We explore the possibility that novel geometrical structures analogous to carbon fullerenes may exist in Nature on the femtometre scale. The theory of strong interactions, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) predicts the existence of special topological gluon field configurations called baryon junctions and anti-junctions. Here we show that femto-scale structures, networks or closed (gluon field) cages, can be constructed in the theory of QCD as tiny cousins of familiar nano-scale structures such as carbonic fullerenes C60, C70. The most symmetric polyhedra of QCD junctions (J-balls) are characterized by the 'magic numbers' 8, 24, 48 and 120, and zero net baryon number. Tubes, prisms, tori and other topological structures can also be created. In addition, special configurations can be constructed that are odd under charge and parity conjugation (CP), although the QCD Lagrangian is CP even. We provide a semiclassical estimate for the expected mass range of QCD buckyballs and discuss the possible conditions under which such novel topological excitations of the QCD vacuum may be produced in experiments of high-energy physics.
|Journal||Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics