Topic of the Week: Observation of the Higgs boson decaying to bottom quarks in CMS

Racetrack - WH7XO (Fermilab)

Racetrack - WH7XO


Javier Mauricio Duarte (Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (US)), Si Xie (California Institute of Technology (US))

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), much effort has been made to measure its properties. One of these properties is its preference to decay into a bottom quark-antiquark pair around 58% of the time. Despite this large branching fraction, an observation of this decay mode had so far remained elusive because of the overwhelming background of bottom quark production due to strong interactions. 

The recent CMS observation of this decay mode and measurement of its signal strength exploits the vector boson associated production channel VH(bb̅) and represents a major milestone in the study of the Higgs sector of the standard model. This experimental achievement makes use of advanced machine learning techniques to identify the bottom quark distinctive signature, improve the Higgs boson mass resolution, and discriminate the Higgs boson signal from background processes. I will discuss this new observation, touching on its broader history and challenges, and present the latest results from CMS.

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