A new type of exotic particle appears to have been created fleetingly at an accelerator in Germany, reveal physicists.

The particle, comprised of five quarks, is only the second type of “pentaquark” seen since the first was reported in summer 2003. And already its properties are puzzling theorists.

Quarks are the sub-atomic building blocks of everyday matter – protons and neutrons each contain three quarks, and ephemeral mesons two. But a 30-year theory called quantum chromodynamics predicts even larger groupings can exist, however briefly, and in 2003 scientists created particles that seemed to be made up of four and five quarks apiece.

Quarks and their anti-matter counterparts come as six different types called up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top. Several hundred types of particles, made of different combinations of quark types, have been produced to date.

More here.