ExoHad received funding

The ExoHad project has just been funded with 1.8 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy, within the program "Topical Theory Collaborations in Nuclear Physics", which aims at solving challenging and complex issues central to advancing knowledge in nuclear physics. The effort brings together the world’s top nuclear theorists to advance theoretical frameworks for the accurate prediction of nuclear interactions and properties of nuclear matter.

The PI of ExoHad is Adam Szczepaniak from Indiana University. The project explores the physics of exotic hadrons — a largely unexplored group of subatomic particles governed by rules that still need to be discovered. Of the Department of Energy’s award, $1.8 million supports ExoHad, which includes collaborators from across the world.

“We are excited to work on these very important issues, which may ultimately provide us with a better understanding of matter itself,” said Szczepaniak. “We are expecting a lot of novel phenomena that we have not seen yet, even though we cannot predict exactly what those will be.”

While nuclear physics examines particles at an incredibly small scale, it can have a big impact — helping advance understanding of the universe itself. Having a thorough understanding of nuclear physics can lead to advancements in many fields, including medicine or climatology, Szczepaniak said.

To better understand exotic hadron physics, Szczepaniak’s project brings together three teams: one conducting experiments, one developing theory and numerical simulations, and one that will combine the results of experiments with predictions from the calculations. The researchers’ approach emphasizes the need for common tools, based on hadron scattering amplitudes, to simultaneously analyze experimental data and numerical simulation. They hope their approach will allow for a more robust determination of the spectrum of exotic hadron resonances.

"The exotic hadrons that the collaboration is hoping to unravel are expected to contain many gluons, which are the most mysterious particles know in physics,” Szczepaniak said. “They only exist deep inside atomic nuclei and are responsible for over 95 percent of visible matter in the universe, but how this happens is still a mystery.”