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Is there a Higgs force?

  1. Jul 14, 2012 #1
    Since Higgs boson is a boson and they are said to be the force carriers, wouldn't that imply that there's a new, 5th force?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2012 #2
    Higgs boson doesn't carry any force. It is a particle interacting with other particles via electroweak interaction. It's job is to give other's particles mass thanks to this interaction.
  4. Jul 14, 2012 #3
    Thank you. I guess i need to get it out of my head that bosons are only force carriers.
  5. Jul 15, 2012 #4


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    What do you mean by "force" exactly?

    In the context of quantum field theory, especially scattering theory, one defintion could be that a "force" causes particles in incoming states to interact such that there is a non-vanishing cross section (a matrix element) to find different particles (or the same particles but with different momentum vectors) in the outgoing states |X>. The in-state |A,B> with two particles A,B will not only result in the same out-state |A,B> but will in addition scatter (with some scattering cross section i.e. probability described by the matrix element) to other out-states |X> where X differes from A,B.

    So one example could be |e-,e+> which scatters into
    via the electro-weak "exchange force", where |q,q-bar> scatteres into hadronic final states via the strong interaction (of course there are many more possibilities).

    If you use this as a "definition of an exchange force" then there are matrix elements where Higgs bosons (or a collection of exchange particles including the Higgs) are exchanged between ingoing particles causing scattering in different out-states.

    In that sense there is a Higgs force!
  6. Jul 15, 2012 #5


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    Between fermions the Higgs induces a Yukawa-type interaction, which could be called a "force". But it is very short-range (125 GeV ≈ 0.001 fermi) and ultraweak. The coupling constant is m/v where m is the fermion mass and v is the Higgs vacuum strength, about 245 GeV. So for the "Higgs attraction" between two electrons the coupling constant is about 1/500,000. Let's see, the Bohr radius... :smile: (The constant is greater, of course for b-quarks, say.)

    But I'd say while technically true, the term "force" here isn't useful. Calling something a force is appropriate in a situation where multiple bosons have an opportunity to act together to form a classical field, and one can talk about the potential energy, and take its gradient. True e.g. of the nuclear force, but not the weak force.
  7. Jul 15, 2012 #6


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    OK, if you define "force" as a collective, classical effect then the weak "force" is no force; that's why we call it "interaction" instead of "force"
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