Lattice QCD evidence that the Λ(1405) resonance is an antikaon-nucleon molecule

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Apr 3;114(13):132002. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.132002. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Abstract

For almost 50 years the structure of the Λ(1405) resonance has been a mystery. Even though it contains a heavy strange quark and has odd parity, its mass is lower than any other excited spin-1/2 baryon. Dalitz and co-workers speculated that it might be a molecular state of an antikaon bound to a nucleon. However, a standard quark-model structure is also admissible. Although the intervening years have seen considerable effort, there has been no convincing resolution. Here we present a new lattice QCD simulation showing that the strange magnetic form factor of the Λ(1405) vanishes, signaling the formation of an antikaon-nucleon molecule. Together with a Hamiltonian effective-field-theory model analysis of the lattice QCD energy levels, this strongly suggests that the structure is dominated by a bound antikaon-nucleon component. This result clarifies that not all states occurring in nature can be described within a simple quark model framework and points to the existence of exotic molecular meson-nucleon bound states.