In research recently published in Physical Review Letters, the STAR collaboration has released the first observations of directed flow of hypernuclei. Xin Dong and Nu Xu, senior scientists in the Relativistic Nuclear Collisions group in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division (NSD), are actively involved in this new research.

Hypernuclei contain several rare and short-lived atomic particles that are thought to be abundant inside neutron stars. The STAR Detector (the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory) allows scientists to recreate unique particle collisions at low energies, and to study the flow patterns of the debris emitted from hypernuclei collisions. Researchers are studying these collisions and the subsequent behavior of hypernuclei (compared with ordinary nuclei) in an attempt to understand more about the structure of neutron stars, and to advance neutron star models.

According to Dong, “The conditions in a neutron star may still be far from what we reach at this moment in the laboratory, but at this stage it’s the closest we can get. By comparing our data from this laboratory environment to our theories, we can try to infer what happens in the neutron star.”

Learn More

First Measurements of Hypernuclei Flow at RHIC
May 26, 2023 / Brookhaven National Laboratory (press release)

Observation of Directed Flow of Hypernuclei 3ΛH and 4ΛH in √sNN = 3 GeV Au + Au Collisions at RHIC
May 24, 2023 / Physical Review Letters