Scientists believe they could have discovered a "brand-new pressure of nature" at CERN's Large Hadron Collider that could clarify why certain atomic particles behave unexpectedly and which might transform our understanding the rudiments of physics.
Authors of the study said this week that their results should "get physicists' hearts beating only a little faster" after they uncovered evidence of a "brand-new" kind of particle.
Since its inception over ten years ago, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has sought to explore the secrets of the universe by studying the tiniest discreet particles of matter because they collide at nearly the speed of light.
Aside from the discovery of the Higgs Boson -- a good previously theoretical particle that provides matter mass -- the project features so far didn't shed much light how the inspiration of matter function.
According to the standard style of particle physics, particles known as quarks, many of which happen to be unstable and exist only for a split-second, can develop heavier particles such as for example protons and neutrons.
Quarks may also decay into other particles referred to as leptons -- including so-called "beauty" quarks -- that have been learned at the LHCb in 2014.
The anomaly spotted at the time was that the quarks seemed to also decay into another type of lepton -- muons -- less often than they decayed into electrons.
The standard model predicts that beauty quarks would decay into muons at the same rate because they do into electrons.
"The only method these decays can happen at different rates is if some people never-before-seen particles were getting mixed up in decay and tipping the scales against muons," wrote the authors of this week's exploration on The Conversation site.
Until recently there was not enough data to tell you for sure what was occurring in the LHC.
In 2019, scientists re-ran the 2014 experiment on beauty quarks again with extra input gathered in the intervening years.
The dataset has doubled, and the team poring over it worked "blind" -- they couldn't start to see the result until all procedures have been reviewed -- to avoid any accidental interpretation bias.
When the result finally arrived, the data revealed that there were around 85 muon decays for each and every 100 electron decays.
The authors said there is only a one-in-a-thousand chance of the effect occurring randomly -- not enough to prove the existence of an as-yet unknown particle, but strong evidence in favor of its existence.
The authors offered several possible explanations.
First of all, the varying decay rate could be the consequence of a "Z prime" particle, essentially a fresh force of nature.
"This force will be extremely weak, which is why we haven't seen any indicators of it as yet, and would connect to electrons and muons differently," they wrote.
Another possibility is the currently hypothetical "lyptoquark", which can decay quarks and leptons simultaneously and which "could possibly be part of a larger puzzle that explains why we see the particles that people do in nature".
Chris Parkes, LHCb spokesman from the University of Manchester and CERN, said that if the effects were confirmed "it could need a new physical process, like the living of new fundamental particles or interactions".
The researchers said that further experimentation was had a need to confirm the results.
But if the info are borne out, they said they would have evidence of "section of the much larger picture that lies beyond the typical model, which ultimately could allow us to unravel any number of established mysteries."