CMS reaffirms exotic nature of the X(3872)

25 September 2020

A report from the CMS experiment

Fig. 1.

Exotic charmonium-like states are a very active field of study at the LHC. These states have atypical properties such as non-zero electric charges and strong decays that violate isospin symmetry. The exotic X(3872) charmonium state discovered by the Belle collaboration in 2003 displays such isospin-violating strong decays and has a natural width of about 1 MeV, which is unexpectedly narrow for a state with mass very close to the D*0D0 threshold.

Luciano Maiani and collaborators pointed out that the new CMS measurement can naturally be explained by a tetraquark model of X(3872)

Several theoretical interpretations of the internal structure of these charmonium-like states have been proposed to explain their peculiar properties. To choose the most adequate model for each state, we must continue studying their properties and improving the determination of their parameters. As for the X(3872), although it is inconsistent with the predicted conventional charmonium states and does not have a definite isospin, its production partially resembles that of ordinary charmonium states such as ψ(2S) or χc1(1P). One of the ways to evaluate the degree of similarity between X(3872) and ψ(2S) is to compare their production rates in exclusive b-hadron decays. In the case of ψ(2S), which is a conventional charmonium state, the branching fractions of the decays B0s → ψ(2S)φ, B+ → ψ(2S)K+, and B0 → ψ(2S)K0, are approximately equal to each other. Recent CMS measurements of the corresponding rates for decays to X(3872) show differences, however, which may provide a clue to the nature of this exotic charmonium-like state.

Recently the CMS collaboration observed the decay B0s → X(3872)φ for the first time, with a significance exceeding five standard deviations. The X(3872) is reconstructed via its decay to J/ψπ+π, followed by a decay of the J/ψ meson into a pair of muons, and of the φ meson to a pair of charged kaons (figure 1).

Diquark hypothesis

At a simple Feynman-diagram level, this decay is a close analogue to the B+ → X(3872)K+ and B0 → X(3872)K0 decays that have previously been observed. The ratio of the branching fractions of this new B0s decay to that of the B+ decay is significantly below unity at 0.48 ± 0.10, while a similar ratio for the decays involving ψ(2S) is consistent with unity. This is not expected from naive “spectator-quark” considerations, based on a simple tree-level diagram, and assuming X(3872) is a pure charmonium state. The measured ratio also happens to be consistent with the analogous ratio for the B0 → X(3872)K0 to B+ → X(3872)K+ decays, though the latter ratio has not yet been measured with high accuracy. The results suggest that spectator quarks behave differently in the B+ and B0(s) two-body decays into X(3872) and a light meson. In a recent theoretical paper, former CERN Director-General Luciano Maiani and collaborators pointed out that the new CMS measurement can naturally be explained by a tetraquark model of X(3872), which describes this exotic particle as a bound state of a diquark (charm and up quarks) and its anti-diquark.

Further studies of X(3872) are now important in order to gain a deeper understanding of its exotic properties and uncover its mysterious nature. The results may have interesting consequences for our understanding of quantum chromodynamics.

Further reading

CMS Collab. 2020 arXiv:2005.04764.

L Maiani, A D Polosa and V Riquer 2020 arXiv:2005.08764.

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