How the modern universe is primarily composed of matter and not antimatter has foxed astrophysicists for decades, but a result from a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment has uncovered a new clue behind the matter-antimatter asymmetry mystery.
During high-energy proton collisions in 2011, the worlds most powerful particle accelerator, located at the France-Swiss border near Geneva, created BOs mesons - hadronic subatomic particles comprised of one quark and one antiquark - inside the LHCb experiment.
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By observing the rapid decay of the BOs, physicists were able to identify the neutral particle's decay products - i.e. the particles that it decayed into. After a huge number of proton collisions and BOs decay events, physicists have announced that more matter particles are generated than antimatter during neutral BOs decays.
"The discovery of the asymmetric behavior in the BOs particle comes with a significance of more than 5 sigma - a result that was only possible thanks to the large amount of data provided by the LHC and to the LHCb detector's particle identification capabilities," Pierluigi Campana, spokesperson for the LHCb collaboration, said in a CERN announcementon Wednesday (April 24). "Experiments elsewhere have not been in a position to accumulate a large enough number of BOs decays." 5-sigma is the statistical "gold standard" of a discovery in particle physics.