After the hype over discovering the so-called ‘God Particle’ or Higgs Boson, recent revelations do not debunk the possibility that CERN has discovered the Higgs particle in 2012 but say it is equally possible that it is a different kind of particle.
An international research team has scrutinized the existing scientific data from CERN about the newfound particle and published their analysis in the journal “Physical Review D”. A member of the team, Mads Toudal Frandsen, an associate professor at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology at the University of Southern Denmark, says:
“The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle. It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations, we would also get this data from other particles.”
Mads Toudal Frandsen further says that the current data is not precise enough “to determine exactly what the particle is. It could be a number of other known particles.”
What was it then?
But if it wasn’t the Higgs particle, that was found in CERN’s particle accelerator, then what was it? “We believe that it may be a so-called techni-higgs particle. This particle is in some ways similar to the Higgs particle – hence half of the name”, says Mads Toudal Frandsen.
Although the techni-higgs particle and Higgs particle can easily be confused in experiments, they are two very different particles belonging to two very different theories of how the universe was created.
The Higgs particle is the missing piece in the theory called the Standard Model. This theory describes three of the four forces of nature. But it does not explain what dark matter is – the substance that makes up most of the universe. A techni-higgs particle, if it exists, is a completely different thing:
“A techni-higgs particle is not an elementary particle. Instead, it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary. Techni-quarks may bind together in various ways to form for instance techni-higgs particles, while other combinations may form dark matter. We therefore expect to find several different particles at the LHC, all built by techni-quarks”, says Mads Toudal Frandsen.
If techni-quarks exist, there must be a force to bind them together so that they can form particles. None of the four known forces of nature (gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force) are any good at binding techni-quarks together. There must therefore be a yet undiscovered force of nature. This force is called the the technicolor force.
What was found last year in CERN’s accelerator could thus be either the Higgs particle of the Standard Model or a light techni-higgs particle, composed of two techni-quarks.
Mads Toudal Frandsen believes that more data from CERN will probably be able to determine if it was a Higgs or a techni-higgs particle. If CERN gets an even more powerful accelerator, it will in principle be able to observe techni-quarks directly.
An elementary particle is a particle that cannot be divided into smaller components. For a long time it was believed that atoms were elementary, but in the early 1900s, it became clear that atoms consist of protons and electrons, and later also of neutrons.
In the mid-1900s, it became further clear that protons and neutrons are composed of quarks, held together by the strong nuclear force. Since then, more have been added. Elementary particles are today divided into two categories: building blocks of matter (fermions) and carriers of force (bosons).