How many subatomic particles exist?

Simulation of Higgs decay in the CMS detector of the Large Hadron Collider. Credit: Copyright CERN

There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary and composite particles.

There are 36 confirmed fundamental particles, including anti-particles, according to Professor Craig Savage from the Australian National University. Twelve of these are the force carrying particles- the photon, the weak force carriers W-, W+, Z0, and the eight gluons. This set also includes the anti-particles.

The other 24 are called matter particles and only interact with each other indirectly via the force carriers. These include three types of neutrino, three types of electron-like particles, six types of quark and the 12 associated anti-particles.

“Add at least one more when and if the Higgs boson is confirmed,” Savage says. “We don’t know what dark matter is, so there could be one or more new particles lurking there.”

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