Now, for the first time, physicists have detected a regime where the Higgs also decays into fermions.
"We now know that the Higgs particle can decay into both bosons and fermions, which means we can exclude certain theories predicting that the Higgs particle does not couple to fermions," said Vincenzo Chiochia, from the University of Zurich's Physics Institute. Chiochia is a member of the international team who analyzed the new data and one of the hundreds of scientists involved with The CMS Collaboration. This new research has been published in the journal Nature Physics.
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Fermions are the subatomic building blocks of all matter - including quarks, leptons (such as electrons) and combinations of quarks (hadrons like protons and neutrons) - and, according to these new results, the Higgs boson can decay into the bottom quarks (a heavy type of quark) and tau particles (a kind of heavy electron).
"In July 2012, we knew we had discovered some sort of boson, and it looked a lot like it was a Higgs boson," said Paul Padley of Rice University and member of the CMS Collaboration. "To firmly establish it's the Standard Model Higgs boson, there are a number of checks we have to do. This paper represents one of these fundamental checks."