I am struggling with calculating the exclusive semileptonic $B_c^+\rightarrow J/\psi l^+\nu_l$ decay. I learnt that the amplitude is given by a product of the leptonic current $L^{\mu}$ and the hadronic current $H^{\mu}$ $$ \mathcal{M}(B_c\rightarrow J/\psi l^+\nu_l)=\frac{G_F}{\sqrt{2}}V_{cb}L^{\mu}H_{\mu} $$ where $V_{cb}$ is the CKM parameter, $L^{\mu}$ and $H^{\mu}$ are expressed as $$ L^{\mu}=\bar{u}_l\gamma^{\mu}(1-\gamma^5)v_{\nu},\quad H^{\mu}=\langle J/\psi|J^{\mu}(0)|B_c\rangle $$ where $J^{\mu}$ is the $V$-$A$ weak current. However, I did not know how this result can be derived. Could anyone provide some help?

There is a second problem. On the tree-level, we have the following Feynman diagram enter image description here

If we calculate $\bar{b}\rightarrow\bar{c}l^+\nu_l$ as a three-body decay in the electroweak theory (not the four-fermion approximation adopted above), how does it relate to $B_c^+\rightarrow J/\psi l^+\nu_l$?


1 Answer 1


For this process, the interaction Hamiltonian is given by:

$$\mathcal{H}_{\rm int}=-\frac{g}{\sqrt 2}\left(V_{cb}\bar{b}_L\gamma^\mu c_L W^-_\mu+\bar{\nu}_L\gamma^\mu\ell_L W^+_\mu\right).$$

After integrating-out the heavy bosons, we obtain the following Hamiltonian

$$\mathcal{H}_{\rm eff}=-\dfrac{G_F}{\sqrt{2}}V_{cb}[\bar{b}\gamma^\mu(1-\gamma_5)c][\bar{\nu}\gamma^\mu(1-\gamma_5)\ell],$$ where $G_F/\sqrt{2}=g^2/(8 m_W^2)$ is the Fermi constant.

To obtain the tree-level amplitude for the process $B_c\to J/\psi \ell^+ \nu$, we consider the following matrix element

$$\mathcal{A}(B_c\to J/\psi \ell^+ \nu)=-i\langle J/\psi \,\ell^+\, \nu_\ell |\mathcal{H}_{\rm eff} | B_c\rangle. $$ If you write explicitly the leptonic fields in terms of creation and annihilation operators, then you will notice that $$\mathcal{A}(B_c\to J/\psi \ell^+ \nu)=i \dfrac{G_F}{\sqrt{2}}V_{cb}\bar{u}_\nu \gamma^\mu (1-\gamma_5) v_\ell \langle J/\psi| \bar{b}\gamma^\mu(1-\gamma_5)c| B_c\rangle.$$

Note that we have isolated the hadronix matrix element from the rest. Now, if we are able to find this element by using Lattice QCD methods or experimental results, then we will be able to compute the decay rate and other observables. [However, I don't think this is possible for this particular transition at present.]

For your second question, if you consider only valence quarks in the mesons, then you are using a tree-level approximation to describe hadronic states. This is a crude approximation, because QCD is non-perturbative at low energies. You can improve it by computing high-order QCD corrections, but you will never have a reliable result.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much! Is it possible to introduce something like parton distribution function to relate the tree-level approximation to the decay of $B_c$ meson? $\endgroup$
    – soliton
    Jun 14, 2014 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ Usually we use Lorentz and parity symmetry to express the hadronic matrix element in terms of functions called form factors. These functions can be fitted from experimental data, if we have experimental access to the differential branching ratio, or it can be obtained by Lattice QCD numerical simulations. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2014 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ However, this is the very complicated for the problem you mentioned. Since the final meson is a vector particle, you can show that you need several of these functions, because of the rich spin structure. One can find a much simpler framework in the transitions $B_c\to \eta_c$, because in this case the final particle is a pseudoscalar meson and you need only two form-factors (in the Standard Model). $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2014 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you can introduce parton distribution functions, but I believe that we don't have direct experimental access to these quantities. Remember: these particles are very unstable and we cannot do scattering experiment as we do with protons. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2014 at 13:29

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