What’s in a Proton?


The current explanation of the proton is that it is composed of particles known as quarks. In most experiments, the proton is found to have three quarks, although a more exotic arrangement of five quarks has also been found when smashing particles together at very high energies.

Quark confinement

Despite the belief that the proton consists of three quarks, the following observations have been made in electron capture and beta decay:

  1. In an atom, a proton can capture an electron to become a neutron
  2. A proton may decay to a neutron with the emission of an positron and a neutrino




The proton is likely a composite particle of four quarks and one anti-quark called a pentaquark, as evidenced by higher energy experiments found at CERN in 2015. Furthermore, quarks are likely electrons and anti-quarks are positrons as pictured below. This model fits decay results.

proton pentaquark model



Why Do Particle Accelerator Experiments Show Protons as Quarks?

Quarks are never isolated (quark confinement) so it is impossible to really determine the structure of a quark. Instead, they are assumed to be fundamental particles with high-energy gluons binding the quarks together using the strong force. As it was shown in the strong force section, the fine structure constant (associated with strong force) can be derived from the electron’s properties. Under the laws of energy wave theory, electrons will not repel if they are pushed together to be within standing waves and placed at nodes (where amplitude is zero).  The kinetic energy to push the electrons to this point and is transferred to stored energy (gluon). This energy is difficult to break and electrons are never separated, appearing as high-energy particles that do not look like electrons in experiments.

three quarks proton collision

Low Energy Experiments – Proton Collisions


Until recently, it was difficult to imagine a structure of a proton as electrons and positrons until the discovery of the pentaquark. Now…

Five Quarks

High Energy Experiments – Proton Collisions


How Can a Proton Create a Neutron?

First, refer to the model of the neutron from the neutron page.  It contains an additional electron in the center of the nucleon, creating a neutral charge as the center positron and center electron annihilate.  A neutron can also be an empty shell of a nucleon without the electron-positron particles in the center.

In the electron capture process, an electron in an atomic orbital is captured. It could be a result of a collision with a high energy particle (such as a neutrino), forcing the electron into the center, overcoming the repelling forces of the atom. The electron in the center completes the picture of the neutron.

Electron Capture energy wave theory

Electron Capture Process


How Can a Neutron Create a Proton?

In the reverse process of electron capture, the beta minus decay process requires energy to dislodge the center electron from the neutron. A neutron in an atomic nucleus has additional forces holding it in place, so it takes more energy than a free neutron which decays in about 15 minutes (based on the probability of a solar neutrino strike). As the neutron becomes a proton, the electron and neutrino are ejected, matching experiments.

Beta Decay energy wave theory

Beta Minus Decay Process


How Can Electrons Be Quarks?

Electrons repel each other due to constructive wave interference of traveling waves, consistent with Law #4 of the Theory Laws. But also consistent with the same law is that when electrons have sufficient energy to be pushed inside of their standing wave structures, a standing wave node is stable as it is the point of minimal amplitude. The kinetic energy gain is stored energy and the electron now appears like a quark.

This is already proven in electron-positron collision experiments. At high energies, these two particles create quarks! Not protons or neutrons which are the particles that are supposed to be made of quarks. Furthermore, recent experiments have found that four quarks can be formed by electron collisions, dubbed the tetraquark. This is consistent with the tetrahedral quarks in the proposed proton model of this theory.



Video – What’s in a Proton?

The What’s in a Proton video below provides an explanation of the pentaquark structure of the proton and how it matches particle accelerator experiments and beta decay results.