It has long been recognized that there are four "basic forces" that govern nature.
The substance of our universe is pulled together, or pushed, by these forces, which are determined by the fact that they no longer seem to be the basic interactions between particles.
They include gravitational and electromagnetic forces, which produce significant long-range interactions whose effects can be seen directly in everyday life.
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And they include forces known as strong interactions and weak interactions, which produce forces at finite, subatomic distances and govern nuclear physics.
Over the years, there have been many unsubstantiated claims of the existence of a fifth fundamental force, and since long hunt for dark matter continues to prove fruitless, attempts to find new forces in play to fill the gaps the standard model of particle physics fails. can explain the increase.
Dark matter is a theoretical substance that is assumed to contribute about 85% of the entire mass of the universe, but has not yet been considered.
But now scientists at the Hungarian Atomic Nuclear Research Institute believe they may have found solid evidence of the previously unknown fifth fundamental force of nature.
Attila Krasnachorkhaj and his colleagues in Atomki first reported some surprising results in 2015 after studying light emitted during the radioactive decay of beryllium-8, an unstable isotope.
From the discovery of beryllium-8 in the 1930s after the construction of the first particle accelerator in Cambridge, the existence of this unstable atom and its unique way of decay has been the focus of numerous studies related to star nuclei – how nuclear fusion in the stars forms elements.
In 2015, they discovered that when they fired protons on the lithium-8 isotope, which produces beryllium-8, the subsequent decomposition of the particles did not produce the expected light emission exactly, and that there was a specific minor "bump", which is for an unexplained reason, The electrons and positrons, which collapsed as the atom collapsed, often separated from each other at exactly 140 degrees.
Various breakthroughs in the same laboratory confirmed the results, and a year later, the same experiment was repeated, with the same results in America.
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It is thought that as the atom collapses, the surplus of energy between its constituents briefly creates a new unknown particle, which then collapses almost immediately into a recognizable positron and electron pair.
But we are not all ready to turn inward or flatten to another dimension. An unknown particle, described as a "protophobic boson", is thought to carry force acting at microscopic distances not much greater than that of the atomic nucleus.
A boson is a force-bearing particle.
The particle is named X17 because its mass is estimated to be 17 mega-electrons.
But Dr. Krasnachorka now believes they measured the same results for stable helium atoms, but instead of electrons and positrons in helium atoms that are split at 140 degrees, the angle was closer to 115 degrees.
"This feature is similar to the anomaly observed in 8Be, and appears to be consistent with the boson X17 decay scenario," the team writes. arXiv, where the research has been published but has not yet been peer-reviewed.
If the existence of the particles is confirmed, it means that physicists will have to finally re-examine the interactions of the existing four basic forces of particle physics and make room for one-fifth.
"We expect more, independent experimental results for the X17 particle to emerge in the coming years," the research team concludes.