Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Increasing collision energy in hadron collders doesn't always improve the abiilty to hunt down the Higgs. I know that if the Higgs mass is just above LEP exclusion, then even 7 TeV is too high to be optimum. However, I don't know the situation for a ~125 GeV Higgs.

If the Higgs mass is really around 125 GeV as recent data suggest, does it make sense for the LHC to increase the energy next year to 8 TeV, and does it make sense for the LHC to shutdown at the end of next year to prepare for 14 TeV run? Of course, increasing the collision energy generally benefits BSM searches, but I'm asking the question assuming only the Higgs is taken into consideration.

share|improve this question
    
This is a good question regarding optimum collider energy for a particular mass object. Surely there are particle physicists in the group with an opinion. –  Michael Luciuk Dec 15 '11 at 0:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

First of all, the Higgs will be 5-sigma discovered after the 2012 data, even at 7 TeV.

Second of all, after the 2013-14 break, the LHC will probably restart at 13 TeV, not 14 TeV, in 2015.

Third of all, see

How many $fb^{-1}$ for the most likely $5\sigma$ 115 Gev Higgs at the 7 Tev LHC?

to notice that it doesn't hurt if you raise the energy. The required number of collisions drops approximately inversely proportionally – to one-half – if the energy is raised. Compare the 7 TeV and 8 TeV lines in the graph above to see that this is the rough rule, regardless of the Higgs mass. A higher energy and the same integrated luminosity means a higher potential for discoveries and exclusions, a higher expected confidence level.

You probably build on the fact that the low-energy LEP and Tevatron colliders were better in detecting things near 100 GeV. But that's not really because of their "advantage" of a lower energy. There's no advantage in having a lower energy, except for lower costs. It's because LEP and Tevatron collided different particles.

LEP made clear collisions where electrons and positrons could merge to pure energy – a virtual neutral particle including the Higgs – and cleanly decay. Even quarks and antiquarks in the proton-antiproton collisions at the Tevatron could do it, although there were many other quarks and gluons from the protons and antiprotons around.

However, the LHC may only make virtual Higgses by annihilating quarks with antiquarks, but antiquarks are "minority partons" in both protons. So new particles, including the Higgs, often come from gluon fusion - gluons inside the protons annihilate – and these processes are messier, less likely, and have relatively larger background. Moreover, gluons with higher energies are more frequent inside the protons than gluons with lower energies (parton distribution functions for gluons increases with energy), so the gluons themselves may be too energetic.

But the high energy of the LHC protons themselves is never the real problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.