I read that all bosons contribute to the casimir effect with an attractive force.


Does the Higgs boson contribute to the Casimir effect? Could it be the missing 5%?

  • $\begingroup$ Due to experimental error it's not clear it actually disagrees at all. $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Nov 18 '13 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ How much force would virtual Higgs bosons exert in theory? Can it be worked out now that we know it's mass? $\endgroup$ – Jitter Nov 18 '13 at 5:56

No, Higgs particles do not contribute to Casimir forces.

Casimir effect happens because virtual particles are excluded from the gap between two solids when the separation distance is smaller than the particle wavelength (multiplied by smallish integers). Its force is barely measurable when objects are within about a micron ($10^{-6}$ m) of each other, and becomes stronger by an inverse-quartic function (distance to the 4th power).

The atoms composing a solid object are typically about 1 angstrom ($10^{-10}$ m) apart; atoms themselves are also measured on angstrom scale. Therefore, you can only consider objects to be "separate" from each other at distances of at least nanometer ($10^{-9}$ m) scale. Closer than that, the objects are "touching" and Casimir no longer applies.

A particle's wavelength is an inverse function of its mass/energy. A Higgs particle has very high energy (125 GeV) and consequently a very tiny wavelength: $10^{-17}$ meters, smaller than the radius of a proton. This is vastly below separation distance, therefore Higgs particles cannot contribute to Casimir effect.


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