What is Electroweak: Definition and 84 Discussions

In particle physics, the electroweak interaction or electroweak force is the unified description of two of the four known fundamental interactions of nature: electromagnetism and the weak interaction. Although these two forces appear very different at everyday low energies, the theory models them as two different aspects of the same force. Above the unification energy, on the order of 246 GeV, they would merge into a single force. Thus, if the universe is hot enough (approximately 1015 K, a temperature not exceeded since shortly after the Big Bang), then the electromagnetic force and weak force merge into a combined electroweak force. During the quark epoch, the electroweak force split into the electromagnetic and weak force.
Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam, and Steven Weinberg were awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the unification of the weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, known as the Weinberg–Salam theory. The existence of the electroweak interactions was experimentally established in two stages, the first being the discovery of neutral currents in neutrino scattering by the Gargamelle collaboration in 1973, and the second in 1983 by the UA1 and the UA2 collaborations that involved the discovery of the W and Z gauge bosons in proton–antiproton collisions at the converted Super Proton Synchrotron. In 1999, Gerardus 't Hooft and Martinus Veltman were awarded the Nobel prize for showing that the electroweak theory is renormalizable.

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  1. E

    I Electroweak Feynman Rules: Confusion about the photon-W boson interaction term

    This screenshot is from Quantum Field Theory by Mandl and Shaw, 2nd Edition. I had a question about the vertex factor feynman rule (given below the daigram) of the photon and W+, W- interaction term. Its lagrangian density is given in the third and fourth line of (19.3 a) What confuses me is...
  2. H

    I Electroweak Symmetry Breaking

    According to Sabine Hossenfelder in the extremely early Universe nothing had mass because the electroweak symmetry was not yet broken so there was no Higgs field. Am I correct in thinking this is not controversial? https://youtu.be/9-jIplX6Wjw?t=638
  3. dextercioby

    A First order electroweak correction to the g-2 magnetic moment

    We know that we need to go to 5th order in perturbation theory to match 10 decimals of g-2 for electron, theory vs. experiment. But let us not assume QED is pure and independent, but it's a lower energy limit of GSW (not Green-Schwartz-Witten from superstrings) electroweak theory. Has anyone...
  4. koustav

    A Exploring the Electroweak Interaction: Uniting Weak and Electromagnetic Forces

    What is the reason to unite weak and electromagnetic interaction
  5. JD_PM

    Quantum Books on electroweak and strong interactions (& QED)

    Hi, I am looking for a book about the unified electroweak and strong interaction theories, dealing with the following: Gauge Theories. Intermediate Vector Boson Theory. Gauge Theory of Weak Interactions. Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking. The Standard Electroweak Theory. I've basically quoted...
  6. J

    A Griffith's Elementary Particles Section 9.7 Electroweak Unification

    1. On pg. 343 Griffith's expresses the weak current in terms of left-handed doublets. jμ± = ##\bar χ_L##γμτ±##χ_L## ##χ_L## = ##\begin{pmatrix} ν_e \\ e \end{pmatrix}_L## ##\tau^+## = ##\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 \end{pmatrix}## , ## \tau^- ## = ##\begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0 \\ 1 & 0...
  7. Helena Wells

    A Neutrino decay before electroweak breaking

    Most scientists believe neutrinos don't get their mass from the Higgs field due to their tiny mass compared to the next lightest particle(electron).During the electroweak epoch the rest particles were massless but neutrinos shouldn't be. The neutrinos would then decay to the other massless ( i...
  8. Ranku

    I Energy of massless particles before electroweak symmetry breaking

    Would it be correct to represent the energy of massless particles before electroweak symmetry breaking as ##E = cp##, just as we do with photons post-symmetry breaking?
  9. W

    I How to derive the currents of Z boson and the EM current?

    I am a student minor in physics and I am taking this course of particle physics. And I have been lost since the Non-Abelian Gauge Theory which a few lectures before Electroweak unified Theory lecture. i am completely confused and overwhelmed by the math since the mid-term exam, since I was not...
  10. Michael Price

    A Measurements and electroweak gauge invariance/transformations

    Most gauge transformations in the standard model are easy to see are measurement invariant. Coordinate transformations, SU(3) quark colours, U(1) phase rotations for charged particles all result in no measurable changes. But how does this work for SU(2) rotations in electroweak theory, where...
  11. sergiokapone

    A What is the character of the electroweak force?

    As we know, the electromagnetic force is the long range force, and an weak force is the short range force. According to Weinberg-Salam-Gashow the electromagnetic and weak force is a manifestation of one single electroweak force. Unification of the forces became at 246 GeV. What is the character...
  12. A

    A Helicity and electron/positron annihilation

    Hello everybody! I have a question regarding the process ##e^+ e^- \rightarrow Z/\gamma \rightarrow f \bar{f}##, where ##f## is a fermion and ##\bar{f}## is an antifermion. I am studying the process to understand LEP measurements. Supposing of being in ultrarelativistic regime, so helicity and...
  13. P

    I Electroweak force and electrons

    If at high energies the electromagnetic and weak force are combined into one electroweak force, then at high energies, the electrons will not create an electrostatic field and will not repel?
  14. J

    I Thermal field theory of an isolated electroweak plasma

    The theory of electroweak temperature says that when you have a plasma of particles at energy above the electroweak phase transition (100 GeV). The Higgs field would turn from nonzero vev to zero and the electroweak forces would unite and the electroweak bosons would become massless. What...
  15. C

    B What was matter like during the GUT and Electroweak Epochs?

    Hi all, I was reading about the history of the early universe today, and there were some things that I did not understand. In particular, I do not understand the concept of "spontaneous symmetry breaking." After reading the Mexican Hat analogy many times, here is my best understanding of it...
  16. S

    B Electroweak asymptotic freedom

    First, the coupling constant of the strong force can be computed.. does it mean it should also (ought to be) for the electroweak? Also U(1) is not asymptotically free but electroweak SU(2)xU(1) is asymptotically free.. why is SU(2)xU(1) asymptotically free?
  17. C

    B Electroweak spontaneous symmetry breaking

    This is a question that I have tried to pose several times without any success but, anyway, I would like to try again for the very last time. Asume for a moment that EW-SSB (electroweak spontaneous symmetry breaking) actually happened in our early universe. Imagine that our Standard Model of...
  18. V

    Rewriting neutral gauge bosons (EW) for vacuum with Y=-1

    Homework Statement So, my textbook proposes a to check what will change in mass and mass eigenvectors of Z and photon in terms of ##W_{3}## and ##B_{\mu}## fields in Higgs mechanism for EW if we choose a vacuum hypercharge to be -1 and compare results to SM (where we know that photon is...
  19. M

    A Attractive strong force, isospin and hypercharges

    In the electromagnetic interaction, opposite electric charges q attract each other. In the strong nuclear force, the proton p(uud) is attracted to p(uud) and the neutron n(udd), and n(udd) is attracted to p(uud) and n(udd). Both neutrons and protons have a hypercharge Y=+1, and 3rd...
  20. G

    A Divergent Diagrams in the Standard Model

    It is my understanding that the task of enumerating all of the divergent diagrams in a quantum field theory can be reduced to analyzing a hand full of diagrams (well, at the moment I know that this is at least true for QED and phi^4 theory), and that all other divergent diagrams are divergent...
  21. SonnetsAndMath

    I Effective Mass-to-Charge Ratio of Electroweak or QED Vacuum

    Apologies if my question is confused, because I'm beginner in field theory: adding up all corrections, can we talk about an effective (at least approximate) overall mass-to-charge ratio for the electroweak or QED vacuums? Suppose we want to talk about the relative strength of...
  22. S

    A HIggs coupling to electroweak gauge bosons

    The coupling of the Higgs boson to the electroweak gauge bosons in the Standard model is given by $$\mathcal{L}_{\text{H-g}} = - \left( \frac{H}{v} + \frac{H^{2}}{2v^{2}} \right) \left(2M_{W}^{2}W_{\mu}^{+}W^{-\mu} + M_{Z}^{2}Z_{\mu}Z^{\mu} \right).$$ However, in Cliff Burgess' textbook 'The...
  23. L

    I Electroweak Bosons: Examining W1, W2, W3

    This question is in regards to the electroweak force itself before its symmetry is broken into the weak and electromagnetic force. Let's say hypothetically that the ambient temperature of the universe or of a certain volume of space was hot enough to restore the electroweak symmetry like it was...
  24. Ranku

    I Electroweak symmetry breaking and quantum tunneling.

    Does electroweak symmetry breaking involve quantum tunneling?
  25. S

    A Spinor indices on Yukawa coupling terms in electroweak sector

    In the electroweak sector, we define the left-handed Weyl fields ##l## and ##\bar{e}## in the representations ##(2,-1/2)## and ##(1,+1)## of ##SU(2) \times U(1)##. Here, ##l## is an ##SU(2)## doublet: ##l = \begin{pmatrix} \nu\\ e \end{pmatrix}.## The Yukawa coupling in the electroweak sector...
  26. C

    I Cosmological electroweak phase transition

    There is a question that has been bugging and puzzling me for a long time and I wondered if somebody could help me to figure out what the answer is or where I am not thinking straight. Let us assume that the standard model of particle physics is more "right" than "wrong" and there is no such a...
  27. F

    I Unified gravity with electroweak through SU(2)xSU(2)xU(1)

    Consider symmetry SO(1,3)xU(1)=SU(2)xSU(2)xU(1) and puting a local spontaneous broken symmetry: Φ→exp(iαaτa)exp(iαaτa)exp(i(β/2))Φ The field Φ acquires vacuum expectation value: <Φ>=(0,v). Then ΔL=½(0 v)(gCμaτa+gAμaτa+ ½g'Bμ)2(0 v)T.Then we find out three massive boson,one massless photon and...
  28. Incnis Mrsi

    A Chirality of the electromagnetic force on atomic matter

    It’s commonly held that left and right photons interact with matter in exactly the same way, because electromagnetism “conserves parity”. But we know that P-symmetry, in our world, is generally broken. Even according to the Standard Model, when light propagates through some media, it interacts...
  29. C

    I Exploring the Behavior of Sin2thw with Respect to Scale

    Hi, everybody! I can not really understand the particular behavior of the sin2thw with respect to the scale (like on the plot below). Clearly there are three regimes from the left to the right: a plato, a degradation and a steep rise. But why exactly does the curve behave like this? The...
  30. C

    I Electroweak symmetry and unbroken generators

    I realize there has been quite a few threads on this topic lately but I wanted to ask some questions that I have here. The following are statements from my lecture notes and I have write my questions after each statement. In the gauge sector of the electroweak theory, we can write down...
  31. dextercioby

    A Explanation of terminology: electroweak

    I'm not a specialist in this subject, so bear with me. I've always wondered why one claims that the electromagnetic and weak interactions are unified, but the strong one with the (unified) other two is not. Mathematically, I'm aware that the full gauge group of the SM is ## U(1) \times SU(2)...
  32. Anchovy

    Getting from electroweak W_1,2,3 and B to W+-, Z and photon?

    I'm trying to understand how the Z and the \gamma are interpreted as combinations of the and B gauge fields. I'm comfortable with where the W_{1}, W_{2}, W_{3} and B come from, and I get that the W_{3} and B get related to the Z and the \gamma by the 2x2 matrix containing the weak mixing angle...
  33. Shahrokh

    Can the universe become stable with a new electroweak vacuum

    The top and Higgs mass determination arose the old discussion about electroweak vacuum metastablity. There is an interesting fact that with available data the universe places in the edge of stable and meta-stable zone tends to be inside the meta-stable region. This conclusion confirms up to...
  34. S

    Beta function of electroweak theory

    Hi everyone, I have another (probably too) simple question for particle physicists on this forum, but I often realize that my understanding of QFT is still rather poor. Do you know where I can find the electroweak beta function explicitly written down (at one-loop, of course)? I would like to...
  35. Buzz Bloom

    Questions re electroweak de-unification during inflation

    Before I ask my questions I need some context. Here are two quotes about electroweak unification: from (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroweak_interaction , and (2) from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction . (1) Mathematically, the unification is accomplished under an...
  36. H

    Electroweak Force Equation

    I am currently working on presenting a poster for my science project on the Electroweak Force and I wanted to show on my poster the full equation. I read the Wikipedia page on the Electroweak Force and found the equation, but I'm not sure how to represent it fully. Can someone please help me by...
  37. sk1105

    Why is the electroweak cross-section zero at Z boson mass?

    The Standard Model formula for the cross-section of ##e^+e^-\rightarrow\mu^+\mu^-## is made up of 3 components: QED interactions, weak interactions, and electroweak interference. I understand the behaviour of the QED part, and the resonance that occurs in the weak part at ##\sqrt{s}=M_Z##, but...
  38. S

    Temperature at beginning of Electroweak Epoch?

    Now, I understand that any discussion of the very early Universe is entirely hypothetical and to say it is extremely speculative is being generous. However, there are a few concepts regarding the Grand Unified Epoch, the Inflationary Epoch, and the Electroweak Epoch that I am hoping someone...
  39. K

    Questions on electroweak symmetry breaking

    I have some questions or thoughts about EW symmetry breaking. (1) Higgs mechanism gives mass to SM particles after the background higgs field rolls from ##h=0## to ##h=v## and symmetry is broken. We are talking about pole mass, aren't we? So pole mass changes continuously from ##0## to ##m##...
  40. lalo_u

    Gauge invariance of electroweak Lagrangian

    I was trying to prove all those little things you spend long as the local invariance in the free Lagrangian of electroweak interaction. Taking into account the appropriate SU(2) transformations (without covariant derivatives), came to the following expression \mathcal{L}_{\text{ferm.}} =...
  41. E

    Why Electron & Neutrino Form Doublet in Electroweak Model

    Hello, I've unfortunately a trivial question, but one I couldn't answer by reading my references. In the Weinberg-Salam model, why do we take the left electron and neutrino spinors to form a doublet? I'd like a "physical" answer, if possible, and a more formal one, which I think is based on the...
  42. avito009

    What is electroweak symmetry?

    I was thinking whether to ask this question or not because the mentor might not like it. Again it could be my misconception. But I think I should ask this question because it would help others who are at the same level of study as I am. So those people can just see this post of mine and clear...
  43. ChrisVer

    Electroweak Breaking MSSM- D-term pot. question

    Looking at the attachment, I see that the scalar potential coming from the D-term of the Higgs sector is given as shown in (8.14b). However shouldn't there also be a field ξ as in Fayet-Iliopoulos model? V_{D}= \frac{1}{2} |ξ+ g \phi^{*} \phi|^{2} Is there a reason I don't see, that allows...
  44. Safinaz

    The electroweak gauge bosons

    Hi all, I have the following exercise about the The electroweak gauge bosons commutations relations: Homework Statement If ## [ \tau_i ,\tau_k] = 2 i \epsilon_{ikl} \tau_l ## and ## \{ \tau_i ,\tau_k\} = 2 \delta_{ik} ## where ## \bar{\tau} ## are the Pauli matrices, Then...
  45. G

    Fourth particle in Electroweak theory

    I know that symmetry breaking in the Electroweak theory does a great job of explaining the existence and masses of the W and Z bosons, but I'm a little confused about the role of the fourth particle required by the theory. Some sources say that the fourth particle is just the photon, and that it...
  46. J

    Electroweak Symmetry: Exploring the Unified Force

    Hello, I have read that above a certain temperature, the weak bosons become massless and become indistinguishable to the photon. Is the idea simply that at high enough energies, the Higgs field can sit on top of the peak in the mexican hat potential? I.e. at high enough energies, it's vacuum...
  47. A

    Does the electroweak force change quark flavor

    Dear Physics Forum, I was thinking about the properties of the combined electroweak force. Does it maintain the electromagnetic and weak force properties (in an additive fashion), or does it have new properties. If new properties, do we know what they are (well, you may, but I don't!)...
  48. S

    Electroweak Theory Down Quark Mass

    Hey, A question on a paper asks to show how ψ(L) and ψ(R) decouple in the Dirac equation in the massless limit, after doing this we are told 'It is not possible to write a mass term for the down quark in electroweak theory - explain. How is the observed down quark mass then...
  49. bcrowell

    Classical electroweak field theory

    A question I'm sure I've seen asked here and/or elsewhere is why there doesn't seem to be any classical force corresponding to the weak interaction. I came up with the following, and am wondering whether this seems correct and satisfying to others. Basically, being able to write down a...
  50. naima

    What about physics before electroweak symmetry breaking?

    Hi Pf I would like to know if the standard model without symmetry breaking can describe the universe after the big bang before the moment when EW symmetry breaking occured. Had we v = c for all particles? were electrons electrically charged? were there photons or B ? Z0 were not born...