Observation of the Antimatter Hypernucleus $^4_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$

The STAR Collaboration
Nuclear Experiment, Nuclear Experiment (nucl-ex), High Energy Physics - Experiment (hep-ex)
2023-10-18 16:00:00
Matter-antimatter asymmetry is a research topic of fundamental interest, as it is the basis for the existence of the matter world, which survived annihilation with antimatter in the early Universe. High energy nuclear collisions create conditions similar to the Universe microseconds after the Big Bang, with comparable amounts of matter and antimatter. Much of the antimatter created escapes the rapidly expanding fireball without annihilation, making such collisions an effective experimental tool to create heavy antimatter nuclear objects and study their properties. In this paper, we report the first observation of the antimatter hypernucleus $^4_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$, composed of an $\bar{\Lambda}$, an antiproton and two antineutrons. The discovery was made through its two-body decay after production in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions by the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. In total, 15.6 candidate $^4_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$ antimatter hypernuclei are obtained with an estimated background count of 6.4. Lifetimes of the antihypernuclei $^3_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$ and $^4_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$ are measured and compared with lifetimes of their corresponding hypernuclei, testing the symmetry between matter and antimatter. Various production yield ratios among (anti)hypernuclei and (anti)nuclei are also measured and compared with theoretical model predictions, shedding light on their production mechanism.
PDF: Observation of the Antimatter Hypernucleus $^4_{\bar{\Lambda}}\overline{\hbox{H}}$.pdf
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