Does Top Quark Interact With Higgs?
It’s thirty-five times heavier than other quarks, and as heavy as the nucleus of an atom of gold. The top quark is the elephant-in-the-room of the standard model. Its lifetime in particle detectors is so short that we can only infer its existence by sifting through vast quantities of data produced by smashing together subatomic particles. By simulating the high-energy conditions of the early universe, particle accelerators enable physicists to investigate the fundamental constituents of matter. Protons and neutrons in atoms are not the most basic building blocks, but are themselves made of a combination of ‘up’ and ‘down’ quarks – three in total. There are also four other, more exotic, types of quark besides ‘up’ and ‘down’ – including the top quark – that contribute to a picture of particle physics called the standard model.
Top quarks were abundant in the early universe, but now, even in the world’s most powerful accelerator at the LHC, they decay immediately. Physicists think that particles, including the top quark, acquire their mass by interacting with the Higgs field. Knowing the mass of the top quark accurately is important because it can be used as a ‘standard’ in particle detector collisions, and will help point to the existence of the Higgs boson.