Hypernuclei were discovered in 1952 by M. Danysz and J. Pniewski in photographic emulsions that went with high altitude balloon flights. The weak decay of a Λ nucleon accounted for the abundant energy release in a secondary star, which is the signature of what was called a hyperfragment. Many surprises were offered by hypernuclei through a large variety of experiments over a long period of time.
Among the surprises is the small spin‐orbit interaction of the Λ particle observed in p shell nuclei with the strangeness exchange reaction (K −, π−) and later accurately determined by the observation of γ ray transitions in . Major s, p, d, and f shell states were observed in with associated strangeness production in the reaction (π+, K +). Another surprise was the large ratio Γ n /Γ p which describes the preference for the non‐mesonic decay Λn → nn over Λp → np of hypernuclei.
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