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The bottom panel shows that there are no significant deviations of the data from a smoothly falling mass spectrum. Searching for Higgs boson interactions with the lightest charged lepton - Physics Briefing, 6 Aug Physics Briefing - 15 Jul New milestone reached in the study of electroweak symmetry breaking. Physics Briefing - 11 Jul Double the Higgs for double the difficulty. The second process is the beta decay of nuclei, which produces an electron and a neutrino.


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The mass of the neutrino can be determined by measuring the maximum amount of kinetic energy that can be taken by the electron. Mertens also spoke about neutrinoless double beta decay — a hypothetical process, which if detected, would provide profound insights into the nature of neutrinos.

Behind & Beyond the Standard Model at the LHC, future colliders & elsewhere

This process should only proceed if the neutrino is its own antiparticle, making the neutrino a Majorana fermion. This would make it unlike all fermions such as the electron described by the Standard Model, which are Dirac fermions and not their own antiparticles. Neutrinoless double beta decay is expected to be extremely rare, so physicists are looking for it in extremely sensitive detectors buried deep underground to shield them from cosmic rays.

Neutrinos make great probes of the cosmos, as Marcos Santander of the University of Alabama pointed out here at the April Meeting. One reason is that unlike electromagnetic radiation and charged particles, neutrinos are not deflected by the magnetic fields that permeate the universe — and therefore they point straight back to their source.

This could make them useful in revealing the origins of very high energy cosmic rays, which could be produced by the same objects as high-energy neutrinos. Neutrinos can also be used to probe very dense objects, which they can pass through with ease. The big challenge is detecting very high energy neutrinos from space, which is best done using cubic-kilometre volumes of water or ice — such as the IceCube detector at the South Pole.

Beyond the Standard Model Physics at the HL-LHC and HE-LHC - INSPIRE-HEP

One amazing fact I learned from Santander is that the directional nature of these neutrino detectors is calibrated by observing how the Moon casts its shadow on the cosmic rays that are also seen in the detectors. Despite their immense size, these detectors capture just a few very high energy neutrinos per year, so astronomers are very slowly building up a neutrino map of the sky. Consider, if you will, the simple atom, made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.

The electron is a completely stable particle.

Particle Theory In and Beyond the Standard Model

While a free neutron will decay, a free proton is assumed to be completely stable. If a proton does eventually decay, and have a half-life that is anything less than infinity , that means there are new particles beyond the Standard Model. And while the 83rd element in the periodic table was once thought to be stable….


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Ultrapure bismuth, element 83, and the unique structures that it forms. Image credit: David Abercrombie of flickr, under cc-by But on even longer timescales, perhaps lead, iron or even a single proton will decay, too! All of these measurements could point the way to new particles. Pentaquark and tetraquark states are emerging and being confirmed, showing that three-quark or quark-antiquark combinations aren't all there is.

The Standard Model of Physics Is a Tyrant

The CDF scientists found evidence that some B mesons unexpectedly decay into an intermediate tetraquark structure identified as a Y particle. Image credit: Symmetry Magazine.

Physics Beyond the Standard Model: theory

What else is out there? And finally…. But even if the new particles that must exist to support these observations are inaccessible to particle colliders like the LHC , there are still interesting new discoveries that await us at high energies within the Standard Model!

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