The 2012 announcement of the discovery of the Higgs Boson was arguably one of the most reported science stories of the century so far, but a paper in Physical Review D challenges the claim. The authors agree that the two CERN teams identified a new particle, but dispute that it was necessarily the Higgs itself, rather than an even more exotic particle.
"The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle. It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations," says author Dr. Mads Frandsen of the University of Southern Denmark.
The authors argue that it is possible the resonance found at 125 GeV is a “technicolor (TC) isosinglet scalar, the TC Higgs.” Among the competing models of the universe, many predicted the Higgs with a mass in a range that included 125 GeV, where the particle was found. However, in certain models, known as technicolor, the Higgs is likely to have a higher mass, and another particle, known as the TC Higgs or techni-higgs would exist around this level.
Though they sound similar, the techni-higgs is quite different.
"A techni-higgs particle is not an elementary particle. Instead, it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary. Techni-quarks may bind together in various ways to form for instance techni-higgs particles, while other combinations may form dark matter. We therefore expect to find several different particles at the LHC, all built by techni-quarks,” says Frandsen.
Confirmation of the Higgs is needed to confirm what is known as the Standard Model, as well as to support or discredit multiple competing models that build on the Standard Model. The technicolor models, on which this paper is based, generally predict that the Higgs has an energy larger than 125 GeV.
Nevertheless, proof of techni-quark existence would require the existence of a force to bind them, since the TC-Higgs, if it exists, would be made of two techni-quarks that need to be held together. Since our models of techni-quarks indicate the four known forces would not do the job, some new “technicolor force” would be required. The search to identify such a hypothetical technicolor force would take particle physics in important new directions.
The confidence that the particle found with a mass of 125 GeV represented the Higgs was based on the decay path of the particles released as it decayed, but still generated some doubts. Since then, confidence has improved with the finding that particles produced as the suspected-Higgs decays behave as anticipated.
Nevertheless, Frandsen and his co-authors are unconvinced, arguing that in some possible models fermions produced in the decay of a techni-higgs would be very similar to those seen for the Higgs itself. Frandsen and his colleagues believe it's possible to distinguish the Higgs from the techni-higgs, but it would take an even larger and more powerful particle accelerator than the Large Hadron Collider.
In response to the paper, Dr. Darin Acosta, a professor of physics from the University of Florida, posted the following video below explaining more about the Higgs.