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strange matter

Strange matter is matter consisting of atom s whose nuclei contain pairs of particles called strange quark s. Quarks are believed to be elementary particles, in the sense that they cannot be broken down into smaller components. There are several types of quarks, with exotic names such as up quark, down quark, and strange quark. These names were invented to differentiate among quarks with various characteristics.

An atom of normal matter has a nucleus consisting of one or more proton s, and, with the exception of ordinary hydrogen, one or more neutron s. Protons and neutrons are made up of up quarks and down quarks in certain combinations. Strange matter, however, has nuclei that also contain strange quarks. This makes strange matter different from matter in the everyday sense. One of the notable characteristics of strange matter is its extreme density. A fragment of strange matter the size of a biological cell would have a mass of hundreds of kilogram s.

Scientists have produced atoms of strange matter in the laboratory, using a machine called a particle accelerator or atom smasher. Some astronomers believe that strange matter exists in interstellar and intergalactic space, particularly in dense objects such as stars that have spent all their atomic fuel and collapsed under the influence of their own gravitation. Such stars are optically invisible because they have stopped shining.

If the universe contains many objects made up of strange matter, then there is far more mass in the cosmos than calculations based on visual observations suggest. If the existence of strange matter in large quantities can be proven, the fact could have a profound effect on theories concerning whether or not the universe is dense enough to eventually collapse under its own gravitation.

This was last updated in September 2005

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Hi.

Im an particle-astrophysicist and would like to submit a comment about strange matter (or rather 'strange quark matter' which is the correct term). As the correct term implies, strange quark matter does not consist of nuclei or atoms, but just of quarks bound together in one whole mega-system. Introducing atoms and nuclei is an unnescessary and incorrect way of describing its structure. Strange quark matter behaves like one big atom or nuclei all in itself. Where ordinary nuclei consists of several hadrons (protons and neutrons), each one made up of 3 quarks, strange quark matter consists of a huge amount of quarks bound together in one large mega-system. If this system contains strange quarks it is called 'strange' quark matter. If not, it is simply called quark matter. In fact the phenomenae is easier to grasp than presented here.
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Hi.

I have more comments, and to make my point clearer I present it here as a seperate post.

The objects that /with very high certainty) contains quark matter is neutron stars. What is more uncertain is if this quark matter would be strange quark matter or just ordinary quark matter and is is still heavily investigated if this hypothetical strange quark matter would be stable in itself in free space outside the extreme environment of a neutron star. Ie if sqm (strange quark matter) could even exist in interstellar space at all or if it would instantly decay.

Wether or not sqm exists or is stable in free space it has not a great influence on what we describe as dark matter. So the last part of the article is unnecessary and in fact wrong. In fact the material of which dense objects (or rather 'compact objects' which is the correct term) is composed does not contribute to the dark matter in the Universe either. Whatever the dark matter in this Universe is, it is not composed of sqm, qm or compact objects. It will be too big a bite to go into the details of dark matter here, but wikipedia is a very good source of information on this highly interesting and lively subject.

Thnak you for your time and attention...
Lasse Nordal Enevoldsen
Master of Science
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