Z-prime search may hurdle Higgs hunt

August 25, 2011 By Ashley Yeager, Duke Research Blog, Duke University
This plush Z-prime represents a predicted particle physicists are hoping to find early next year. Credit: The Particle Zoo.

If you're bummed about humanity's biggest accelerator not producing a Higgs particle yet, maybe the latest effort to find a Z-prime will make you feel better.

The new results can't claim a discovery of this sub-atomic particle, a gauge boson. But Duke physicist Ashutosh Kotwal says his team is narrowing in on this less press-frenzied particle, which, if discovered, means our understanding of would need a few revisions.

Physicists have been looking for Z-prime just as they have the Higgs, by slamming fast-moving particles into each other at the , or LHC, in Europe.

Scientists are interested in predicted particles like Z-prime because they could fix holes in the current model, the Standard Model, that explains particle physics.

One of the biggest holes of the model is its inability to explain the origin of mass. The is supposed to correct this, but there are other problems, such as why neutrinos oscillate, why there is more matter than in the universe or where dark matter and dark energy originate.

Discovering new particles, like the Z-prime, could answer these questions, Kotwal says.

In April, scientists using Fermi Lab's Tevatron accelerator in Illinois reported possible signs of a Z-prime particle and with it, new forces of nature, but the physics community was cautious to claim discovery.

A few months later, Kotwal's team published data from LHC that did not find a Z-prime, despite working in similar energy levels as the U.S.-based accelerator.

Now, LHC is "far and away" more sensitive than the Tevatron, and by Christmas, the European collider will have produced four times more data in a range of energies and masses where Z-prime could be, Kotwal says. His team's latest LHC data has been submitted to the journal .

Kotwal adds that Z-prime particles also appear to behave similarly to gravitons, the hypothetical particles that could provide a quantum explanation for gravity. Any progress made in narrowing the mass and energy range where Z-primes sit will bring physicists closer to finding gravitons and possibly unifying the four fundamental forces of nature.

Of course, has much more data to collect, and while hopes for a Higgs have been pushed back to the end of 2012, a Z-prime particle could pop into the data early next year, Kotwal says.

Explore further: Is the Vacuum Empty? -- the Higgs Field and the Dark Energy

Related Stories

Is the Vacuum Empty? -- the Higgs Field and the Dark Energy

May 10, 2007

The problems in understanding the true nature of the “vacuum” of space were discussed by theoretical physicist Alvaro de Rújula from CERN (the European Council for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a professor ...

The hunt for the Higgs steps up a gear

August 28, 2008

The hunt for the Higgs boson, the most highly sought-after particle in physics, received a boost this month with the release of two new results from the Tevatron particle collider at the US Department of Energy's Fermilab ...

Large Hadron Collider sets world record beam intensity

April 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Around midnight this night CERN's Large Hadron Collider set a new world record for beam intensity at a hadron collider when it collided beams with a luminosity of 4.67 x 1032cm-2s-1. This exceeds the previous ...

Recommended for you

Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics

February 23, 2018

Researchers have demonstrated that tiny micrometer-sized crystals—just barely visible to the human eye—can "walk" inchworm-style across the slide of a microscope. Other crystals are capable of different modes of locomotion ...

Researchers turn light upside down

February 23, 2018

Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) and collaborators have reported in Science the development of a so-called hyperbolic metasurface on which light propagates with completely reshaped wafefronts. This scientific ...

Recurrences in an isolated quantum many-body system

February 23, 2018

It is one of the most astonishing results of physics—when a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles, for example, chaotically swirling around in a container, ...

Seeing nanoscale details in mammalian cells

February 23, 2018

In 2014, W. E. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for co-developing a way of imaging shapes inside cells at very high resolution, called super-resolution ...

Hauling antiprotons around in a van

February 22, 2018

A team of researchers working on the antiProton Unstable Matter Annihilation (PUMA) project near CERN's particle laboratory, according to a report in Nature, plans to capture a billion antiprotons, put them in a shipping ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
yup, lets get us some gravitons.....and make us a flying saucer that can turn sharp corners at really high speed, and also deflect oncoming objects.....assuming we also find the anti-graviton. If we find one, the other is basically gonna get found.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 30, 2011
"We know something is missing; we simply dont quite know what this new something might be," the missing link is what I conceived in December 2007 and thereafter proceeded to experimentally find it in fall 2010. For more details on my research you can visit my site and wait a bit, till I disclose the details in a book, near the the date of publication of my first disclosure in January 2011 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Sure, something much more interesting than 'Higgs boson' has already been discovered. It's frequency is ...., it's spin is ... and it's anti-particle is (or are...) (well, just might be patient for a little while more!). CERN came out so many times with false alarm and is still keeping you in wait; I assure you this news is rock solid -- not going to waver with time (However, does mass change on its own with time? It does a bit, really! :).
1 / 5 (1) Aug 30, 2011
It's evident, the alchemists of modern era are desperately trying to find at least something....;-) The existence of Z-prime belongs into many predictions of Garrett E8-theory. I'd be rather careful with it. In dense aether model the Universe appears like the landscape under the fog at both cosmic scale, both quantum Planck scale. We can compare ourself to the bubbles at the water surface, which are trying observe/interact with smallest and largest objects possible. But the more such object will differ from human observer scale, the more it will remain obscured with omnipresent Brownian noise. The quantum noise would wipe all predictions of deterministic models, even if they would exist. For example, inside of black holes a quite normal Universes can exist, but we can never observe them, because they're separated with event horizon from us. Many physicists are talking about multiverses separated from our reality while forgetting, their theories could be such a multiverses too.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2011
I'm not bummed, I expected the collider to be a joke before it even began.
Other areas of research can show the existence or non existence of this 'particle' long before any ton of money and wasted time went floating by, the rivers of science.

Black ops science has gone down the road of utilizing quantum mechanics in parcical enginnering, long, long ago. Higgs or any other such thing was never required in the first palce.

the Collider was distraction science and it came at rather a low cost, regarding the control of the avancment of science.

Waiting with bated breath do do real practical science, waiting based on the outcome of this collider, was the real ruse in place.

It was groupthink masturbation for misdirected science. it was distraction technology in the guise of going somewhere. Right from the beginning.

Higgs was always 'hammered into existence' harmonic of a dimensional scalar fundamental that has a short lifespan into decay. Nothing more.
not rated yet Aug 31, 2011

your thinking that a graviton might be a field that could be negated enough to create an star trek 'inertial dampner' like device -- but I always assumed that if the Higg's field was found and could be negated you would be able to create the same device -- imho cancelling mass is more beneficial than cancelling gravity E=mcc and all. a cancellation of mass in its entirety would allow FTL travel -- but i think this is about as possible as me running into that pink elephant my sister says is in her closet -- but hey i like her so i check anyway, right ;-)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.