Quarks Pair Up in Protons (and Neutrons)
Ordinarily, physicists generally think of protons and neutrons as each containing three “valence” quarks, i.e. quarks that determine the charge of the proton or neutron. When they visualize the structure, they usually imagine these three quarks to be more-or-less on equal footing. Even so, puzzling data from an experiment carried out 40 years ago was thought to suggest that two of the quarks cluster together into what is called a diquark. However, there has been very little experimental evidence since then to support this idea - perhaps until now.
Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.