The No-Higgs Signal: Strong WW Scattering at the LHC Page: 3 of 16
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Fifty years of high energy physics have led us to a fundamental question What breaks
electroweak symmetry? that differs from other fundamental questions in one respect: we
know how to find the answer! The way to the answer is to build and run the LHC. The
ability to observe strong WW scattering is an essential part of this prescription. If we do
observe it, we learn that elecroweak symmetry breaking is accomplished by strongly coupled
quanta above 1 TeV. If we do not observe it (and know we could have it if it were present)
then we can conclude that elecroweak symmetry breaking is due to weakly coupled quanta
below 1 TeV, which will be Higgs bosons if the Higgs mechanism is valid.
If we do not initially see light Higgs bosons or strong WW scattering, the confirmed
absence of strong WW scattering would be a signal to look harder below 1 TeV rather
than to expand the search to scales much greater than 1 TeV. This is a key difference with
respect to many other searches for new physics, where failure to find the signal at a given
energy typically sends us off to search at still higher energies. The ability to observe strong
WW scattering confers a "no-lose" capability to determine the mass scale of electroweak
symmetry breaking physics.
Even if a light Higgs boson is discovered, it will still be important to measure the WW
scattering cross section in the TeV region. If symmetry breaking is due to a light Higgs boson,
a central prediction of the Higgs mechanism is that strong WW scattering does not occur.
As discussed below, strong WW scattering is first-cousin to the famous "bad high energy
behavior" of massive vector boson scattering, which it is a principal mission of the Higgs
mechanism to remove. If electroweak symmetry breaking is driven by a strong interaction, the
cross section for scattering of longitudinally polarized W bosons grows toward the unitarity
upper limit, while for symmetry breaking by a weak force it cuts off while it is still small,
well below where unitarity would be saturated. In considering the experimental signals at
the LHC we should consider both the capability to observe strong WW scattering if it is
present and to exclude it if it is not.
The basic idea is that we have already discovered three quanta from the Higgs sector:
Here’s what’s next.
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Chanowitz, Michael S. The No-Higgs Signal: Strong WW Scattering at the LHC, article, December 7, 2004; Berkeley, California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc792743/m1/3/: accessed June 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.