General

Scientists discovered the "lightest oxygen" - "nuclear mirror" of lithium-11. Like this?

Researchers from the University of Washington inSt. Louis discovered and characterized a new form of oxygen - the “lightest” of all known versions of this chemical element with three neutrons and eight protons. Oxygen is one of the most common elements in the solar system, but oxygen-11 can only be obtained in a laboratory. It disintegrates immediately after creation, emitting two protons, and it can be observed only from the products of its decay. The decay with two protons is the newest of the open channels of nuclear decay.

Lightest oxygen

"However, the community of physicists most interesting isthat oxygen-11 is a nuclear mirror of lithium-11, a well-studied heavy lithium isotope, ”says Tyler Webb, Ph.D. from the University of Washington and the first author of a paper published in Physical Review Letters.

In nuclear physics, it is believed that nuclei aremirror, when one has a certain number of neutrons and protons, and the other has the opposite number, that is, the ratio of 3: 8 neutrons and protons in oxygen-11 is compared with 8: 3 in lithium-11.

“Speaking of mirror nuclei, we expect to findsome symmetry, ”says Webb. "The properties of the nucleus and its mirrors should be similar: quantum states should be approximately close in energy relative to the ground state of the nucleus, and the wave functions of these states should be similar."

However, this symmetry may be broken. Scientists can compare the actual structure of the mirror nuclei with their expected structure to learn more about this important symmetry of the atomic nuclei that make up the visible matter in our Universe.

In this case, scientists are very enthusiastic.Li-11, which has two very weakly coupled neutrons rotating in a “halo” around the nucleus, is compared with oxygen-11, which has two unbound protons.

Well, in physics there are a lot of funny things that we still have to discover and discover. Discuss mirror kernels can be in our chat in Telegram.