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Atoms with Pear-Shaped Nuclei

Maybe these atoms need to go on a diet; they're a bit pear-shaped!

Physicists have found that the certain atoms have pear-shaped nuclei at their centers, and it may be a good place to look for new types of physics:

The findings could help scientists search for physics beyond the Standard Model, said Witold Nazarewicz, a theoretical nuclear physicist at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who was not involved in the study.

Specifically, the pear-shaped nucleus could provide a good place to search for an electric dipole moment, or an asymmetrical distribution of positive and negative charge inside neutrons. An electric dipole moment would provide a way to test extension theories to the Standard Model, such as supersymmetry, which could help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

"There are strong theoretical suggestions that in nuclei that have those pearlike shapes, that this electric dipole moment can be very large," Nazarewicz told LiveScience. "These systems are very good hunting grounds for future searches for this dipole moment."

Tia Ghose of LiveScience has the post: Link


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