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  • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

  • It is located near Geneva, Switzerland, and is operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

  • The LHC is used to accelerate and collide particles, allowing scientists to study the fundamental nature of matter and the universe.

  • The accelerator consists of a 27-kilometer (17-mile) ring-shaped tunnel, where two beams of particles (protons or ions) travel in opposite directions.

  • The beams are accelerated to near the speed of light using powerful superconducting magnets and guided by a complex system of vacuum tubes.

  • When the beams collide at specific points within the accelerator, detectors capture the resulting particle interactions and collect data.

  • The LHC aims to recreate conditions similar to those moments after the Big Bang, providing insights into the fundamental particles and forces that make up the universe.

  • Major discoveries made at the LHC include the observation of the Higgs boson in 2012, which confirmed the existence of the Higgs field responsible for particle masses.

  • The LHC is also used for experiments related to dark matter, antimatter, and the exploration of other dimensions.

  • Collaborations of scientists from around the world work on various experiments at the LHC, analyzing the collected data to advance our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature.

The results of the study

  • Quantum field theory suggests that space at the subatomic level is not empty but filled with virtual particles that constantly appear and disappear.

  • These virtual particles have effects that can be observed, even though they cannot be directly detected.

  • The LHC accelerates protons to high energies and causes head-on collisions to create a Higgs boson.

  • The Higgs boson is a heavy particle that quickly decays into lighter particles due to its instability.

  • The exact combination of particles into which the Higgs boson decays cannot always be predicted, but the Standard Model theory provides probabilities for different decay paths.

  • According to the Standard Model, the Higgs boson is expected to decay into a Z boson and a photon 0.1% of the time.

  • The Z boson, similar to the Higgs boson, is also unstable and decays into different combinations of particles.

  • If the LHC were to detect a decay pathway with a pair of muons and a photon created simultaneously, at least 30,000 Higgs bosons would need to be created.

  • The confirmation of specific decay pathways, like the one involving the Z boson and photon, takes time even though the discovery of the Higgs boson itself happened more than a decade ago.


  • The ATLAS and CMS detectors at the LHC previously observed the decay of a Higgs boson to a Z boson and a photon in 2018 and 2020.

  • The two teams combined their data from 2015 to 2018, which significantly improved the statistical precision and scope of their searches.

  • However, the significance of the measurement is still not high enough for the teams to claim the decay with 100% certainty, highlighting the rarity of this decay pathway.

  • Physicists invest significant effort in detecting this decay because the Standard Model predicts that the Higgs boson will take this path approximately 0.1% of the time if its mass is 125 billion eV/c².

  • The Standard Model has provided accurate predictions but lacks explanations for phenomena such as dark matter and the heavy mass of the Higgs boson.

  • Precisely testing the predictions of the Standard Model allows physicists to identify potential weaknesses or inconsistencies, which could lead to the validation of new theories in physics.

  • Some alternative theories propose a higher rate of decay through this pathway, and if experimental evidence supporting this is found at the LHC, it could pave the way for new scientific discoveries and advancements in physics.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: LHC UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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