Can there be anything smaller than quarks?

How is our matter structured?

Maybe they are from chemistry Molecules known, which are composed of atoms.
An example of a molecule is water, which is composed of two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms.
But molecules are not the smallest building blocks of our matter because they are made up of them Atoms put together.


But are the atoms the smallest building blocks, as their name (Greek atomos, indivisible) suggests ???
The answer is: NO!


Today we know that our matter is made up of even smaller building blocks. You can see which of these are in the following structure:

So you can say:
Our matter consists of the basic building blocks up-quark, down-quark, electron and neutrino.



What can one say about the individual stages of the structure of matter?



A compound of several atoms is called molecule. Molecules are on the order of 10-9m.

All of our matter and the whole universe are made up of atoms and molecules.

The particles of radioactive alpha radiation are an important atomic composition. They are helium atomic nuclei, which consist of two protons and two neutrons.

The atomic nucleus forms together with the indivisible, electrically negatively charged Electrons the atom. The electrons that have an electrical charge of -1e are on circular shells around the atomic nucleus. In a normal atom, their number is equal to the number of protons in the nucleus, so that the atom is electrically neutral to the outside. If an atom has fewer electrons than protons, it is called ion. Atoms are on the order of 10-10m.

The Atomic nucleus consists of protons and neutrons and is on the order of 10-14m. It is electrically positively charged to the outside.

The core building blocks proton and neutron is also known as Nucleons. They are on the order of 10-15m. The number of protons in the nucleus depends on which element the atomic nucleus belongs to. The number of neutrons is usually equal to or greater than the number of protons.

The fact that the atom consists of a very small nucleus with a lot of empty space around it was discovered by the physicist E. Rutherford in 1909. In his experiment, he shot a very thin gold foil with alpha particles, i.e. radiation particles from radioactive radiation. In doing so, he discovered that almost all the jet particles flew through the foil, but a few were thrown back as if they had hit a massive body. This was the nucleus of the atom. The other particles had flown through the gold foil without reacting with the gold atoms.
There is also a simulation from the University of Würzburg, which can bring you closer to the test procedure. You can find this on the WWW at the following address: under the title:
"Repetition for atomic physics - basic atomic models"; Here you can download a program with the simulation.


The core building blocks or nucleons consist of quarks.They have the following combination of three quarks:

Proton: 2 up quarks + 1 down quark
Neutron: 1 up quark + 2 down quarks

The Up-Quark and the Down quark, d and u for short, are the original building blocks that make up the core building blocks, the protons and the neutrons. You are less than 10-18m.
They have the following electrical charges:

Up quark: + 2/3 e
Down quark: - 1/3 e

This results in an electrical charge of +1 for the protone, and the neutron is electrically neutral.

Quarks cannot be found on their own, they only ever appear in connections in front of two or three quarks, as is the case with nucleons.

There is another basic element that appears in the construction scheme. It is about that neutrino. This particle is not directly involved in the structure of matter. It is electrically neutral and practically never reacts with matter. However, it is necessary for energy conservation in the case of radioactive beta decay, for example, which will be explained later. There are very many of these neutrinos, whose mass is known to this day only that it is either very small or equal to zero. For example, they come from the sun in the form of cosmic radiation to earth and fly through your head by the thousands at any moment. However, they remain unnoticed by you and do not leave any damage behind.

In addition to the construction scheme above, there are there is still an analogous construction scheme in the world of Antiparticle. These antiparticles are particles of the same size and mass as our "normal" particles. The only difference is that they have opposite charges. This means that e.g. the antiproton has an electrical charge of -1. That way you can get a complete Antiworld from antimatter to introduce. Fortunately for us, there is only matter around us, as it is well known that opposing charges are formed attract. If matter and antimatter now collide, they would be radiated, since all mass would be converted into energy. That would mean that we and the entire universe did not exist.
You can visualize this in such a way that if you were to shake hands with your Antiich, you would both immediately radiate into energy!

Now that you know the basic building blocks of matter, it now makes sense if you yourself some Reaction pictureslooking out of the bubble chambers and particle detectors.

Now another follows quiz, in which you can test whether you understand and apply what you have learned so far.


Back to top