Strangelet - Theoretical Possibility - Relationship With Nuclei

Relationship With Nuclei

A nucleus is a collection of a large number of up and down quarks, confined into triplets (neutrons and protons). According to the strange matter hypothesis, strangelets are more stable than nuclei, so nuclei are expected to decay into strangelets. But this process may be extremely slow because there is a large energy barrier to overcome: as the weak interaction starts making a nucleus into a strangelet, the first few strange quarks form strange baryons, such as the Lambda, which are heavy. Only if many conversions occur almost simultaneously will the number of strange quarks reach the critical proportion required to achieve a lower energy state. This is very unlikely to happen, so even if the strange matter hypothesis were correct, nuclei would never be seen to decay to strangelets because their lifetime would be longer than the age of the universe.

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