19 July 2024
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The Quest for Magnetic Monopoles at the Large Hadron Collider

The search for magnetic monopoles, elusive particles with a singular magnetic charge, has been a fascinating pursuit in the realm of particle physics. These hypothetical particles, predicted by various theories that go beyond the Standard Model, have captured the interest of scientists for decades. The MoEDAL collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been at the forefront of this quest, making significant strides in narrowing down the search window for these enigmatic entities.

Understanding Magnetic Monopoles and Their Production

Magnetic monopoles, as the name suggests, are particles that possess a magnetic charge, similar to how a single pole of a magnet exists in isolation. The production of these particles can occur in various ways within the high-energy environment of the LHC. In collisions between protons, magnetic monopoles can be generated through processes like the Drell–Yan mechanism or the fusion of virtual photons. Additionally, in near-miss heavy-ion collisions, magnetic monopoles can emerge from the vacuum via the Schwinger mechanism, facilitated by the intense magnetic fields created during such interactions.

The MoEDAL Experiment and Latest Findings

Since its inception in 2012, the MoEDAL collaboration has made significant contributions to the search for magnetic monopoles. In their recent studies, the team focused on detecting monopoles and high-electric-charge objects (HECOs) produced through different mechanisms. Utilizing the full MoEDAL detector, equipped with systems sensitive to magnetic monopoles and HECOs, the researchers scanned data from proton-proton collisions during Run 2 of the LHC. While no magnetic monopoles or HECOs were found, the team was able to set bounds on the mass and production rates of these particles, excluding the existence of monopoles with masses up to 3.9 trillion electronvolts and HECOs up to 3.4 TeV.

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Implications and Future Prospects

The implications of the MoEDAL collaboration’s findings are profound, as they provide crucial insights into the theoretical landscape surrounding magnetic monopoles and HECOs. By ruling out certain mass ranges and production rates, the experiment has effectively narrowed down the possibilities for these elusive particles. Moreover, the team’s focus on the Schwinger mechanism in heavy-ion collisions has yielded important mass limits on composite monopoles, shedding light on the potential existence of these particles.

In the future, the MoEDAL detector will be augmented by the MoEDAL Apparatus for Penetrating Particles (MAPP), enhancing the experiment’s capabilities in the search for new particles. This expansion will enable the team to cast an even broader net in their exploration of the fundamental properties of magnetic monopoles and related phenomena. Through continued experimentation and analysis, the quest for magnetic monopoles at the LHC remains a captivating journey into the realms of particle physics and theoretical exploration.

Links to additional Resources:

1. https://home.cern/news/news/accelerators/large-hadron-collider-experiment-zeroes-magnetic-monopoles 2. https://physics.aps.org/tags/magnetic%20monopoles 3. https://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/magnetic-monopoles-elude-large-hadron-collider

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Magnetic monopoles, MoEDAL experiment, Large Hadron Collider

Magnetic monopole
In particle physics, a magnetic monopole is a hypothetical elementary particle that is an isolated magnet with only one magnetic pole (a north pole without a south pole or vice versa). A magnetic monopole would have a net north or south "magnetic charge". Modern interest in the concept stems from...
Read more: Magnetic monopole

MoEDAL experiment
MoEDAL (Monopole and Exotics Detector at the LHC) is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Read more: MoEDAL experiment

Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008 in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and hundreds of universities and laboratories across more than 100 countries. It lies in a tunnel...
Read more: Large Hadron Collider

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