For the first time, researchers at CERN have found evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs boson into fermions – another strong indication that the particle discovered in 2012 behaves in the way the standard model of particle physics predicts. Researchers from the University of Zurich made a significant contribution to the study published in Nature Physics.
For the first time, scientists from the CMS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN have succeeded in finding evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs boson into fermions. Previously, the Higgs particle could only be detected through its decay into bosons.
“This is a major step forwards,” explains Professor Vincenzo Chiochia from the University of Zurich’s Physics Institute, whose group was involved in analyzing the data. “We now know that the Higgs particle can decay into both bosons and fermions, which means we can exclude certain theories predicting that the Higgs particle does not couple to fermions.” As a group of elementary particles, fermions form the matter while bosons act as force carriers between fermions.
According to the standard model of particle physics, the interaction strength between the fermions and the Higgs field must be proportional to their mass. “This prediction was confirmed,” says Chiochia; “a strong indication that the particle discovered in 2012 actually behaves like the Higgs particle proposed in the theory.”
Combined data analysis
The researchers analyzed the data gathered at the LHC between 2011 and 2012, combining the Higgs decays into bottom quarks and tau leptons, both of which belong to the fermion particle group. The results reveal that an accumulation of these decays comes about at a Higgs particle mass near 125 gigaelectron volts (GeV) and with a significance of 3.8 sigma. This means that the probability of the background alone fluctuating up by this amount or more is about one in 14,000. In particle physics, a discovery is deemed confirmed from a significance of five sigma.
Measuring the Higgs decay modes
Three different processes were studied, whereby the UZH researchers analyzed the Higgs decay into taus. Because the Higgs particle is extremely short-lived, it cannot be detected directly, but rather only via its decay products. The bottom quarks and taus, however, have a long enough lifetime to be measured directly in the CMS experiment’s pixel detector.
The University of Zurich and the Large Hadron Collider
The University of Zurich is actively involved in the LHC at CERN with five experimental research groups: The groups headed by professors Florencia Canelli, Vincenzo Chiochia and Ben Kilminster conduct research with the CMS detector, Professors Ulrich Straumann’s and Nicola Serra’s groups with the LHCb detector. For the analysis and interpretation of the data, they are supported by the groups under professors Thomas Gehrmann, Stefano Pozzorini, Gino Isidori and PD Dr. Massimiliano Grazzini.
The CMS detector at CERN
The CMS detector measures the energy and impulse of photons, electrons, muons and other charged particles with high precision. Different measuring instruments are arranged in tiers inside the 12,500-ton detector. 179 institutions worldwide are involved in the construction and operation of the CMS detector. The Swiss institutions are the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute, which jointly developed and constructed the CMS pixel detector.
The CMS Collaboration. «Evidence for the direct decay of the 125 GeV Higgs boson to fermions», Nature Physics Online. DOI: 10.1038/nphys3005
Prof. Vincenzo Chiochia
Physics Institute of the University of Zurich
Tel. + 41 22 767 60 41
Mobile: +41 76 487 57 50
University of Zurich
Tel. +41 44 634 44 39
Bettina Jakob | Universität Zürich
Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine