Potential Cracks in the Standard Model of Particle Physics

Potential Cracks in the Standard Model of Particle Physics

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Recently analyzed data from the BaBar experiment may suggest possible flaws in the Standard Model of particle physics, the reigning description of how the universe works on subatomic scales. The data from BaBar, a high-energy physics experiment based at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, show that a particular type of particle decay called “B to D-star-tau-nu” happens more often than the Standard Model says it should.

In this type of decay, a particle called the B-bar meson decays into a D meson, an antineutrino and a tau lepton. While the level of certainty of the excess is not enough to claim a break from the Standard Model, the results are a potential sign of something amiss and are likely to impact existing theories, including those attempting to deduce the properties of Higgs bosons. The BaBar experiment, which collected particle collision data from 1999 to 2008, was designed to explore various mysteries of particle physics, including why the universe contains matter, but no antimatter.

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