Physicists have observed the first evidence of a rare decay of the Higgs boson into a Z boson and a photon. This decay is predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics but has never been observed before. The ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) made the observation.
The Higgs boson is a fundamental particle that gives other particles their mass. Discovered in 2012 physicists made a major breakthrough in particle physics by discovering the Higgs boson, which is the particle predicted by the Standard Model. The recent observation of the Higgs boson decaying into a Z boson and two photons further provides evidence for its identity.
What is Higgs Boson?
The Higgs field was proposed in 1964 as a new kind of field that fills the entire Universe and gives mass to all elementary particles. The Higgs boson is a wave in that field. Its discovery confirms the existence of the Higgs field.
How do particles get mass?
Particles get their mass by interacting with the Higgs field; they do not have their own mass. The stronger a particle interacts with the Higgs field, the heavier the particle ends up being. Photons, for example, do not interact with this field and therefore have no mass. Yet other elementary particles, including electrons, quarks, and bosons, do interact and hence have a variety of masses. This mass-giving interaction with the Higgs field is known as the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, proposed by theorists Robert Brout, François Englert, and Peter Higgs.
The decay of Higgs Boson
Like other particles, Higgs Boson decays into a Z boson which is a force carrier particle of the weak force, and a photon, a carrier of electromagnetic force. The LHC creates Higgs boson by accelerating billions of protons at high energy into a head-on collision. The Higgs Boson a heavy particle is unstable and decays as predicted by the standard model of physics.
The standard model predicts that a Higgs Boson will decay 0.15% of the time. This means that LHC needs to create about 1500 Higgs bosons to be able to spot one of them decaying into a Z boson and a photon.although the Higgs boson was discovered decades ago, only now physicists are confirming this decay.
There is still a lot we need to uncover about the Higgs boson, including whether it is a unique particle or if there is an entire sector of Higgs particles. Its role in explaining the triumph of matter over antimatter during the formation of the universe remains a subject of exploration. One intriguing aspect is how the Higgs boson acquires its mass, possibly through interactions with itself or through a new mechanism. The smallness of its mass raises questions and suggests the existence of undiscovered mechanisms. Furthermore, the Higgs boson could potentially provide insights into dark matter and other novel particles through their interactions. Even a decade after its discovery, our journey of understanding the Higgs boson has only just begun.