Scientists have found a way to "see" inside the deutrons, the simplest atomic nuclei, to better understand the "cloud" that binds the building blocks of matter. Scientists have encountered photons with deutrons, which consist of only one proton associated with one neutron. In this process, photons act as an X-ray. This gives scientists a sense of how the gluons are located inside the deutron. Such collisions can also tear the deutron apart: so physics understands what holds the proton and the neutron together.
In a new study, scientists from STAR Collection examined existing data on deutron and gold collisions at the relativist collider of heavy ions, a U.S. Department of Energy user site. In RHIC researchers can use photons surrounding rapidly moving gold ions to study the role of gluons. By studying the dynamics of gluons in the deutron, the simplest nuclear core, scientists can understand how the distribution and behaviour of gluons as particles of power changes as the core becomes more complex.
In the RHIC collisions studied in this work, scientists used the STAR detector to track how much impulse was transmitted from gluons to particles created by these interactions within the deutron. Because this pulse transmission is related to where the gluons are located inside the core, the physicists used this data to map the distribution of gluons in the deutron. In addition, each photon-gluon interaction also rejects the deutron and sometimes breaks it apart. STAR tracked the "neutron-observatives" that emerged as a result of this decay to learn more about how the gluons hold these kernels together.
By studying the deutron, the simplest core in nature, scientists get an idea of the more complex atomic nuclei that make up almost all the visible matter in the universe. Such research helps explain how the nuclei come from quarks and gluons, and how the masses of kernels are produced dynamically by gluons. The Deutrons also play an important role in the production of energy within the Sun, which begins with the merger of two protons into deutrons. The study of deutrons can help scientists understand the thermonuclear reactions and help to recreate them here on Earth to produce clean electricity.
Understanding the role of gluons in nuclear matter will be the focus of an electronic-ion collider, a new facility that is in the planning stage at the Brooklyn National Laboratory. EIC will use electron-generated photons to study the distribution of gluons within protons and kernels, as well as to study the force that holds protons and neutrons together, forming kernels.