I know what spin is and how theories determine it for particles. What I don't understand yet, is how people, through experiments and data analysis or whatever, reach to confirm/say that the $X$ particle has spin $s$.

For example: when the Higgs boson was finally discovered, there has been an initial (necessary) period in which everything has to be confirmed. Spin too. I remember that during those months people were more than anything else waiting for the confirmation that the Higgs had spin $0$.

Now I'm asking: how/ what is/are the process/es, in experiments, through which one does determine with experiments the spin of a particle? Is it "simple" some data analysis? How does this work?

Answers I already read, which are however incomplete or unclear

How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum of a fundamental particle?

Why is the Higgs boson spin 0?

How do you find spin of a particle from experimental data?

What are the ways of finding the spin of a particle

  • $\begingroup$ You separate the beam magnetically for charged particles, and count the spots: Stern-Gerlach type device, as improved by Rabi. For photons you have polarization, which can be separated by nonlinear optical materials, left or right handed circular corresponds nicely to helicity. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2016 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern-Gerlach_experiment $\endgroup$
    – hsnee
    Mar 14, 2016 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


One of the main methods used to determine the spin of a particle experimentally involves analyzing the angular distribution (or the differential cross section over the scattering angles) of the particles produced in particle collisions. Spin is a fundamental property of a particle that determines its intrinsic angular momentum, which can have an effect on the angular distribution of the particles produced in a collision.

In high-energy particle physics experiments, particle colliders are used to produce high-energy particle collisions. The resulting particles are then detected and analyzed using various types of particle detectors, such as calorimeters and tracking detectors. The data from these detectors is used to determine the momentum and direction of the particles produced in the collision, which can then be used to determine their spin.

The process of determining the spin of a particle can be complicated, involving sophisticated detectors and rigorous data analysis techniques. However, the basic idea of using the angular distribution of the particles produced in collisions is one rather model-independent way to infer information about the spin of the particle.


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