The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 marked a significant milestone in particle physics by completing the puzzle known as the Standard Model. However, this achievement raised new questions about what lies beyond this framework and where to find answers to the universe’s remaining mysteries.

One of the parameters that may shed light on new physics phenomena is the “width” of the W boson, which plays a crucial role as an electrically charged carrier of the weak force. The width of a particle directly correlates with its lifetime and explains how it decays into other particles. Any unexpected decay modes of the W boson could indicate the presence of undiscovered particles, thus influencing its measured width.

Recently, the ATLAS collaboration made a groundbreaking advancement by measuring the W-boson width at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for the first time. This measurement, based on proton-proton collision data at an energy of 7 TeV, unveiled a value of 2202 ± 47 MeV, slightly higher but consistent with the Standard-Model prediction. This meticulous analysis required a detailed study of W-boson decays into observable particles like electrons or muons, along with their corresponding neutrinos that escape detection.

Achieving such precision in the measurement of the W-boson width involved overcoming numerous challenges. Researchers meticulously calibrated the ATLAS detector to account for efficiencies, energies, and momenta of particles involved in the decays. They also relied on accurate theoretical predictions for W-boson production and parton distribution functions, crucial elements in understanding the inner structure of protons.

By combining high-precision experimental results with theoretical predictions, physicists were able to obtain a more refined measurement of both the W-boson mass and width. The updated value for the W-boson mass is 80367 ± 16 MeV, in agreement with the Standard Model. Future measurements using larger datasets aim to reduce statistical and experimental uncertainties, while advancements in theoretical predictions and parton distribution functions will help refine the understanding of these fundamental particles.

As physicists continue to push the boundaries of precision measurements, they anticipate conducting more stringent tests of the Standard Model and exploring potential new particles and forces beyond the known realm of particle physics. The quest for understanding the mysteries of dark matter, antimatter asymmetry, and other enigmas of the universe drives the ongoing search for new physics phenomena that may lie beyond the Standard Model.

The recent measurement of the W-boson width by the ATLAS collaboration represents a significant step forward in our quest for new physics beyond the Standard Model. By pushing the limits of precision and combining experimental expertise with theoretical insights, researchers are poised to unravel deeper mysteries of the universe and unlock the secrets of the fundamental building blocks of nature.

Physics

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