all these virtual anti-particles, how much longer before vacuum energy will become a reality? It seems if these virtual particles really exist in the vacuum, they could theoretically be manipulated virtually, then supplied with enough energy (E=MC^2) to bring them out of the hidden dimension they are in, to annihilate with their reality counterpart. (which should produce two times E=MC^2) This sounds like Sci-Fi, but there has to be a way to create an energy efficient way to produce a strong stream of anti-particles that could be used as an energy source that would be much more efficient than even fusion. Perhaps this is off topic, but they were talking about anti-matter here. Even a way to produce a steady stream of positrons could do the trick, you would think, and one source could be the virtual positrons that surround each real electron. Imagine how much energy you could produce by colliding a stream of naked electrons with their positron counterparts.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prists versus scholars

    Higgs V Non Higgs, God V Big Bang, LHC V LEP....

    just more people talking out their arses about their team being better, in the end it has no impact on the real world, just as it has not for years.

    What productivity that has helped humanity has come from knowing that there are particles smaller than we can use in life have there been?

    spend the money on the starving world or create better ways of feeding them

    1. Mallorn

      Re: Prists versus scholars

      "What productivity that has helped humanity has come from knowing that there are particles smaller than we can use in life have there been?"

      Says the person posting a message on a website using a computer. The fact that you have a computer is because 100 years ago Rutherford was bouncing alpha particles of a gold foil and Schrodinger, Heisenberg et al were developing quantum mechanics. Oh and the web itself was invented by CERN to help large, international groups of particle physicists to communicate with each other. So how about we start with those two.

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