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0. Introduction / Whats the story?

1. Structure of the atom 2. Probing deeper / cosmic rays and particle accelerators

0. Introduction / Whats the story?

In search of giants with Brian Cox>>

Fundamental particles

What holds the nucleus together?


Quarks have an attribute arbitrarily named colour that feels the strong force. Virtual gluons carry colour between quarks so that the quark colours are continuously changing. All observed particles are colourless so in a baryon there must be three continuously changing but different colours and in a meson a quark and an antiquark so that a colour and its anticolour again give a colourless particle. Colourlessness or containment means that isolated quarks and gluons should never be observed.

Although pentaquarks [] and glueballs [confined gluons] might seem possible they have not been reliably observed.


~10-14 ~10-15m

Strong force range ~10-15m

The strong force acts only over very short distances that separate the quarks in a nucleon or in the adjacent nucleons of a nucleus.

The four fundamental forces

Virtual particles mediate the fundamental forces

1. Structure of the atom

Rutherford scattering
High energy alpha particles from a natural radioisotope bombard a gold foil [only a few atoms thick]. Most particles pass through gold with little or no deflection. Very small number undergo huge deflections [>90O]

Rutherford scattering [cont.]

Provides strong evidence for a nuclear atom [1911]. Electrons had been discovered by JJ Thompson [1896]. The neutron was confirmed by Chadwick [1932].

2. Probing deeper / cosmic rays and particle accelerators

Electron ray gun

Electrons boiled off the cathode and accelerated toward the anode. Can only be explained in terms of negatively charged electrons. Moving es can be deflected by E- and/or B- field.

Electron diffraction
Electrons behave as waves. De Broglie = Electrons diffract as they pass though solids revealing the atomic/molecular spacing and arrangements.

Linac [linear accelerator]

Charged particles accelerated in E-fields in gaps between drift tubes. Polarity of tubes must alternate. Why? Tubes get longer. Why?

Relativistic effects
At high speeds relativistic effects are significant and must be taken into account.

E-field accelerates charged particles across gap between dees. B-field provides centripetal acceleration 2 = = = =

Cosmic rays
Cosmic rays contain particles that were not just protons, neutrons or electrons. Soon there was a zoo of so-called fundamental particles. This is somewhat like the situation in the 19th century when the number of elements in the periodic table was >80. Rather than having >80 different atoms surely there was something more fundamental than the atom.

The standard model

Each generation of particles have the same attributes [or quantum numbers] except increasing mass. The t and b quarks are only created in extremely high energy events and were predicted for reasons of symmetry, i.e. so that the quarks have three generations as do the leptons. Each particle has a corresponding antiparticle.

The large hadron collider [LHC] / CERN

E-fields increase speed of charged particles. B-fields accelerate particles to keep them moving in a circle of constant r. In collisions E = 2

Colliding beams of particles moving in opposite directions transfer more energy to create particles than a single beam hitting a stationary target. Why?

Conservation laws
In all interactions charge mass-energy momentum colour baryon number lepton number conserved In the weak interaction quark flavour is not conserved.

Non SI units / convenience

1 electron-volt [eV] is the work done to a particle with a charge of 1e [1.6x10-19C] passing through a pd of 1V. E = QV = 1.6x10-19C x 1V = 1.6x10-19J 1keV = 1MeV = 1GeV = 103 x 1.6x10-19J = 106 x 1.6x10-19J = 109 x 1.6x10-19J = 1.6x10-16J 1.6x10-13J 1.6x10-10J