The search narrows the mysterious form of matter as predicted by Einstein's theory of special relativity . After more than a decade of research, scientists at the world's largest particle accelerator believe they are on the verge of finding it.
But researchers are not looking for bursting recesses of particles crushed together at near-slow speeds.  Instead, the physicists of the Grand Hadron Collider (LHC ), a 17-mile (27-kilometer) ring buried underground near the border between France and Switzerland, are looking for the missing substance called colored glass condensate. by studying what happens when particles do not collide, but instead approach each other near gaps.
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In the Standard Model of Physics, the theory that describes the zoo of subatomic particles, 98% of the visible matter in the universe is held together by fundamental particles called gluons. These aptly named particles are responsible for the force that sticks together quarks to form protons and neutrons. When protons accelerate close to the speed of light, a strange phenomenon arises: The concentration of gluons inside them increases.
"In these cases, the gluons are divided into pairs of lower energy gluons and such gluons are subsequently separated, and so forth," Daniel Tapia Takaki, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas, says in a statement . "At one point, the separation of gluons inside the proton reaches a limit at which the multiplication of gluons ceases to increase. This condition is known as colored glass condensation, a hypothesized phase of matter thought to exist at a very high level. energy protons as well as in heavy nuclei. "
According to the Brookhaven National Laboratory condensate can explain many unsolved mysteries of physics, such as how particles form in high-energy collisions or how matter is distributed in h. , pending. However, confirming its existence has eluded scientists for decades. But in 2000, the physicists of Brookhaven's relativistic heavy ion collision discovered the first signs that colored glass condensation might exist.
When the laboratory shattered gold atoms devoid of their electrons, they found a strange signal in the particles emanating from the collisions, suggesting that the protons of the atoms were clogged with gluons and began to form colored glass condensation. Further heavy ion collision experiments at LHC have had similar results. However, the collision of protons together with relativistic velocities can only give a fleeting glimpse of the protons' interiors before the subatomic particles explode. Probing the interior of the protons takes a more sparing approach.
When charged particles, such as protons, are accelerated to high speeds, they create strong electromagnetic fields and release energy in the form of photons or particles from light. (Due to the dual nature of light, it is also a wave.) These energy leaks were once dismissed as an unwanted side effect of particle accelerators, but physicists have learned new ways to use these high-energy photons to their advantage. [1
"When a high energy light wave strikes a proton, it produces particles – any particles – without disrupting the proton. , "Statement says Tapia Takaki, ." These particles were recorded by our detector and allow us to reconstruct an unprecedented high-quality picture of what's inside. now use this method to track elusive colored glass condensate.The researchers published early results of their study in the August issue of European Physical Journal C For the first time, the team was able to indirectly measure the density of gluons at four different en At the highest level, they found evidence that colored glass condensation was just beginning to form.
The experimental results "… are very exciting, providing new information on the dynamics of gluon in the proton, [b] t There are many theoretical questions that have not been answered, "said Victor Goncalves, a professor of physics at Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil and co-author of the study.
For now, the existence of colored glass condensate remains an elusive mystery.