Researchers Pursue a Narrow Particle with Wide Implications

Jul 25, 2006

Northeastern University researchers Pran Nath, Daniel Feldman and Zuowei Liu have shown that the discovery of a proposed particle, dubbed the Stueckelberg Z prime, is possible utilizing the data being collected in the CDF and DO experiments at the Fermilab Tevatron.

The Stueckelberg Z prime particle, originally proposed by Boris Kors currently at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland and Pran Nath at Northeastern University in 2004, is so narrow that questions had been raised as to whether or not it could be detected. This new research, published in the July issue of Physical Review Letters, confirms that it can. The results are of importance because the discovery of this particle would provide a clue to the nature of physics beyond the Standard Model and a possible link with string theory.

“It is exciting to know that the discovery of the proposed particle at colliders is indeed possible,” said Pran Nath, Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Northeastern University. “Physicists are always looking for what is next, what will lie beyond the Standard Model. These findings point us in the direction of those answers.”

Because of its extreme narrowness, the Stueckelberg Z prime particle resembles the J/Psi (charmonium) particle, whose simultaneous discovery in 1974 by Burton Richter and Samuel Ting earned them the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics. However, unlike the J/Psi which is a bound state, the new particle is not a bound state but a proposed new fundamental building block of matter. What sets the new Z prime particle apart from all others is the mechanism by which it gains mass.

While in the Standard Model particles such as the W and Z bosons gain mass by the Higgs phenomena, the new Z prime particle gains mass by the Stueckelberg mechanism proposed by the Swiss mathematician and physicist Ernst Carl Gerlach Stueckelberg in 1938. While the Stueckelberg mechanism arises naturally in string theory, Kors and Nath were the first to successfully utilize it in building a model of particle physics.

“If the Stueckelberg Z prime particle were to be discovered, it could signify a new kind of physics altogether, a new regime so to speak,” said Nath. “The prospect is quite exciting.”

Source: Northeastern University

Explore further: The unifying framework of symmetry reveals properties of a broad range of physical systems

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

What time is it in the universe?

Aug 29, 2014

Flavor Flav knows what time it is. At least he does for Flavor Flav. Even with all his moving and accelerating, with the planet, the solar system, getting on planes, taking elevators, and perhaps even some ...

Watching the structure of glass under pressure

Aug 28, 2014

Glass has many applications that call for different properties, such as resistance to thermal shock or to chemically harsh environments. Glassmakers commonly use additives such as boron oxide to tweak these ...

Inter-dependent networks stress test

Aug 28, 2014

Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network—including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems ...

Explainer: How does our sun shine?

Aug 28, 2014

What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history. Given our sun is a star and stars are suns, explaining the source of the sun's energy would help us understand why stars shine. ...

User comments : 0