Ukrainian scientists contribute to odderon discovery, which confirms new form of matter

On March 16, 2021, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Fermilab Science Center (U.S.) published an article on the discovery of a fundamental particle, which indicates the possibility of the existence of a new form of matter. The TOTEM project participants at the Large Hadron Collider, together with the international group DØ, which worked on the Tevatron collider at the Fermilab Science Center, announced the discovery of the odderon, a bound state of three fundamental particles called gluons. Its existence was predicted about 50 years ago, but it remained elusive to physicists.

It marks a hitherto unknown state of gluons. The particles are considered carriers of strong interactions. They are studied by a separate discipline: quantum chromodynamics. In the theory of quantum chromodynamics, gluons are regarded as carriers of strong interactions, have a “color charge,” and can form bound states. The existence of such a state was predicted back in 1973, at the beginning of the discipline’s development.

Over the years, there have been numerous failed attempts to detect odderon experimentally. The latest study, which led to the discovery of the odderon, involved hundreds of physicists from around the world, including a group of scientists from Ukraine specializing in high-energy physics: Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Volodymyr Aushev, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, founder of Cyber Unit Technologies Yegor Aushev, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Olga Gogota. They co-authored a scientific paper on the discovery, which was co-published by CERN and the Fermilab Center.

The AIN.UA editorial team contacted Volodymyr and Yegor Aushev, who spoke about the discovery and the contribution of the Ukrainian group.

Yegor Aushev during experiments on the Tevatron collider, courtesy of KPI

What exactly did scientists discover?

According to Professor Volodymyr Aushev, the report on this discovery was read at CERN on March 5, 2021. The scientist says the following about the object of research and the essence of the discovery:

“If we try to carry the analogy from the microworld, where this state is observed, over to our ordinary world, it would be like, for example, the discovery of a being that consists only of light and does not contain any atom or electron.

According to modern understanding, protons, and neutrons, which are part of the nuclei of all atoms of matter around us, consist of quarks. Quarks are the most fundamental bricks in the universe, and they are held together by a special “glue,” the so-called gluons. Their properties are described by a theory called quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

According to the theory, gluons play the same role in strong nuclear interactions as photons in electromagnetic interactions in the world as we know it. Only photons are forbidden to create bound states, and gluons are not. Interestingly, the theory does not prohibit individual gluons from interacting with each other. That is, gluons can combine into individual particles without the involvement of quarks or electrons. They are sometimes called ‘glueballs,’ and their varieties are called odderons. The search for these elusive and amazing particles has been going on for almost 50 years across all accelerators around the world,” explains the scientist.

In March 2021, a group of researchers was finally able to announce their research results: the discovery of the odderon.

What was the contribution of Ukrainian scientists to the discovery?

Before constructing the Large Hadron Collider (HAC), the most powerful collider was Tevatron, explains Volodymyr Aushev. Scientists and students from Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, official participants of DØ international collaboration, took part in the measurements on Tevatron. They have been looking for odderons for many years at the HERA electron-proton collider (Germany) and in collaboration with Professor Laszlo Jenkovszky (Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics).

For many years, Ukrainian scientists and students traveled to the Fermilab Science Center (U.S.) to conduct experiments on Tevatron, working on proton and antiproton beams.

“The HAC works with the collision of proton beams with protons. The contribution of odderon to the scattering processes has the opposite sign on these colliders. Therefore, the effect of the presence of odderons could be detected only by comparing the data of the HAC and Tevatron. Comparison of such different combinations of beams has now made it possible to provide conclusive evidence of the existence of odderons, which consist of three gluons,” explains the scientist.

After comparing the results of many years of measurements and experiments, CERN and Fermilab released a joint publication describing odderons’ discovery.

“Working on my dissertation on high-energy physics, I repeatedly visited the Fermilab International Scientific Center, where I participated in experiments on the Tevatron collider, then successfully defended my dissertation, and now I am in the cybersecurity business. It is nice to wake up one day and understand that my research also helped to make such a grand discovery, which top physicists have already dubbed the major discovery by CERN and Fermilab,” says Yegor Aushev.

Why it is important

It is a remarkable discovery that is essential to understanding fundamental interactions (interactions between elementary particles). Ukrainian scientists took part in the research. They are among the co-authors of the submission describing this discovery, and it helps promote Ukrainian science in the world.