Helicity (as related to photons and Z-bosons)

In summary, the conversation revolves around the concept of spin 'direction' and its relation to helicity, specifically in the case of bosons which have integral spin (-1, 0, 1, 2, etc). It is mentioned that photons and Z-bosons are unique in that they are 'their own antiparticles'. The conversation then presents two questions: 1) Do bosons have helicity and if so, how does this differentiate them from their antiparticles? 2) Is a photon different from a Z-boson only because of the presence of mass and do 2 indistinguishable Z-bosons annihilate into 2 indistinguishable gamma photons? The conversation concludes with a mention of
  • #1
bockerse
23
0
Ahoy maties,


I understand that spin 'direction' relates to helicity, bosons have integral spin (-1, 0, 1, 2, etc) and that photons and Z-bosons are unique in that they are 'their own antiparticles'. With this context, I have 2 question strings (so I don't have to post multiple times) concerning the answer to the following question: Do bosons have helicity?

1) If so, couldn't they be differentiated from their antiparticles? Wouldn't we really have 1 each of a 'left-handed and right-handed' gamma photon after annihilation processes? If so, why the hell do people confusingly say these are their own antiparticles (which could be thought of as true only in the particular case of spin=0)? Isn't that just as obviously wrong (except spin=0) as overlooking the property of charge-anticharge?

2) If not, is a photon different from a Z-boson only because of the presence of mass? Do 2 indistinguishable Z-bosons annihilate into 2 indistinguishable gamma photons?

Thanks,
Gerrit
 
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  • #2
Since gluons are also 'their own antiparticles' this applies to them too.
 
  • #3
Actually, forget it. I'm not even sure whether anyone understood my ham-fisted questions, but I found the answers.
 
  • #4
bockerse said:
Ahoy maties,




2) If not, is a photon different from a Z-boson only because of the presence of mass? Do 2 indistinguishable Z-bosons annihilate into 2 indistinguishable gamma photons?

Thanks,
Gerrit


You have also to consider how they couple to other particles! They couple very differently to quarks, muons, etc!
 

What is helicity?

Helicity is a measure of the spin of a particle, specifically the spin along its direction of motion. It is a vector quantity that can have a positive or negative value, representing a particle spinning in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, respectively.

What is the relationship between helicity and photons?

Photons, being massless particles, always travel at the speed of light and can only have two possible helicity states: +1 or -1. This is due to the fact that photons have a spin of 1 and their spin is always aligned with their direction of motion.

How is helicity related to Z-bosons?

Z-bosons, being massive particles, can have a range of possible helicity values. This is because they have a spin of 1 and their spin can be aligned with, or opposite to, their direction of motion. This allows for three possible helicity states: +1, 0, or -1.

What is the significance of the helicity of particles?

The helicity of a particle is an important property in particle physics as it can affect the way particles interact with each other. For example, particles with opposite helicity can have a higher likelihood of annihilating each other, while particles with the same helicity can have a lower likelihood of interaction.

Can the helicity of a particle change?

Yes, the helicity of a particle can change depending on the interaction it undergoes. For example, in certain interactions, the helicity of a particle may be flipped, resulting in a change in its direction of spin. However, the total angular momentum of the particle remains conserved.

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