Revealing the electroweak properties of a new scalar resonance

Ian Low*, Joseph Lykken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


One or more new heavy resonances may be discovered in experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. In order to determine if such a resonance is the long-awaited Higgs boson, it is essential to pin down its spin, CP, and electroweak quantum numbers. Here we describe how to determine what role a newly-discovered neutral CP-even scalar plays in electroweak symmetry breaking, by measuring its relative decay rates into pairs of electroweak vector bosons: W+W-, ZZ, γγ, and Zγ. With the data-driven assumption that electroweak symmetry breaking respects a remnant custodial symmetry, we perform a general analysis with operators up to dimension five. Remarkably, only three pure cases and one nontrivial mixed case need to be disambiguated, which can always be done if all four decay modes to electroweak vector bosons can be observed or constrained. We exhibit interesting special cases of Higgs look-alikes with nonstandard decay patterns, including a very suppressed branching to W+W- or very enhanced branchings to γγ and Zγ. Even if two vector boson branching fractions conform to Standard Model expectations for a Higgs doublet, measurements of the other two decay modes could unmask a Higgs imposter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2010


  • Beyond standard model
  • Higgs physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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