The signature plot of the analysis for the mass of the di-tau system.*
Are CDF scientists seeing hints of the Higgs boson?
Or is nature teasing them yet again?
The Higgs, thought to impart mass to all particles, decays preferentially to
heavier ones. The tau lepton, a heavy cousin of the ubiquitous electron, is
thus a good choice for Higgs searches.
CDF physicists have recently completed a search for tau pairs from Higgs
decays. When they examined their signature plot, shown above, they saw
something interesting: excess data in a certain mass region. Fitting
programs used to extract Higgs signatures claimed a slightly enhanced
probability for the Higgs at masses between 150 and 160 GeV/c2. Seeing a
signal at this luminosity (1 fb-1) would make sense if the Higgs
were part of a larger supersymmetric theory, rather than the currently
accepted standard model. Is the ever-so-shy Higgs boson finally peeking out?
Or is there a more prosaic answer?
Most probably the latter, but time will tell.
For now, the CDF results put the tightest constraints yet on the production
of an uncharged minimally supersymmetric Higgs. The CDF team is adding more
data and sensitivity to their analysis. We await the results with bated
*Graphic at top of page: *Since tau decays have neutrinos, which don't interact with the detector, the full invariant mass of the di-tau system cannot be calculated. Instead, a partially reconstructed mass called visible mass (m_vis) is used. "φ," shown in yellow, represents a hypothetical Higgs signal.
Image below, from left: Amit Lath (Rutgers), John Conway (U of California, Davis), Anton Anastassov (Rutgers), Cristobal Almenar (U of California, Davis) and Dongwook Jang (Rutgers).