May 21, 2024

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Physicists discover the first signs of a rare Higgs boson decay: ScienceAlert

Physicists discover the first signs of a rare Higgs boson decay: ScienceAlert

A careful search for the extremely rare transformation of the Higgs boson has yielded results, providing the first evidence of a process that could hint at unknown particles.

By reconciling the results of several years of protons crashing into two different detectors at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), physicists have bumped up the statistical accuracy of the famous ‘collective bid’ rate of a particle decaying into a photon and Z boson.

Results, shared in LHC Physics Conference In Belgrade last week, much less than it might have been Considered great. But the process itself could be improved to focus on the quantum quality bubble, and help pinpoint where exotic new forces and building blocks might be located.

The Higgs particle became the darling of the physics world in 2012 when evidence of its existence was confirmed by a physicist atlas (or “LHC Loop Device”) f CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) detectors at CERN.

It wasn’t just the latest entry in that big map of particles—the Standard Model—to be confirmed experimentally; Her observation promised to be a window into the hidden parts of the quantum realm.

Candidate events from ATLAS (left) and CMS (right) for the Higgs boson decaying into a Z boson and a photon, with the Z boson decaying into a pair of muons. (CERN)

For the most part, knowing that the Higgs particle and its associated field exist means that we now understand why fundamental particles have mass.

Since energy and mass are two different ways of describing the same type of thing, the effort to group large, chunky objects together (such as atoms, molecules, and elephants) contributes to a significant proportion of an object’s mass.

On a smaller scale, the effort it takes for more fundamental objects such as electrons or quarks to wander through the Higgs field explains why they have static mass, and why particles such as photons do not.

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However, the social nature of the field and the bubbling foam of its bosons make it an ideal candidate for searching for signs of hypothetical quantum fields and related particles that do not normally make themselves known through more explicit means.

“Each particle has a special relationship with the Higgs boson, which makes the search for the rare Higgs decay a top priority.” He says CERN Atlas Experiment Physics Coordinator, Pamela Ferrari.

Decaying particles is like a pigeon dying amid skyscrapers — it happens all the time, often in a variety of ways, but you’ll be lucky to catch more than a few drifting feathers as evidence of its death.

Fortunately, by keeping a count of all the ‘feathers’ in the collider dust, physicists can build up a picture of the different ways particles break apart and fleetingly re-emerge into new things.

Some of these deviations are relatively common, but for the Higgs particle, transitions to a photon and the short-range weak nuclear force carrying a Z boson are about one event in a thousand. Or, as expected in textbooks, about 0.15% of all Higgs decays.

But this is what the Standard Model tells us to expect. As amazingly insightful as this great theory is, we know it must fail at some point, since it doesn’t have much to say about dark energy extending space or warping space and time in a gravity-like way.

Any variations from this figure can be used to support alternative models that may leave enough room to fit inconvenient facts.

Knowing how to go about improving our best model of physics means finding a host of currently inexplicable anomalies. Like strange fields and particles that do subtle and rare actions that we wouldn’t normally notice.

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“The presence of new particles can have very large effects on the rare Higgs decay patterns,” He says Florencia Canelli, coordinator of physics at CERN’s other detector, CMS.

Right now, these elusive unicorns are more legendary than ever. The results so far are roughly within the range of what the Standard Model would predict.

However, there is only enough data to make physicists moderately confident that the results are correct. Larger experiments, perhaps with better technology, can reveal small differences that hide a big window into a whole new set of theories.

“This study is a powerful test of the Standard Model,” He says canelli.

With the third continuous run of the LHC and the receiver LHC high gloss, we will be able to improve the accuracy of this test and probe the rare Higgs. “