In the context of Lagrangian of Standard Model of particle physics, is the usage of the notation with $B_{\mu}$ and $W_{\mu}$ before electroweak symmetry breaking (EWSB), and the notation with $\gamma$, $Z$, $W^{\pm}$ after electroweak symmetry breaking?

Or is the notation independent to that?


1 Answer 1


You can use whatever notation / representation for the fields you want to; physics can't depend on your choice of variables. But yes $B_\mu$ and $W_\mu$ are more useful variables for describing the Standard Model when the Higgs vev is zero, and $\gamma, Z, W^{\pm}$ are more useful when the Higgs vev takes its present-day value.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your kind explanation. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2022 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew sorry for the trivial question. Did you use the expression "higgs vev zero/not zero" rather than "symmetry breaking" because of this physics.stackexchange.com/a/439384/226902 ? $\endgroup$
    – Quillo
    Jan 13, 2023 at 9:02
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    $\begingroup$ @MathieuKrisztian As far as I'm concerned, "electroweak symmetry breaking" is equivalent to "Higgs vev is nonzero." Although, your linked answer is correct, that you can't really spontaneously break a gauge symmetry, so "spontaneous symmetry breaking" is a misnomer for describing what happens in the electroweak sector, even though that's the standard terminology. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Jan 13, 2023 at 11:31

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