This new method was developed by nuclear physicists from the STAR detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. It relies on light particles that surround the gold ions and a new form of quantum entanglement.
Photons can interact with gluons, glue-like particles that keep quarks in the nuclei’s protons and neutrons through a series quantum fluctuations.
These interactions create an intermediate particle, which quickly decays to two different-charged pions (p).
You can measure the speed and angles these are measured at.+ And p– When particles hit RHIC’s STAR detection, nuclear physicists can reversetrack and get critical information about the photon. They then use this to map the nucleus’ arrangement of gluons with greater precision than ever.
This technique works in the same way as doctors using positron emission imaging (PET scans), to view the inside of the body, said James Daniel Brandenburg. He is a member the STAR Collaboration and a physicist from the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“In this instance, however, we are talking about mapping features on the scale femtometers — quadrillionths a meter — which is the size of an individual proton.”
It is even more remarkable to observe a new type of quantum interference, which makes it possible for their measurements.
We measured two particles outgoing and their charges were clearly different. However, we saw interference patterns that indicated these particles are entangled or in sync with each other, said Dr. Zhangbu Xu. He is a Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist and a member the STAR Collaboration.
This discovery could have many applications beyond its lofty goal to map out the basic building blocks of matter.
Many physicists, for example, are trying to harness the power of entanglement, a type of awareness and interaction between physically separate particles.
The goal of this project is to develop more effective communication tools and computer systems than what exists today.
However, most of the other observations on entanglement, such as a demonstration of interference between lasers of different wavelengths and photons, were made with identical electrons.
Brandenburg stated, “This is the most experimental observation ever of entanglement among dissimilar particles.”
Today, the journal features the team’s efforts. Science Advances.
M.S. Abdallah The authors and others. (STAR Collaboration). 2023. Tomography of ultra-relativistic nuclear nuclei having polarized photongluon collisions Science AdvancesIn press. arXiv: 224.01625