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Short description: Nucleus which contains at least one hyperon

A hypernucleus is a nucleus which contains at least one hyperon (a baryon carrying the strangeness quantum number) in addition to the normal protons and neutrons. The strangeness quantum number is conserved by the strong and electromagnetic interactions, a variety of reactions give access to depositing one or more units of strangeness in a nucleus. Hypernuclei containing the lightest hyperon, the Lambda, live long enough to have sharp nuclear energy levels. Therefore, they offer opportunities for nuclear spectroscopy, as well as reaction mechanism study and other types of nuclear physics (hypernuclear physics).


The first was discovered by Marian Danysz and Jerzy Pniewski in 1952 using the nuclear emulsion technique, based on their energetic but delayed decay. They have also been studied by measuring the momenta of the K and pi mesons in the direct strangeness exchange reactions.

Hall C[1] and Hall A[2] of the US Jefferson National Laboratory (JLab), in Newport News, Virginia, are currently involved among other international laboratories in research on the hypernuclei.[3]


Hypernuclei can be made by a nucleus capturing a Lambda or a K meson and boiling off neutrons in a compound nuclear reaction, or, perhaps most easily, by the direct strangeness exchange reaction.

Kaon + nucleus → Pion + hypernucleus


Hypernuclear physics differs from that of normal nuclei because a hyperon, having a non-zero strangeness quantum number, can share space and momentum coordinates with the usual four nucleon states that can differ from each other in spin and isospin. That is, they are not restricted by the Pauli exclusion principle from any single-particle state in the nucleus. The ground state of helium-5-Lambda, for example, must resemble helium-4 more than it does helium-5 or lithium-5 and must be stable, apart from the eventual weak decay of the lambda with a mean lifetime of 278±11 ps.[4] Sigma hypernuclei have been sought,[5] as have doubly-strange nuclei containing cascade baryons.

Samanta formula

A generalized mass formula has been developed for both the non-strange normal nuclei and strange hypernuclei can estimate masses of hypernuclei containing Lambda, Lambda-Lambda, Sigma, Cascade and Theta+ hyperon(s).[6][7] The neutron and proton driplines for hypernuclei are predicted and existence of some exotic hypernuclei beyond the normal neutron and proton driplines are suggested.[8] This generalized mass formula was named the "Samanta formula" by Botvina and Pochodzalla and used to predict relative yields of hypernuclei in multifragmentation of nuclear spectator matter.[9]Template:Jargon inline

See also


  1. "Hall C Information". 
  2. "Experimental Hall A". 
  3. Nakamura, Satoshi N (23 Aug 2005). "Introduction". Jefferson Lab. 
  4. Gal, A.; Hungerford, E. V.; Millener, D. J. (26 August 2016). "Strangeness in nuclear physics". Reviews of Modern Physics 88 (3). doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.88.035004. 
  5. M. May (1994). "Recent results and directions in hypernuclear and kaon physics". in A. Pascolini. PAN XIII: Particles and Nuclei. World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-02-1799-0. 
  6. C. Samanta (2006). "Mass formula from normal to hypernuclei". Proceedings of the Carpathian Summer School of Physics 2005. World Scientific. pp. 29. ISBN 978-981-270-007-0. 
  7. C. Samanta, P. Roy Chowdhury, D.N.Basu (2006). "Generalized mass formula for non-strange and hyper nuclei with SU(6) symmetry breaking". Journal of Physics G 32 (3): 363–373. doi:10.1088/0954-3899/32/3/010. Bibcode2006JPhG...32..363S. 
  8. C. Samanta, P. Roy Chowdhury and D.N.Basu (2008). "Lambda hyperonic effect on the normal driplines". Journal of Physics G 35 (6): 065101–065110. doi:10.1088/0954-3899/35/6/065101. Bibcode2008JPhG...35f5101S. 
  9. A.S. Botvina; J. Pochodzalla (2007). "Production of hypernuclei in multifragmentation of nuclear spectator matter". Physical Review C 76 (2): 024909–024912. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.76.024909. Bibcode2007PhRvC..76b4909B.