The Subsequent Standard Hot Big Bang Stage; the First Particles- Remote Sensing Application - Completely Remote Sensing, GPS, and GPS Tutorial
The Subsequent Standard Hot Big Bang Stage - the First Particles

After the Inflation interval, the behavior of the expanding Universe in the first minute reverts to the Standard Model. Matter was created during this time; this matter makes up two classes - the Fermions (Hadrons and Leptons), and Bosons - force particles that interact with the Fermions.

The Hadrons are made up of smaller particles called quarks (which themselves may consist of even smaller particle called superstrings [discussed near the end of this page]). From 10-34 sec to 10-5 sec the first quarks (see below) co-existed with particles called gluons. A condition called Supersymmetry (discussed near bottom of this page) prevailed but underwent change; dark matter particles (page 20-9) may have been created in this interval.

Before we continue to unfold the first minute, in the next paragraphs, we need to discuss the nature of matter and the interactions between matter and energy. One major source of information on the Fundamental Particles making up matter, and of several illustrations below, is found at the Contemporary Physics Education Project website. So that you can recognize it, the coordinating chart that comes up after you click on this link is reproduced here, even though unreadable (working with the website version can provide a satisfactory size):

The CPEP master chart showing the Fundamental Particles.

These particles participate in the makeup of what is called an atom. The structure of an atom is shown next; discussion of the particles making up atoms then follows:

The general structure of an atom; CPEP illustration.

As we shall shortly note, atoms are composed of particles whose sizes range widely, as summarized in this scale diagram:

The relative sizes of the named particles.

As described above, during the first fraction of a second following the Planck moment incredible events unfolded in rapid succession that led to release of kinetic energy that powered the Universe's development and created the initial stages of radiation. Matter was formed as condensed energy (an E = mc2 transformation)(in the first minute some of the matter decayed back into radiation, releasing neutrinos and other particles). These primitive components of matter (or more properly, mass****) rapidly organized into a myriad of elementary particles. Examine these diagrams:

Fermions; Leptons; and Quarks; CPEP illustration
Baryons and Anti-Baryons; CPEP illustration.

Consider this further information:

I) the FERMIONS: all particles with quantum spins of 1/2 of odd whole numbers such as 1, 3, 5 (includes protons, electrons, neutrons); they all obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle which states that no two different particles can have the same values of the four quantum numbers QN; these are [1], Principal QN "n"; [2] Azimuthal QN "l"; [3] Magnetic QN "m"; [4] Spin QN 's"). Fermions can be divided into subgroups:

1) The heavier Hadrons (minute particles, consisting of certain QUARK combinations held together by Gluons (massless force particles) permitting strong interactions within atomic nuclei), further subdivided into (a) the Baryons (combinations of three quarks [see 4th paragraph below on this page] that include the familiar protons and neutrons (each about 10-13 cm in size [compared with diameters on the order of 10-8 cm for the classical Bohr atom]) and (b) the Mesons (short-lived heavier particles) families. The two most familiar Baryons are the proton and the neutron, made from up and down quarks (the other 4 quarks do not occur in Hadrons but have been discovered as products released during particle accelerator experiments.) These diagrams depict the quark makeup of a proton and a neutron:

Quarks in a proton.
Quarks in a neutron.

2) The Leptons, even tinier discrete particles that are weakly interacting. They are represented by electrons, tauons, muons, and three types of neutrinos (electron-neutrino; tau-neutrino; muon-neutrino; the discovery of the latter two imply that the neutrino may have a small mass, and if proved could account for some of the missing matter in the Universe talked about later in this Section.

II) BOSONS, the force carrying messenger particles; these have unit [1] spins. Best known of the bosons are the 1) photons (which have zero rest mass) that are quanta ***** of radiant energy responsible for electromagnetic (EM) forces which travel at light speed as oscillatory (sinusoidal) waves and 2) the gluons that bind the nucleus by mitigating against the strong repelling forces therein. A boson that theory says exists, but as yet has not been "found" is 3) the graviton, which transfers the force of gravity (also, at the speed of light). This chart summarizes bosons:

Bosons; CPEP illustration.

Much of the above information is summarized in the chart below. This classification of particles and their interactions is an integral part of the Standard Model for the ways in which matter is put together, which applies to any Big Bang scenario (without the refinements of Inflation) that leads to a broadly homogeneous, isotropic large-scale Universe and is an acceptable summary of what is verifiably known now about the origin of matter and energy (with the caveat that the model is subject to continual modification or revision).

The current Standard Model for elementary particles.
Illustration produced by AAAS, taken from The Economist, Oct. 7-12, 2000, p. 96

In this classification, the major entities are the three families: Quarks (gray), making up the Fermions, and including Baryons; Leptons (orange), and Bosons (brown). The quark particles have generally been discovered and proved to exist from high energy physics experiments using particle accelerators.

A variant of this classification which arranges the mass and force particles according to measured or estimated mass of each type of particle is shown below. In this version, Leptons are considered as classified within a more general category of Fermions. The chart emphasizes the growing belief that mass itself is governed by the relative contribution from the Higgs Boson (see footnote 4 (****). The different masses arise from different interactions of fundamental particles with the Higgs field (of which there may be different sets with different values and properties),

The mass-dependent classification of elementary particles and forces.
From The Dawn of Physics Beyond the Standard Model, by Gordon Kane, Scientific American, June 2003

Quarks were the first (sub)particles to form during the early moments of the first minute. The nomenclature for the 6 quarks are descriptive terms for convenience and carry no special physical significance. There are six types or "flavors" (Up, Strange, etc.), each subject to variants or "colors"; various combinations of quarks give rise to the different nucleons). Quarks have a baryon number of +1/3, charge numbers of +2/3(up) and -1/3(down), and a spin quantum number of 1/2. The two Baryons familiar to most are made of three Quarks: the proton consists of two up (each +2/3) and one down quark (-1/3) for a net charge of 1; the neutron two down and one up quark, for a net charge of 0 (zero). Mesons contain only two Quarks.

Quarks also can have a reverse sign, thus they can organize into anti-protons and anti-neutrons. Other combinations of Quarks lead to more exotic particles; one group includes mesons, which include members such as the pion Π-, consisting of an anti-up quark (-u) and a (d) quark and the kaon K+ made up of a (u) and an (-s) quark. Some of the particles made from quarks apparently exist only when created in particle accelerators. The next diagram and the chart below it document such particles (anti-quarks have a - on top of the letter:

Some of the particles made from two or three quarks.
The quark components of mesons.

According to a Higgs field-based model, protons and neutrons derive their mass from the energy of motion of the quarks and gluons flying within the Higgs field (which, according to theory, pervades the Cosmos) around the nucleus.

The Leptons have much smaller masses and are single particles (not containing the quark subparticles). They are not influenced by the strong nuclear force but can interact through the weak nuclear force. Three of the Leptons (upper row) are neutrinos which have extraordinary penetrating power (one can pass through the entire Earth without interacting or changing); once thought to be massless, evidence now suggests a very small mass.

The force particles (Bosons) are involved with the individual fundamental forces mentioned above. For example, the gluon holds the nucleus of baryons together; Z and W Bosons control the weak nuclear force; photons are the force carriers that are associated with electromagnetic radiation; gravitons transmit the force of gravity. The Higgs Boson has not yet actually been proved to exist (but from theory is considered almost certainly to be real); recent experiments in a European supercollider may have witnessed a few genuine Higgs particles but confirmation will likely await several new supercolliders capable of much higher energies due to come on line before the end of the first decade in 2000. The Higgs Boson is considered to be the force particle that accounts for mass in the fundamental particles that have that property.

Little has been said so far about neutrinos. But these are particles of great importance. They reside in the nucleus and are released during both radioactive decay and nuclear fusion. They are one of the four fundamental particles. They are without electric charge (with an energy of 0.001 eV) (unique in this respect; neutrons, also chargeless, actually consist of a combined proton [+] and electron [-]). Once thought to be massless, much like the photon, experiments have now shown that they travel at less than light speed and hence possess some minute mass (any particle traveling at the speed of light is without mass, i.e., all its mass is converted to energy). They are super-abundant (~100 million of them for every atom in the Universe); more than a trillion pass through your body at any one second. They are ubiquitous: they are a main constituent of cosmic rays; they are produced during the Sun's persistent fusion; they even form by collisions within the atmosphere. Yet, they pass through the full Earth almost unimpeded, rarely interacting with nuclei.

Neutrinos were first proposed in 1936 by Wolfgang Pauli of Quantum Mechanics fame. But their existence was first confirmed in 1956 through an elaborate experiment by Dr. Ray Davis who built a detector consisting of a large vat of cleaning fluid set deep within a South Dakota gold mine. Extremely rare collisions with chlorine in the fluid produced argon. Davis consistently came up with a tiny number (3 argon atoms in a set time span) that was at odds with the model proposed by Dr. John Bahcall of Princeon based on his model of thermonuclear fusion in the Sun, who detected 10 per unit time. The discrepancy was not resolved for decades until it was realized that the neutrinos, which had the three "flavors" mentioned above, actually underwent a transition process (called oscillation) of the original νe or electron neutrino (the only flavor produced in solar fusion) into tau and muon neutrinos, all three in about equal proportions. Since the Davis detector only could count electron neutrinos, the discrepancy was explained. A subsequent detector, a deuterium water vat in a Sudbury, Ontario nickel mine, has proved capable of counting all three flavors, so that both Davis and Bahcall were right insofar as their predictions and counting difference are now explained.

The importance of neutrinos is still not fully understood. They are essential in accounting for energy involved in nuclear processes, so that the Law of Conservation of Energy is sustained. Their role in the Big Bang, and before it, is still being investigated. They may have pre-existed the BB and may be one of the virtual particles. There is growing evidence that a type called the "sterile neutrino" (that is not influenced by the weak force) is involved (and may be the main constituent) in what is known as Dark Matter (see page 20-9). They also are possibly important in determining the imbalance between matter and anti-matter. They are important in the high temperature processes of the initial minutes of the Big Bang because they are factors in some of the possible reactions, especially in the formation of helium, and thus helped to determine the relative abundances of H, He, Li, and Be - those elements that mark the initial composition of the material Universe. The detection of neutrinos (which cannot be measured directly by instruments since they have no charge) is one of the great "detective stories" successes of Physics. Suffice to say that neutrinos, like photons, pervade the Universe from the beginning to the present. After the first second of the Big Bang, they effectively decoupled from other particles and presumably co-exist with the photon Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation as Cosmic Neutrino Background.

Mention is made at this point of a particle, the Tachyon, whose existence has never been proved. Tachyons are theoretical quantum particles which can travel faster that the speed of light (several other conceptual conditions allow for circumstances in which light speed can be exceeded. Their attractiveness is that, should they exist, time travel is made more efficient. To learn more, visit this Wikipedia website.

The Standard Model is itself a great achievement in Astrophysics. When examined rigorously, it is now considered only an approximation to full reality in subatomic physics. It fails, for example, to explain and integrate gravity. Attempts to revise it are leading to what is called the Supersymmetric Standard Model (SSM), mentioned again below. Theoreticians believe that gravity must have its own Boson which they have named the Graviton. Although it most likely exists in some form, its actuality has yet to be proved. It has not yet been found during any of the current particle accelerator experiments (which are also looking for the Higgs Boson, but none now operating may be powerful enough).

Now, returning to the events of the first minute: The history (pattern) of force dissociation during the first second is depicted in this illustration:

Diagram detailing the sequence in the split of the initial four forces during the first minute of the Big Bang.

This next diagram says much the same thing but breaks the forces down into more detail.

The force dissociation history in more detail.

By ~10-35 sec there was a fundamental symmetry break that brought on a split between the GUT forces and the other fundamental force known as gravity, dependent on the Graviton. (Symmetry is a general term that applies to quantities that remain invariant under specified transformations.) At 10-35 second there was a further split of non-gravitational forces into the Strong and the Electroweak (combination of Weak [responsible for radioactivity] and Electromagnetic) forces; the Electroweak pairing then separated into today's EM and Weak forces at about 10-10 sec. From 10-35 to 10-6 sec, matter consisted of the subatomic quarks (Quark Era), and their binding particles, the gluons, present but not yet involved in producing nucleons (protons, neutrons). Temperatures were still too high (1028 K) to foster quark organization into these nucleons. By the start of this interval, at the time when energy levels dropped to about 10-16 GeV, the GUT state underwent dissociation into the Strong nuclear force (binding nuclei) and the Electroweak force. At about 10-9 sec, by which time temperatures had fallen to ~1015 K, the Weak nuclear force (involved in radioactive decay) and the Electromagnetic (EM) force (associated with photon radiation) separated and began to operate independently. Then, by 10-5 seconds, the six fundamental Quarks had organized in combinations of 2 or 3 into hadrons during the brief Hadron Era.. This era lasted only until about 10-4 seconds. There was almost total proton-antiproton and neutron-antineutron annihilation, releasing huge amounts of photons. Surviving protons formed by this time remained stable but some neutrons produced later experienced decay into protons and electrons. This Era was followed at 10-4 seconds, lasting up to one second or so, by the emergence of electrons, neutrinos and other Leptons (Lepton Era) which persisted until about 10 seconds. Thus, prior to 10-5 seconds, quarks had formed almost exclusively, but by the end of the first second of time they were greatly reduced in number as free (unorganized) particles, even as Hadrons, Leptons (especially neutrinos) and photons (the particle carriers of electromagnetic energy) were becoming the dominant products. Until about 10 seconds there was also some electron-positron annihilation. As electrons emerged, some reacted with protons to form neutrons, releasing neutrinos. From this point on, the ratio of Baryons to photons is 1 to a billion (a similar number holds for the ratio of Baryons to neutrinos).

As indicated above, from the GUT stage onward, both matter and antimatter were being created (baryogenesis) simultaneously. By 10-4 sec both quark particles and antiparticles (with opposite charges, e.g., at the Lepton level an anti-electron or positron would have a + charge) that had earlier coexisted had now interacted by mutual annihilation. Neutrinos and antineutrinos released by proton-electron reactions also experienced this destruction. So, at this moment only a residue of elementary particles survived - (almost?) all antiparticles apparently were completely wiped out leaving only some of the numerically larger amounts of particles. This annihilation left the particles that make up the Universe today in slight excess over the completely depleted antiparticles (since the Big Bang quantum theory allows antiparticles to be produced in the vacuum of space but these are eventually destroyed by encounters with particles).

Annihilation is an extremely efficient process for generating the profuse amount of energy released when positrons and electrons meet - destruction of a pair produces 106 electron volts. During the annihilation phase, a great quantity of high energy gamma ray radiation and other energetic photons resulting from the matter-antimatter interactions came to dominate the particles in the incipient Universe. These photons have survived as the Cosmic Background Radiation.

By 10-3 seconds, the temperature had now dropped to 1014 K and the proto-Universe had a diameter roughly the size of our present Solar System. In the next few seconds, temperatures dropped below a level where further antiparticle production took place in abundance. The particles making up the Universe today represent the excess over the very few surviving antiparticles. Most of the latter would have concentrated in near empty space outside any cluster of matter (the stars, galaxies, gas clouds, etc.) - if antiparticles still co-exist in significant amounts in conjunction with the particles we deal with on Earth or in the denser cosmic world, the effects of destruction might be detectable; no evidence that this is going on to a noticeable degree has been found.

At the one second stage, the Universe had already expanded ****** to a diameter of about 1 to 10 light years even as its density had decreased to ~10 kg/cc (kilograms per cubic centimeter), and its temperature had dropped to about 1010 K. By this time all the fundamental particles (essential matter) now in the Universe had be created, largely from the vast quantities of photons (energy "fuel") released during the first second. As of the first minute, about 1 free neutron existed for every seven protons, although all of these neutrons would eventually combine with protons in isotopes and heavier elements. The general excess of protons persisted, making those Hydrogen atom nuclei then and still the most prominent atomic species in the Universe.

Much of what is known about events, conditions, and sequences during the first minute of the Universe has been surmised from theoretical hypotheses and calculations together with high energy experiments. One focus is on the strong force between Quarks, examined using the theory of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). Experimental verification of Quark behavior requires building of Particle Accelerators or Colliders that are major undertakings in terms of costs and technical "know-how". In February, 2000 an announcement from CERN in Geneva claims to have reproduced conditions equivalent to the first ten microseconds (10-6 sec) of the Big Bang. In effect, a "mini-Big Bang" is generated that lasts for much less than a trillionth of a second. To achieve this, the SPS-CERN Accelerator hurls Lead atoms (heavy) in a beam that strikes Lead or Gold targets at tremendous velocities. Momentarily, temperatures at the collision point reach 100,000 times that of the Sun's interior (~1.5 billion C), at which the physicists interpreting the experiment postulated production of a plasma (electrically-charged "gas") emanating from the contact zone that is composed, for a very brief instant, of Quarks and Gluons. These quickly recombine into protons, neutrons, and electrons as the heated material dissipates. Other more recent experiments have carried conditions back to 10-14 second. Energies comparable to those extant during the first moments (earlier than 10-14 sec) are so great that no appropriate experimental setup is feasible for the foreseeable future, and may never be attainable in physics labs on Earth.

New colliders, generating at least 10 times more energy, are coming on line since 2000, so that relevant new experiments will likely confirm the theoretical models that describe the history of the later part of the first minute. Now active is the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) operating at the Brookhaven Laboratory on Long Island. Using high speed Gold nuclei that are driven in opposite directions, collisions now duplicate the conditions representing the first microsecond. At that moment it now appears that the quark-gluon "soup" was liquidlike rather than a gas plasma. Some parameters at this moment are: Energy released = 20000 GeV; Temperature = approaching 6 trillion C; Pressure at impact = 1030 atmospheres; Duration of event = 10-23 sec. In 2008, the Large Hadron Collider came online, operated briefly, but had to shut down for an indefinite period because of a peripheral hardware malfunction involving a few of its magnets. An idea of its size is given by the photo below. More about the LHC, the world's largest, is found at this Wikipedia website.

Part of the Large Hadron Collider.

There is one fundamental topic that we've mentioned only in passing on this page: the two main categories of constituents of the physical Universe - Dark Matter (23%) and Dark Energy (73%) - which together with Ordinary Matter (4%) comprise all that is present in the observable Universe. Suffice to say here that the current distribution, percentage-wise, of all these categories was established during the first minute of the BB. The treatment of the two "Dark" types is deferred until page 20-9 and 20-10 in order to develop other cosmological concepts needed to plumb the meaning and implications of the categories.

We close this part of the page by commenting on some other topics in Big Bang expansion. Newer models treating aspects of the physics and mechanisms of expansion during the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang have been proposed (see below) and the theory behind each is currently being tested experimentally. We will cite and briefly describe three of the most intriguing at the moment, but will forego any in-depth explanation:

1) Primordial Chaos: which postulates that in the earliest stages of the Big Bang the distribution and behavior of matter and energy in the incipient Universe was notably disordered and inhomogeneous, irregular, and turbulent, with variations in temperature and other scalar (non-directional) properties, anisostropic expansion rates, and other disturbances in the initial conditions within various parts of the rapidly changing microverse (a variant, called the Mixmaster model, considers the expansion to oscillate into a few momentary contractions at the outset). As the Universe grew both during Inflation and afterwards, these irregularities were smoothed out, leading to the gross isotropy of the present Universe; one version assumes a cold rather than very hot initial state;

2) Supersymmetry: a symmetry property which states that for every Fermion (quantum spin of 1/2) there must be a corresponding force-carrying Boson (quantum spin of 1), called a sparticle of the appropriate kind; likewise each Boson has a corresponding Fermion sparticle; thus, in this model the number of particles that exist is doubled; the concept predicts that there must be some subatomic particles still to be discovered if this pairing is valid); these supersymmetric particles are heavier than normal particles and may be a major constituent of Dark Matter (page 20-9). The Supersymmetry Standard Model (SSM) is proving to be a plausible means for simplifying the broken symmetry problems that beset the Standard Model;

3) Extra Dimensions: Such as those associated with Superstring theory; (discussed near the bottom of this page).