In physics, a subatomic particle is a particle smaller than an atom. These include atomic constituents such as electrons, protons, and neutrons (protons and neutrons are actually composite particles, made up of quarks), as well as particles produced by radiative and scattering processes, such as photons, neutrinos, and muons. Many of the particles that have been discovered and studied are actually not encountered naturally; they have to be produced during scattering processes in particle accelerators. The study of subatomic particles is the most active branch of particle physics.
The electron (symbol e-) is present in all atoms; it has 1/1836 the mass of a hydrogen atom, and a negative charge. Protons (symbol p+) are also present in all atoms; a proton is about the same mass as a hydrogen atom and carries positive charge equal in magnitude but opposite in sign to electron. Neutrons (symbol n) are electrically neutral and have slightly greater mass than protons.
Hadrons are particles composed of quarks. Examples include baryons and mesons. Baryons are composed of three quarks. They all have a large rest mass for subatomic particles. Examples of baryons are protons and neutrons. Every baryon has an antiparticle composed of three antiquarks.
Types of baryons (selection)
|Σ + ||uus||1.189|
|Σ - ||dds||1.197|
|Δ + + ||uuu||1.232|
|Ω - ||sss||1.672|
Mesons are composed of a normal quark and an antiquark, which gives them baryon number zero. There are no stable mesons; the most stable have half lives on the order of nanoseconds. They have a rest mass starting with 140 MeV for the lightest mesons, the pion.
Leptons are not composed of quarks, but are irreducible particles (no smaller constituent is currently known). Types of leptons include electrons, muons, tauons and neutrinos. Until recently neutrinos were thought to have zero rest mass; their masses are much smaller than the masses of any other subatomic particles.
- particleadventure.org: The Standard Model (http://particleadventure.org/particleadventure/frameless/standard_model.html)
- particleadventure.org: Particle chart (http://particleadventure.org/particleadventure/frameless/chart.html)
- University of California: Particle Data Group (http://pdg.lbl.gov/)
- Annotated Physics Encyclopædia: Quantum Field Theory (http://web.mit.edu/redingtn/www/netadv/qft.html)
- Jose Galvez: Chapter 1 Electrodynamics (pdf) (http://jgalvez.home.cern.ch/jgalvez/School/pdf/LM-WeakIteractions.pdf)
- Number 644 #1, June 30, 2003, Physics News Update: A Five-Quark State Has Been Discovered (http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews/2003/split/644-1.html)
- UniSci: Anti-Proton Mass And Charge Measured For First Time (http://unisci.com/stories/20013/0828012.htm) Citat: "...In this case, the values agree with those of the proton (allowing for the opposite charge) to within 60 parts per billion...."
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- BBC News 5-3-1999: 'Sensational' anti-matter discovery (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/291299.stm) "...The phenomenon they think they spotted is technically called direct Charge-Parity (CP) violation. It means that particles behave differently if you swap matter for anti-matter and also swap left and right. ...The observation of direct CP violation is an exciting one for physicists as it disagrees with all the currently held theories about the nature of matter. "
- Number 660 #2, November 4, 2003, Physics News Update: Acceleration Disrupts Quantum Teleportation (http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews/2003/split/660-2.html) Citat: "...While this effect is small for typical accelerations in Earthly labs the result shows an interesting relationship between the effects of space-time motion and the quantum world..."