Uncovering the Mystery: Higgs Decay Modes and the Weight Paradox

In summary, the discussion explains the possibility of the Higgs boson decaying into a pair of W bosons, which happens approximately 23.1% of the time for a Higgs boson with a mass of 126 GeV/c^2. This is possible because virtual particles, like the Higgs and W bosons, do not follow the usual energy-momentum relation. The final decay products will have total energy equal to the energy available in the collision. The W bosons are more likely to be virtual compared to the Higgs, and their masses can vary depending on the energy available.
  • #1
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Under the Higgs in wiki it says "Another possibility is for the Higgs to split into a pair of massive gauge bosons. The most likely possibility is for the Higgs to decay into a pair of W bosons (the light blue line in the plot), which happens about 23.1% of the time for a Higgs boson with a mass of 126 GeV/c^2."

But.. the mass of 2 W-bosons is 160 GeV/c^2...

How can a Higgs decay to 2 W bosons when they weigh more then the Higgs?
 
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  • #2
It's a virtual Higgs particles. Virtual particles don't follow the dispersion relation E2 = (cp)2 + (mc2)2. With that equation out of the way it is possible for a Higgs to have enough energy to decay into two bosons.
 
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  • #3
Thanks, does that mean that the final decay products have to be less then 126 GeV, or can they go up to the mass of the 2 W Bosons, Ie, 160 GeV?
 
  • #4
The final decay products will have total energy equal to whatever was available in the collision to start with.

Note that although the Higgs boson is virtual and isn't required to be exactly 125 GeV, the probability of forming it increases the closer it is to 125 GeV. Remember that the W bosons are virtual also, and not required to be 160 GeV either.
 
  • #5
The W bosons are much more likely to be virtual, compared to the Higgs. Just one of them has to be far away from its mass, so you usually see the decay products of a W boson with ~80 GeV and the decay products of a W boson with at most ~46 GeV, and if you combine both they come from a single particle with an energy very close to 126 GeV.

(all values refer to the invariant mass of the sum of the decay products)
 

1. What is the Higgs decay mode?

The Higgs decay mode refers to the way in which the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that gives other particles their mass, breaks down or decays into other particles. This process is a key aspect of understanding the fundamental forces of nature.

2. Why is the Higgs decay mode important?

The Higgs decay mode is important because it helps scientists understand the properties of the Higgs boson and its role in the Standard Model of particle physics. It also provides insights into the origins of mass and the behavior of particles at the smallest scales.

3. What are the different Higgs decay modes?

There are several possible Higgs decay modes, including the most common one where it decays into two photons. Other decay modes involve particles such as W and Z bosons, tau leptons, and bottom and charm quarks. The exact decay modes depend on the energy and conditions of the particle collisions.

4. What is the weight paradox in relation to Higgs decay modes?

The weight paradox refers to the discrepancy between the predicted mass of the Higgs boson and its observed mass. The Higgs boson has a much lower mass than what is expected based on the known masses of other particles in the Standard Model, leading to questions about the accuracy of our current understanding of particle physics.

5. How do scientists study Higgs decay modes?

Scientists study Higgs decay modes by analyzing data from particle collision experiments, such as those conducted at the Large Hadron Collider. They look for patterns and signatures in the data that indicate the presence of different decay modes and use sophisticated mathematical models and simulations to understand the underlying processes.

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