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Cousin of the Higgs: Physicists find a surprising new elementary particle

Cousin of the Higgs: Physicists find a surprising new elementary particle


Hardly anyone would have thought that previously unknown particles could be detected without massive equipment. This is exactly what physicists from Boston College have now managed to do: they’ve found a close relative of the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is nonmagnetic and is considered a mass elementary particle. Its cousin, now discovered – the axial Higgs boson – has a magnetic moment, that is, it generates a magnetic field. According to the researchers, its description requires a more complex theory than its cousin theory, which has now been proven for ten years.

At the time, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was needed to detect the Higgs boson. The detected particle, on the other hand, has now been found with a relatively small experimental setup that fits a normal laboratory work surface.
RTe3 structure and representative Raman spectrometry (Nature)

“When my two students showed me the data, I thought they must have been wrong,” Kenneth Burch, a professor of physics at Boston College and lead researcher on the team that made the discovery, told the magazine. live sciences. “It’s not every day that you find a new particle on the table.”

dark matter filter

The axial Higgs boson arose when quantum materials simulated a particular set of vibrations at room temperature, known as the axial Higgs mode. The researchers then used light scattering to observe the particles. A laser was sent to a rare earth trichloride (RTe3) crystal. The light is scattered and changed to a color of lower frequency. This process is known as Raman scattering. The energy lost during the color change produced the axial Higgs mode.

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“Originally, we were only studying the light-scattering properties of this material. When we carefully examined the symmetry of the interaction – how it changed as the sample was rotated – we discovered anomalous changes that were the first hints of something new,” he explained. “It is the first magnetism to be discovered by the Higgs.”

Additional research should now show how specifically the new particle can be classified in particle physics models. There are already rumors that a dark matter candidate can be found here. After all, this makes up a significant part of the total mass of the universe, but has so far been observed only through gravitational influences, but not as tangible matter.

See also: News from the Higgs boson: The achievement comes after years of discovery

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