The existence of anomalons, fragments of atomic nuclei that interact with other nuclei more readily than expected, is a highly controverted topic. If anomalons exist, they could represent a previously unknown and highly reactive state of nuclear matter.
Some experimenters claim to have found them; others claim not. Up to now most physicists on both sides have agreed that anomalous behavior occurs only for fairly large nuclear fragments. Now there is a claim of anomalous behavior by alpha particles, fragments consisting of only two protons and two neutrons. Seven physicists from Jadavpur University in Calcutta, Dipak Ghosh, Jaya Roy, Dipak Banerjee, Anuradha Dutta, Ranjan Sengupta, Kaushik Sengupta and Sadhan Naha, did the experiment. They report it in the Feb.
4 PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS. Working at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Studies in Dubna, USSR, they irradiated a nuclear emulsion with energetic carbon 12 nuclei. As the carbon 12 nuclei struck nuclei in the emulsion, the carbon 12 nuclei shattered. Some of the fragments were alpha particles, and some of these, according to the experiment, showed the anomalously reactive behavior.