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Have we detected any decays of electrons to an electron neutrino and $W$-boson in Fermilab or in CERN? Are neutrinos the only possible stable leptons inside an electroweak field?

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds difficult. How would you make an electron decay? Collide two high energy electron beams? A W- has a huge rest mass, so those beam energies would be insanely high. Also, the W- is normally detected via the electron that's produced when it decays. I think that's going to be very tricky in the presence of your high energy electron beams. But I Am Not A Particle Physicist. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Mar 20 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ In electroweak fields W- bosons have 0 rest mass. $\endgroup$ – Jelly Strawberry Mar 20 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean? A W boson has a (rest) mass of 80.379±0.012 GeV/c², an electron has a mass of only 511 keV/c². Of course, a virtual W boson can have a different mass. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Mar 20 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ W- bosons have 0 average rest mass under an electroweak field.Actually they stop being W- bosons but just for the sake of the question. $\endgroup$ – Jelly Strawberry Mar 20 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ @JellyStrawberry Completely misleading. Before symmetry breaking all particlles have zero mass, so this has nothing to to with the question, since symmetry broke in our universe before $10^{-10}$ seconds after the big bang hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Astro/timlin.html . Since then all particles have the masses seen in this table. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_particle $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 20 at 13:34
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Have we detected any decays of electrons to an electron neutrino and W- boson in Fermilab or in CERN?Are neutrinos the only possible stable leptons inside an electroweak field?

This cannot happen because energy and charge conservation are absolute laws. Particles can decay to other particles when the sum of the masses of the decay products is smaller than the mass of the original particle, (and also various quantum number consrvations laws are obeyed). See the table

elem

The electron is a charged lepton, leptons can decay to other leptons, but not the electron since the other two charged leptons are heavier.

leptonscharged

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  • $\begingroup$ Well yes in normal energies . But if we accelerate the electron in high velocities then we know talk about its electroweak field. Since W- bosons have 0 average rest mass under an electroweak field it is possible for an electron to decay to a W- boson and an electron neutrino. $\endgroup$ – Jelly Strawberry Mar 21 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ @JellyStrawberry ignoring the fact that we cannot reach electroweak breaking energies in the lab, the standard model has exactly the same group structure before breaking in the mainstream model. In addition, for a decay an energy difference should exist, and 0 mass of electron is exactly equal to 0 mass of W, . Another way of looking at it is that the four vectors of the W and neutrino, would have to be e xactly collinear , for energy and momentum conservation. $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 21 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ Electrons didn't have 0 mass under electroweak epoch. $\endgroup$ – Jelly Strawberry Mar 21 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ @JellyStrawberry in the standar model , yes, they had zero mass. They acquire a mass indirectly from the existance of the higgs mechanism, see this article which summarizes the state of theoretical knowledge before confirmation experimentally of the existence of the Higgs boson. arxiv.org/pdf/0704.2232.pdf $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 21 at 4:42
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A very interesting question. If we ignore charge conservation law, then electron could decay into neutrino and photon : $$ e^− \to ν_e + \gamma $$ Current estimates gives that life time of electron $\gt 10^{26} \,\text{years}$. Feynman diagram of such electron decay :

enter image description here

It is calculated that energy needed to break electron into neutrino + photon is on the order $\approx 10^{22} \,\text{GeV} $.
So it's by $1'000$ times greater than Plank energy !

As far as I know CERN achieved biggest record of it's collision energies $\approx 10^6 \text{GeV}$ at 25 Nov 2015. No need to say that this is only very very tiny amount of energy required for actually breaking the electron. Probably for this event to occur we need a particle accelerator with diameter comparable to our Sun planetary system size or even greater. Which would cost some gazillions of USA yearly budget. So as for now technologically we will not be able to test if charge conservation law holds or not for electron.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Mar 23 at 12:56

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