# Is a lone quark possible?

by nikkkom
Tags: lone, quark
 P: 611 I get the idea of confinement, and how it is impossible to separate a lone quark from a baryon: it needs more energy than creation of two more quarks, so the latter happens first, and you end up with having created a (color-neutral) meson. However, I don't see what prevents free quarks from appearing out of primordial quark-gluon plasma: Whereas quark-gluon plasma is color-neutral on average, when it cools and "quenches" into baryons, the quarks group into color triplets *randomly*. Even if a volume of cubic meter (or a cubic light year) of q-g plasma is strictly color neutral (it is possible to pair up (or is it triple-up?) all quarks into baryons with no leftovers), it is extremely unlikely quarks would manage to do that *randomly*. Imagine that all of quarks successfully combined into baryons except three quarks (one red, one green, one blue) because there is small problem: they are on the order of 100 light days apart from each other. Why? Because quarks aren't sentient, they can't "plan" how to carefully pair up to avoid such a fk-up. The cubic light year is still perfectly color neutral as a whole. However, it contains three quarks which for all practical purposes are lone quarks. What am I missing?
 PF Gold P: 6,325 Hm ... that's an interesting question. I have no idea but your logic seems sound to me. On the other hand, I remember that even Joyce had them in triplets
 P: 42 oooo very curious as to the possibilities of this question. *follows thread for answers*
 P: 9 Is a lone quark possible? You might find this interesting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark%...l_introduction If I understand it correctly, the theory predicted free quarks and gluons but in reality they couldn't do it in modern accelerators due to some ''remnant effects of confinement'', which I guess are still unknown?
 Mentor P: 11,889 As long as the quarks are not paired, you still have a plasma. A local imbalance of quark colors (where does it come from?) would quickly get cancelled by color flow from other parts of the plasma.
Thanks
P: 4,160
 Quote by mfb A local imbalance of quark colors (where does it come from?) would quickly get cancelled by color flow from other parts of the plasma.
But "quickly cancelled" does not make "color imbalance" and "color flow" any less interesting!
 Thanks P: 1,948 The thing that causes quark confinement is the fact that the attractive force between unpaired (un-tripled) quarks does not drop with the distance. That means that even though quarks are not sentient, they can find each other over extremely large distances. There will be no f--- up.
Thanks
P: 4,160
 Quote by dauto The thing that causes quark confinement is the fact that the attractive force between unpaired (un-tripled) quarks does not drop with the distance. That means that even though quarks are not sentient, they can find each other over extremely large distances. There will be no f--- up.
Perhaps, but I remain unconvinced. We're talking about such a high-energy regime for QCD that there's no supporting evidence. I don't dispute that color differences will quickly be resolved, but on a short enough time-scale there may be some interesting things happening.
Mentor
P: 11,889
 Quote by Bill_K I don't dispute that color differences will quickly be resolved, but on a short enough time-scale there may be some interesting things happening.
 Mentor P: 16,353 The whole premise is off. Consider the following 1D argument with magnetic poles: N (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) S you could also say "Look! It's leaving two monopoles unpaired far away!" But what would actually happen is a re-paring. [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S]
P: 611
 Quote by Vanadium 50 The whole premise is off. Consider the following 1D argument with magnetic poles: N (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) (S N) S you could also say "Look! It's leaving two monopoles unpaired far away!" But what would actually happen is a re-paring. [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S] [N S]
Yes. But imagine that the line in your pic is very long. Such a re-pairing still cannot propagate faster than light - the particles do not magically know they need to re-pair, and how exactly they need to do that. (edit:) It is analogous to the movement of an electron and a somewhat distant hole in the semiconductor. Holes definitely don't move faster than light.

As long as it did not complete, you will have "free" quarks.
 P: 517 I thought quarks were the ends of strings so couldn't exist on their own. It would be like my shoe lace only having one end! Is this not right?
Thanks
P: 4,160
This question is discussed (but not resolved!) in this paper. (The author is a member of the ALICE team)

 The problem, which does not manifest itself during creation of QGP but only during the transition back to hadrons, consists in the fact that simultaneous hadronization in regions separated by space-like intervals must in some cases lead to single quarks left at the borders between hadronization domains because there is no way to synchronize this process without violating causality.
To me, the third of his possible solutions ("hadron resonance matter") sounds the most likely.
PF Gold
P: 6,325
 Quote by Jilang I thought quarks were the ends of strings so couldn't exist on their own. It would be like my shoe lace only having one end! Is this not right?
Strings are still a mythical beast, believed by theoretical physicists to exist but never actually seen in the wild, much less in domestication.
Thanks
P: 1,948
 Quote by phinds Strings are still a mythical beast, believed by theoretical physicists to exist but never actually seen in the wild, much less in domestication.
Jilang is not talking about the same kind of string you're thinking about. What Jilang is talking about is a filament of quark-gluon plasma that connects the quarks keeping them from becoming free quarks. You're thinking about string theory. Those are two completely different beasts.
PF Gold
P: 6,325
 Quote by dauto Jilang is not talking about the same kind of string you're thinking about. What Jilang is talking about is a filament of quark-gluon plasma that connects the quarks keeping them from becoming free quarks. You're thinking about string theory. Those are two completely different beasts.
Ah ... I didn't realize that. Thank you.
 P: 898 But still, the pairing of the magnets is not so weird even if the sides are not spacelike separated. I mean the N and S parts don't connect with each other but with their neighbors... So the endpoint S doesn't look at the other endpoint N, but with its neighbouring N... In order to fill in the separation for a compact thing, you will have to fill in the distances accordingly and you will end up with N.... am I wrong? As for strings, that's the initial use of string theory in physics... (if someone wants to check it out, he can have a look at Prof. G. t'Hoft 's lecture notes on string/superstring theory)