Improving the sensitivity of Higgs boson searches in the golden channel

James S. Gainer*, Kunal Kumar, Ian Low, Roberto Vega-Morales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Leptonic decays of the Higgs boson in the ZZ(*) channel yield what is known as the golden channel due to its clean signature and good total invariant mass resolution. In addition, the full kinematic distribution of the decay products can be reconstructed, which, nonetheless, is not taken into account in traditional search strategy relying only on measurements of the total invariant mass. In this work we implement a type of multivariate analysis known as the matrix element method, which exploits differences in the full pro- duction and decay matrix elements between the Higgs boson and the dominant irreducible background from q-q → ZZ(*). Analytic expressions of the differential distributions for both the signal and the background are also presented. We perform a study for the Large Hadron Collider at √ s = 7 TeV for Higgs masses between 175 and 350 GeV. We find that, with an integrated luminosity of 2.5 fb-1 or higher, improvements in the order of 10{20% could be obtained for both discovery significance and exclusion limits in the high mass region, where the differences in the angular correlations between signal and background are most pronounced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number027
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011


  • Higgs Physics
  • Standard Model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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