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Further Confirmation of Higgs Boson's Presence
Aug 28, 2014

In a breakthrough, researchers at CERN have found the first evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs Boson into fermions—a strong indication that the particle discovered in 2012 is the Higgs boson. The findings confirm that the Bosons decay into fermions—a group of particles that includes all leptons and quarks—as predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics.

In July 2012 researchers from the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), said they had observed a new particle in the mass region of 125 to 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).

Preliminary studies showed the new particle’s properties were consistent with those predicted for the Higgs Boson by the Standard Model, but much more work was needed to confirm. Researchers wanted to clarify whether there was a single Higgs or many different Higgs particles, as predicted by various extensions of the Standard Model.

What researchers are trying to do is establish whether this particle is really consistent with the Higgs boson, the particle predict in Standard Model, and not one of many Higgs Bosons, or an imposter that looks like it but has a different origin.

Previous analysis of the data produced by experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, in Switzerland, has shown that like the Higgs Boson of the Standard Model, the new particles have no spin, and rapidly decay by splitting into pairs of photons, W Bosons, or Z Bosons. But it remained uncertain whether they could also decay into fermion pairs.

Now the team from the CMS Collaboration has demonstrated that the Bosons also decay into fermions in a way that is consistent with the Standard Model Higgs. To determine whether the particles could decay into fermions, the researchers fired protons at each other in a 6-metre-diameter solenoid and used specialised detectors to determine which particles were produced in the resulting collisions. The researchers were hunting for particles called tau leptons, which have a mass of around 1.7 GeV, making them around 3,500 times heavier than their little sibling, the electron.

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