E06-103: Kaon Photoproduction on the Deuteron Using Polarized Photons
This experiment is part of a program to search for nucleon resonances which are expected within standard quark models but which are mysteriously undiscovered.
Nucleons, the familiar protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom, each contain three spinning quarks. These quarks may be "up" or "down" quarks. Nucleons can be converted into new particles, called nucleon resonances, by giving them extra energy. The extra energy excites one or more of the quarks to form a new short-lived particle. This resonance state doesn't last very long before it decays - giving up the extra energy by spitting out a new particle and returning to its original identity.
This experiment aims to produce new nucleon resonances that have been predicted by theory but have never been seen before. In particular, the scientists conducting this experiment are looking for resonances that spit out particles that contain another flavor of quark not present in the original nucleon: a "strange" quark.