Video: Possible Baryons according to Quarks Color Charge

The diagram shows six baryons and their quark content. Which of the diagrams do not correctly represent possible quark combinations? How the quarks are colored in the diagrams does not represent their electric charges.

02:30

Video Transcript

The diagram shows six baryons and their quark content. Which of the diagrams do not correctly represent possible quark combinations? How the quarks are colored in the diagrams does not represent their electric charges.

Among these six baryons, we see quarks and antiquarks, and all of them are colored either red or blue or green. We’re told that these colors do not represent electric charges, but they do represent another kind of charge called color charge. Red is one type of color charge, green is another, and blue is a third. In this question overall, we’re on the lookout for any diagrams that do not correctly represent possible quark combinations. Since this diagram is meant to represent six baryons, let’s recall the conditions for quarks coming together to form one of these particles.

The first condition that a baryon must satisfy is that every baryon is made of exactly three quarks. And second, the total color charge of a baryon must be what’s called white. This means that the color charges of the three quarks that combine to form the baryon must add together to form white. If we think about red, green, and blue as primary colors, then we know that if we add them together in equal amounts, the color we’ll end up with is white. For the total color charge of a baryon to be white then, that means it must be made up of equal parts, red, green, and blue color charge. And therefore, each baryon must have one red, one blue, and one green color charge quark. It doesn’t matter which quarks have which particular color charge, but only that they balance out this way.

Considering these two conditions a baryon must satisfy, let’s look again at our six options. We see that choices (ii) and (vi) are both made up of antiquarks rather than quarks. This means that these particles are not technically baryons but instead would be called antibaryons. Since we want to identify which of these diagrams do not correctly represent possible quark combinations, we’ll put options (ii) and (vi) in boxes. And now, let’s look at the second condition a baryon must satisfy, that its total color charge must be white. We can see that options (i), (iii), and (iv) all satisfy this condition in that one of the quarks has a red color charge, one has a blue color charge, and one has a green. But option (v) does not; all of the quarks here have the same red color charge. This means the total color charge of this particle cannot be white, so it does not represent a possible quark combination. The remaining three baryons do show possible combinations.

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