Elementary particle

Elementary particle

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In particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle
Particle
A particle is, generally, a small localized object to which can be ascribed physical properties. It may also refer to:In chemistry:* Colloidal particle, part of a one-phase system of two or more components where the particles aren't individually visible.In physics:* Subatomic particle, which may be...

 not known to have substructure
Substructure
In mathematical logic, an substructure or subalgebra is a structure whose domain is a subset of that of a bigger structure, and whose functions and relations are the traces of the functions and relations of the bigger structure...

; that is, it is not known to be made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic building blocks of the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 from which all other particles are made. In the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

, the elementary particles consist of the fundamental fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

s (including quark
Quark
A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

s, lepton
Lepton
A lepton is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. The best known of all leptons is the electron which governs nearly all of chemistry as it is found in atoms and is directly tied to all chemical properties. Two main classes of leptons exist: charged leptons , and neutral...

s, and their antiparticle
Antiparticle
Corresponding to most kinds of particles, there is an associated antiparticle with the same mass and opposite electric charge. For example, the antiparticle of the electron is the positively charged antielectron, or positron, which is produced naturally in certain types of radioactive decay.The...

s), and the fundamental boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

s (including gauge boson
Gauge boson
In particle physics, gauge bosons are bosonic particles that act as carriers of the fundamental forces of nature. More specifically, elementary particles whose interactions are described by gauge theory exert forces on each other by the exchange of gauge bosons, usually as virtual particles.-...

s and the Higgs boson
Higgs boson
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...

).

Historically, the hadron
Hadron
In particle physics, a hadron is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force...

s (meson
Meson
In particle physics, mesons are subatomic particles composed of one quark and one antiquark, bound together by the strong interaction. Because mesons are composed of sub-particles, they have a physical size, with a radius roughly one femtometer: 10−15 m, which is about the size of a proton...

s and baryon
Baryon
A baryon is a composite particle made up of three quarks . Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family, which are the quark-based particles...

s such as the proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

 and neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

) and even whole atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s were once regarded as elementary particles. A central feature in elementary particle theory is the early 20th century idea of "quanta
Quantum
In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized," referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete...

", which revolutionized the understanding of electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space...

 and brought about quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

. For mathematical purposes, elementary particles are normally treated as point particle
Point particle
A point particle is an idealization of particles heavily used in physics. Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension: being zero-dimensional, it does not take up space...

s, although some particle theories such as string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

 posit a physical dimension.

Overview


According to the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

, all elementary particles are either boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

s or fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

s (depending on their spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

). The spin-statistics theorem
Spin-statistics theorem
In quantum mechanics, the spin-statistics theorem relates the spin of a particle to the particle statistics it obeys. The spin of a particle is its intrinsic angular momentum...

 identifies the resulting quantum statistics that differentiates fermions from bosons. According to this methodology: Particles normally associated with matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

 are fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

s. They have half-integer
Half-integer
In mathematics, a half-integer is a number of the formn + 1/2,where n is an integer. For example,are all half-integers. Note that a half of an integer is not always a half-integer: half of an even integer is an integer but not a half-integer...

 spin and are divided into twelve flavour
Flavour (particle physics)
In particle physics, flavour or flavor is a quantum number of elementary particles. In quantum chromodynamics, flavour is a global symmetry...

s. Particles associated with fundamental forces are boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

s and they have integer
Integer
The integers are formed by the natural numbers together with the negatives of the non-zero natural numbers .They are known as Positive and Negative Integers respectively...

 spin.

Elementary fermions (matter particles
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

):
  • Quark
    Quark
    A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

    s:
    • up
      Up quark
      The up quark or u quark is the lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. It, along with the down quark, forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei...

      , down
      Down quark
      The down quark or d quark is the second-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. It, along with the up quark, forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei...

      , charm
      Charm quark
      The charm quark or c quark is the third most massive of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Charm quarks are found in hadrons, which are subatomic particles made of quarks...

      , strange
      Strange quark
      The strange quark or s quark is the third-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Strange quarks are found in hadrons, which are subatomic particles. Example of hadrons containing strange quarks include kaons , strange D mesons , Sigma baryons , and other strange particles...

      , top
      Top quark
      The top quark, also known as the t quark or truth quark, is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Like all quarks, the top quark is an elementary fermion with spin-, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and...

      , bottom
      Bottom quark
      The bottom quark, also known as the beauty quark, is a third-generation quark with a charge of − e. Although all quarks are described in a similar way by the quantum chromodynamics, the bottom quark's large bare mass , combined with low values of the CKM matrix elements Vub and Vcb, gives it a...

  • Lepton
    Lepton
    A lepton is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. The best known of all leptons is the electron which governs nearly all of chemistry as it is found in atoms and is directly tied to all chemical properties. Two main classes of leptons exist: charged leptons , and neutral...

    s:
    • electron
      Electron
      The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

      , electron neutrino
      Electron neutrino
      The electron neutrino is a subatomic lepton elementary particle which has no net electric charge. Together with the electron it forms the first generation of leptons, hence its name electron neutrino...

      , muon
      Muon
      The muon |mu]] used to represent it) is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with a unitary negative electric charge and a spin of ½. Together with the electron, the tau, and the three neutrinos, it is classified as a lepton...

      , muon neutrino
      Muon neutrino
      The muon neutrino is a subatomic lepton elementary particle which has the symbol and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it forms the second generation of leptons, hence its name muon neutrino. It was first hypothesized in the early 1940s by several people, and was discovered in 1962 by...

      , tau, tau neutrino

Elementary bosons (force-carrying particles
Force carrier
In particle physics, quantum field theories such as the Standard Model describe nature in terms of fields. Each field has a complementary description as the set of particles of a particular type...

):
  • Gauge boson
    Gauge boson
    In particle physics, gauge bosons are bosonic particles that act as carriers of the fundamental forces of nature. More specifically, elementary particles whose interactions are described by gauge theory exert forces on each other by the exchange of gauge bosons, usually as virtual particles.-...

    s:
    • gluon
      Gluon
      Gluons are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles....

      , W and Z bosons
      W and Z bosons
      The W and Z bosons are the elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction; their symbols are , and . The W bosons have a positive and negative electric charge of 1 elementary charge respectively and are each other's antiparticle. The Z boson is electrically neutral and its own...

      , photon
      Photon
      In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...


Other bosons
  • Higgs boson
    Higgs boson
    The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...



Of these, only the Higgs boson remains undiscovered, but efforts are being taken at the Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature....

 to determine whether it exists or not. Additional elementary particles may exist, such as the graviton
Graviton
In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton must be massless and must have a spin of 2...

, which would mediate gravitation
Gravitation
Gravitation, or gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped...

. Such particles lie beyond the Standard Model.

Common elementary particles


Several estimates imply that practically all the matter, when measured by mass, in the visible universe (not including dark matter
Dark matter
In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that neither emits nor scatters light or other electromagnetic radiation, and so cannot be directly detected via optical or radio astronomy...

) is in the protons of hydrogen atoms, and that roughly protons exist in the visible universe (Eddington number
Eddington number
In astrophysics, the Eddington number, NEdd, is the number of protons in the observable universe. The name honors the British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington who, in 1938, was the first to propose a calculation of NEdd, and to explain why this number could be important for cosmology and the...

), and roughly atoms exist in the visible universe. Each proton is, in turn, composed of 3 elementary particles: two up quarks and one down quark. Neutrons and other particles heavier than protons, as well as helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 and other atoms with more than one proton, are so rare that their total mass in the visible universe is much less than the total mass of protons in hydrogen atoms. Lighter particles of matter, although equal (electrons) or vastly more (neutrinos) numerous than protons, are so much lighter than protons, that their total mass in the visible universe is again much less than the total mass of all protons.

Some estimates imply that practically all the matter, when measured by numbers of particles, in the visible universe (not including dark matter
Dark matter
In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that neither emits nor scatters light or other electromagnetic radiation, and so cannot be directly detected via optical or radio astronomy...

) is in the form of neutrinos, and that roughly elementary particles of matter exist in the visible universe, mostly neutrinos. Some estimates imply that roughly elementary particles exist in the visible universe (not including dark matter
Dark matter
In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that neither emits nor scatters light or other electromagnetic radiation, and so cannot be directly detected via optical or radio astronomy...

), mostly photons, gravitons, and other massless force carriers.

Standard Model


The Standard Model of particle physics contains 12 flavors of elementary fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

s, plus their corresponding antiparticle
Antiparticle
Corresponding to most kinds of particles, there is an associated antiparticle with the same mass and opposite electric charge. For example, the antiparticle of the electron is the positively charged antielectron, or positron, which is produced naturally in certain types of radioactive decay.The...

s, as well as elementary boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

s that mediate the forces and the still undiscovered Higgs boson
Higgs boson
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...

. However, the Standard Model is widely considered to be a provisional theory rather than a truly fundamental one, since it is not known if it is compatible with Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's general relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

. There are likely to be hypothetical elementary particles not described by the Standard Model, such as the graviton
Graviton
In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton must be massless and must have a spin of 2...

, the particle that would carry the gravitational force or the sparticle
Superpartner
In particle physics, a superpartner is a hypothetical elementary particle. Supersymmetry is one of the synergistic theories in current high-energy physics which predicts the existence of these "shadow" particles....

s, supersymmetric
Supersymmetry
In particle physics, supersymmetry is a symmetry that relates elementary particles of one spin to other particles that differ by half a unit of spin and are known as superpartners...

 partners of the ordinary particles.

Fundamental fermions


The 12 fundamental fermionic flavours are divided into three generations
Generation (particle physics)
In particle physics, a generation is a division of the elementary particles. Between generations, particles differ by their quantum number and mass, but their interactions are identical....

 of four particles each. Six of the particles are quarks. The remaining six are leptons, three of which are neutrino
Neutrino
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

s, and the remaining three of which have an electric charge of −1: the electron and its two cousins, the muon
Muon
The muon |mu]] used to represent it) is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with a unitary negative electric charge and a spin of ½. Together with the electron, the tau, and the three neutrinos, it is classified as a lepton...

 and the tau.
Particle Generations
Leptons
First generation Second generation Third generation
Name Symbol Name Symbol Name Symbol
electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 
muon
Muon
The muon |mu]] used to represent it) is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with a unitary negative electric charge and a spin of ½. Together with the electron, the tau, and the three neutrinos, it is classified as a lepton...

 
tau 
electron neutrino
Electron neutrino
The electron neutrino is a subatomic lepton elementary particle which has no net electric charge. Together with the electron it forms the first generation of leptons, hence its name electron neutrino...

 
muon neutrino
Muon neutrino
The muon neutrino is a subatomic lepton elementary particle which has the symbol and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it forms the second generation of leptons, hence its name muon neutrino. It was first hypothesized in the early 1940s by several people, and was discovered in 1962 by...

tau neutrino 
Quarks
First generation Second generation Third generation
up quark
Up quark
The up quark or u quark is the lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. It, along with the down quark, forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei...

 
charm quark
Charm quark
The charm quark or c quark is the third most massive of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Charm quarks are found in hadrons, which are subatomic particles made of quarks...

 
c top quark
Top quark
The top quark, also known as the t quark or truth quark, is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Like all quarks, the top quark is an elementary fermion with spin-, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and...

 
down quark
Down quark
The down quark or d quark is the second-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. It, along with the up quark, forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei...

 
strange quark
Strange quark
The strange quark or s quark is the third-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Strange quarks are found in hadrons, which are subatomic particles. Example of hadrons containing strange quarks include kaons , strange D mesons , Sigma baryons , and other strange particles...

 
bottom quark
Bottom quark
The bottom quark, also known as the beauty quark, is a third-generation quark with a charge of − e. Although all quarks are described in a similar way by the quantum chromodynamics, the bottom quark's large bare mass , combined with low values of the CKM matrix elements Vub and Vcb, gives it a...


Antiparticles


There are also 12 fundamental fermionic antiparticles that correspond to these 12 particles. The antielectron (positron) is the electron's antiparticle and has an electric charge of +1 and so on:
Particle Generations
Antileptons
First generation Second generation Third generation
Name Symbol Name Symbol Name Symbol
antielectron (positron) antimuon  antitau 
electron antineutrino  muon antineutrino tau antineutrino 
Antiquarks
First generation Second generation Third generation
up antiquark  charm antiquark  top antiquark 
down antiquark  strange antiquark  bottom antiquark

Quarks


Isolated quarks and antiquarks have never been detected, a fact explained by confinement
Colour confinement
Color confinement, often simply called confinement, is the physics phenomenon that color charged particles cannot be isolated singularly, and therefore cannot be directly observed. Quarks, by default, clump together to form groups, or hadrons. The two types of hadrons are the mesons and the baryons...

. Every quark carries one of three color-charges of the strong interaction
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

; antiquarks similarly carry anticolor. Color-charged particles interact via gluon
Gluon
Gluons are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles....

 exchange in the same way that charged particles interact via photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

 exchange. However, gluons are themselves color-charged, resulting in an amplification of the strong force as color-charged particles are separated. Unlike the electromagnetic force
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

, which diminishes as charged particles separate, color-charged particles feel increasing force.

However, color-charged particles may combine to form color neutral composite particles called hadron
Hadron
In particle physics, a hadron is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force...

s. A quark may pair up with an antiquark: the quark has a color and the antiquark has the corresponding anticolor. The color and anticolor cancel out, forming a color neutral meson
Meson
In particle physics, mesons are subatomic particles composed of one quark and one antiquark, bound together by the strong interaction. Because mesons are composed of sub-particles, they have a physical size, with a radius roughly one femtometer: 10−15 m, which is about the size of a proton...

. Alternatively, three quarks can exist together, one quark being "red", another "blue", another "green". These three colored quarks together form a color-neutral baryon
Baryon
A baryon is a composite particle made up of three quarks . Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family, which are the quark-based particles...

. Symmetrically, three antiquarks with the colors "antired", "antiblue" and "antigreen" can form a color-neutral antibaryon.

Quarks also carry fractional electric charge
Electric charge
Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. Electric charge comes in two types, called positive and negative. Two positively charged substances, or objects, experience a mutual repulsive force, as do two...

s, but, since they are confined within hadrons whose charges are all integral, fractional charges have never been isolated. Note that quarks have electric charges of either +2/3 or −1/3, whereas antiquarks have corresponding electric charges of either −2/3 or +1/3.

Evidence for the existence of quarks comes from deep inelastic scattering
Deep Inelastic Scattering
Deep inelastic scattering is the name given to a process used to probe the insides of hadrons , using electrons, muons and neutrinos. It provided the first convincing evidence of the reality of quarks, which up until that point had been considered by many to be a purely mathematical phenomenon...

: firing electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

s at nuclei
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

 to determine the distribution of charge within nucleon
Nucleon
In physics, a nucleon is a collective name for two particles: the neutron and the proton. These are the two constituents of the atomic nucleus. Until the 1960s, the nucleons were thought to be elementary particles...

s (which are baryons). If the charge is uniform, the electric field
Electric field
In physics, an electric field surrounds electrically charged particles and time-varying magnetic fields. The electric field depicts the force exerted on other electrically charged objects by the electrically charged particle the field is surrounding...

 around the proton should be uniform and the electron should scatter elastically. Low-energy electrons do scatter in this way, but, above a particular energy, the protons deflect some electrons through large angles. The recoiling electron has much less energy and a jet of particles
Jet (particle physics)
A jet is a narrow cone of hadrons and other particles produced by the hadronization of a quark or gluon in a particle physics or heavy ion experiment. Because of QCD confinement, particles carrying a color charge, such as quarks, cannot exist in free form. Therefore they fragment into hadrons...

 is emitted. This inelastic scattering suggests that the charge in the proton is not uniform but split among smaller charged particles: quarks.

Fundamental bosons


In the Standard Model, vector (spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

-1) bosons (gluon
Gluon
Gluons are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles....

s, photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

s, and the W and Z bosons
W and Z bosons
The W and Z bosons are the elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction; their symbols are , and . The W bosons have a positive and negative electric charge of 1 elementary charge respectively and are each other's antiparticle. The Z boson is electrically neutral and its own...

) mediate forces, whereas the Higgs boson
Higgs boson
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...

 (spin-0) is responsible for the intrinsic mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 of particles.

Gluons


Gluons are the mediators of the strong interaction
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

 and carry both colour
Color charge
In particle physics, color charge is a property of quarks and gluons that is related to the particles' strong interactions in the theory of quantum chromodynamics . Color charge has analogies with the notion of electric charge of particles, but because of the mathematical complications of QCD,...

 and anticolour. Although gluons are massless, they are never observed in detectors
Particle detector
In experimental and applied particle physics, nuclear physics, and nuclear engineering, a particle detector, also known as a radiation detector, is a device used to detect, track, and/or identify high-energy particles, such as those produced by nuclear decay, cosmic radiation, or reactions in a...

 due to colour confinement
Colour confinement
Color confinement, often simply called confinement, is the physics phenomenon that color charged particles cannot be isolated singularly, and therefore cannot be directly observed. Quarks, by default, clump together to form groups, or hadrons. The two types of hadrons are the mesons and the baryons...

; rather, they produce jets of hadron
Hadron
In particle physics, a hadron is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force...

s, similar to single quark
Quark
A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

s. The first evidence for gluons came from annihilations of electrons and antielectrons at high energies, which sometimes produced three jets
Three jet event
In particle physics, a three-jet event is an event with many particles in final state that appear to be clustered in three jets. A single jet consists of particles that fly off in roughly the same direction. One can draw three cones from the interaction point, corresponding to the jets, and most...

 — a quark, an antiquark, and a gluon.

Electroweak bosons


There are three weak gauge bosons: W+, W, and Z0; these mediate the weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

. The massless photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

 mediates the electromagnetic interaction
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

.

Higgs boson


Although the weak and electromagnetic forces appear quite different to us at everyday energies, the two forces are theorized to unify as a single electroweak force at high energies. This prediction was clearly confirmed by measurements of cross-sections for high-energy electron-proton scattering at the HERA
Hadron Elektron Ring Anlage
HERA was a particle accelerator at DESY in Hamburg. It began operating in 1992. At HERA, electrons or positrons were collided with protons at a center of mass energy of 318 GeV. It was the only lepton-proton collider in the world while operating...

 collider at DESY
DESY
The DESY is the biggest German research center for particle physics, with sites in Hamburg and Zeuthen....

. The differences at low energies is a consequence of the high masses of the W and Z bosons, which in turn are a consequence of the Higgs mechanism
Higgs mechanism
In particle physics, the Higgs mechanism is the process in which gauge bosons in a gauge theory can acquire non-vanishing masses through absorption of Nambu-Goldstone bosons arising in spontaneous symmetry breaking....

. Through the process of spontaneous symmetry breaking
Spontaneous symmetry breaking
Spontaneous symmetry breaking is the process by which a system described in a theoretically symmetrical way ends up in an apparently asymmetric state....

, the Higgs selects a special direction in electroweak space that causes three electroweak particles to become very heavy (the weak bosons) and one to remain massless (the photon). Although the Higgs mechanism has become an accepted part of the Standard Model, the Higgs boson
Higgs boson
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...

 itself has not yet been observed in detectors. Indirect evidence for the Higgs boson suggests its mass lies below 200-250 GeV. In this case, the LHC
Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature....

 experiments may be able to discover this last missing piece of the Standard Model.

Beyond the Standard Model


Although all experimental evidence confirms the predictions of the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

, many physicists find this model to be unsatisfactory due to its many undetermined parameters, many fundamental particles, the non-observation of the Higgs boson
Higgs boson
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that is predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its existence is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in the Standard Model...

 and other more theoretical considerations such as the hierarchy problem
Hierarchy problem
In theoretical physics, a hierarchy problem occurs when the fundamental parameters of some Lagrangian are vastly different than the parameters measured by experiment. This can happen because measured parameters are related to the fundamental parameters by a prescription known as renormalization...

. There are many speculative theories beyond the Standard Model that attempt to rectify these deficiencies.

Grand unification


One extension of the Standard Model attempts to combine the electroweak interaction
Electroweak interaction
In particle physics, the electroweak interaction is the unified description of two of the four known fundamental interactions of nature: electromagnetism and the weak interaction. Although these two forces appear very different at everyday low energies, the theory models them as two different...

 with the strong interaction
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

 into a single 'grand unified theory' (GUT). Such a force would be spontaneously broken
Spontaneous symmetry breaking
Spontaneous symmetry breaking is the process by which a system described in a theoretically symmetrical way ends up in an apparently asymmetric state....

 into the three forces by a Higgs-like mechanism
Higgs mechanism
In particle physics, the Higgs mechanism is the process in which gauge bosons in a gauge theory can acquire non-vanishing masses through absorption of Nambu-Goldstone bosons arising in spontaneous symmetry breaking....

. The most dramatic prediction of grand unification is the existence of X and Y bosons
X and Y bosons
In particle physics, the X and Y bosons are hypothetical elementary particles analogous to the W and Z bosons, but corresponding to a new type of force predicted by the Georgi–Glashow model, a grand unified theory.-Details:The X and Y bosons couple quarks to leptons, allowing violation of the...

, which cause proton decay
Proton decay
In particle physics, proton decay is a hypothetical form of radioactive decay in which the proton decays into lighter subatomic particles, such as a neutral pion and a positron...

. However, the non-observation of proton decay at Super-Kamiokande
Super-Kamiokande
Super-Kamiokande is a neutrino observatory which is under Mount Kamioka near the city of Hida, Gifu Prefecture, Japan...

 rules out the simplest GUTs, including SU(5) and SO(10).

Supersymmetry


Supersymmetry extends the Standard Model by adding an additional class of symmetries to the Lagrangian
Lagrangian
The Lagrangian, L, of a dynamical system is a function that summarizes the dynamics of the system. It is named after Joseph Louis Lagrange. The concept of a Lagrangian was originally introduced in a reformulation of classical mechanics by Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton known as...

. These symmetries exchange fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

ic particles with boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

ic ones. Such a symmetry predicts the existence of supersymmetric particles, abbreviated as sparticles, which include the sleptons, squarks, neutralino
Neutralino
In particle physics, the neutralino is a hypothetical particle predicted by supersymmetry. There are four neutralinos that are fermions and are electrically neutral, the lightest of which is typically stable...

s, and chargino
Chargino
In particle physics, the chargino is a hypothetical particle which refers to the mass eigenstates of a charged superpartner, i.e. any new electrically charged fermion predicted by supersymmetry. They are linear combinations of the charged wino and charged higgsinos...

s. Each particle in the Standard Model would have a superpartner whose spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

 differs by 1/2 from the ordinary particle. Due to the breaking of supersymmetry
Supersymmetry breaking
In particle physics, supersymmetry breaking is the process to obtain a seemingly non-supersymmetric physics from a supersymmetric theory which is a necessary step to reconcile supersymmetry with actual experiments. It is an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking...

, the sparticles are much heavier than their ordinary counterparts; they are so heavy that existing particle colliders would not be powerful enough to produce them. However, some physicists believe that sparticles will be detected when the Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature....

 at CERN
CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...

 begins running.

String theory


String Theory is a model of physics where all "particles" that make up matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

 are composed of strings (measuring at the Planck length) that exist in an 11-dimensional (according to M-theory
M-theory
In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds that of superstring theories in 10 dimensions, proponents believe that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories...

, the leading version) universe. These strings vibrate at different frequencies that determine mass, electric charge, color charge, and spin. A string can be open (a line) or closed in a loop (a one-dimensional sphere, like a circle). As a string moves through space it sweeps out something called a world sheet. String theory predicts 1- to 10-branes (a 1-brane being a string and a 10-brane being a 10-dimensional object) that prevent tears in the "fabric" of space using the uncertainty principle
Uncertainty principle
In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states a fundamental limit on the accuracy with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, such as position and momentum, can be simultaneously known...

 (E.g., the electron orbiting a hydrogen atom has the probability, albeit small, that it could be anywhere else in the universe at any given moment).

String theory proposes that our universe is merely a 4-brane, inside which exist the 3 space dimensions and the 1 time dimension that we observe. The remaining 6 theoretical dimensions either are very tiny and curled up (and too small to affect our universe in any way) or simply do not/cannot exist in our universe (because they exist in a grander scheme called the "multiverse
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

" outside our known universe).

Some predictions of the string theory include existence of extremely massive counterparts of ordinary particles due to vibrational excitations of the fundamental string and existence of a massless spin-2 particle behaving like the graviton
Graviton
In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton must be massless and must have a spin of 2...

.

Technicolor


Technicolor theories try to modify the Standard model in a minimal way by introducing a new QCD-like interaction. This means one adds a new theory of so called Techniquarks, interacting via so called Technigluons. The main idea is that the Higgs-Boson is not an elementary particle but a bound state of these objects.

Preon theory


According to preon theory there are one or more orders of particles more fundamental than those (or most of those) found in the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

. The most fundamental of these are normally called preons, which is derived from "pre-quarks". In essence, preon theory tries to do for the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

 what the Standard Model did for the particle zoo
Particle zoo
In particle physics, the term particle zoo is used colloquially to describe a relatively extensive list of the known elementary particles that almost look like hundreds of species in the zoo....

 that came before it. Most models assume that almost everything in the Standard Model can be explained in terms of three to half a dozen more fundamental particles and the rules that govern their interactions. Interest in preons has waned since the simplest models were experimentally ruled out in the 1980s.

Acceleron theory


Accelerons are the hypothetical subatomic particles that integrally link the newfound mass of the neutrino
Neutrino
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

 and to the dark energy
Dark energy
In physical cosmology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most accepted theory to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding...

 conjectured to be accelerating the expansion of the universe
Metric expansion of space
The metric expansion of space is the increase of distance between distant parts of the universe with time. It is an intrinsic expansion—that is, it is defined by the relative separation of parts of the universe and not by motion "outward" into preexisting space...

.

In theory, neutrinos are influenced by a new force resulting from their interactions with accelerons. Dark energy results as the universe tries to pull neutrinos apart.

See also


  • Asymptotic freedom
    Asymptotic freedom
    In physics, asymptotic freedom is a property of some gauge theories that causes interactions between particles to become arbitrarily weak at energy scales that become arbitrarily large, or, equivalently, at length scales that become arbitrarily small .Asymptotic freedom is a feature of quantum...

  • Asymptotic safety
  • Boson
    Boson
    In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

  • Fermion
    Fermion
    In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

  • List of particles
  • Physical ontology
  • Quantum mechanics
    Quantum mechanics
    Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

  • Quantum field theory
    Quantum field theory
    Quantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and many-body systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...

  • Quantum gravity
    Quantum gravity
    Quantum gravity is the field of theoretical physics which attempts to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics with general relativity...

  • Quantum triviality
    Quantum triviality
    In a quantum field theory, charge screening can restrict the value of the observable "renormalized" charge of a classical theory. Ifthe only allowed value of the renormalized charge is zero, the theory is said to be "trivial" or noninteracting...

  • Subatomic particle
    Subatomic particle
    In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...


General readers

  • Feynman, R.P.
    Richard Feynman
    Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

     & Weinberg, S.
    Steven Weinberg
    Steven Weinberg is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles....

     (1987) Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Ford, Kenneth W. (2005) The Quantum World. Harvard Univ. Press.
  • John Gribbin
    John Gribbin
    John R. Gribbin is a British science writer and a visiting Fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex.- Biography :John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Sussex in 1966. Gribbin then earned his master of science degree in astronomy in 1967, also...

     (2000) Q is for Quantum - An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-85578-X.
  • Oerter, Robert (2006) The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics. Plume.
  • Schumm, Bruce A. (2004) Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics. John Hopkins Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8018-7971-X.

Textbooks

  • Bettini, Alessandro (2008) Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 9780521880213
  • Coughlan, G. D., J. E. Dodd, and B. M. Gripaios (2006) The Ideas of Particle Physics: An Introduction for Scientists, 3rd ed. Cambridge Univ. Press. An undergraduate text for those not majoring in physics.
  • Griffiths, David J. (1987) Introduction to Elementary Particles. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-60386-4.
  • Perkins, Donald H. (2000) Introduction to High Energy Physics, 4th ed. Cambridge Univ. Press.

External links


The most important address about the current experimental and theoretical knowledge about elementary particle physics is the Particle Data Group
Particle Data Group
The Particle Data Group is an international collaboration of particle physicists that compiles and reanalyzes published results related to the properties of particles and fundamental interactions. It also publishes reviews of theoretical results that are phenomenologically relevant, including...

, where different international institutions collect all experimental data and give short reviews over the contemporary theoretical understanding.

other pages are: