Topics: Modern Physics, Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Quarks
Note: A primer on quarks at Hyperphysics
On 17 January 1957, a few months after Chien-Shiung Wu’s discovery of parity violation, Wolfgang Pauli wrote to Victor Weisskopf: “Ich glaube aber nicht, daß der Herrgott ein schwacher Linkshänder ist” (I cannot believe that God is a weak left-hander). But maximal parity violation is now well established within the Standard Model (SM). The weak interaction only couples to left-handed particles, as dramatically seen in the continuing absence of experimental evidence for right-handed neutrinos. In the same way, the polarisation of photons originating from transitions that involve the weak interaction is expected to be completely left-handed.
The LHCb collaboration recently tested the handedness of photons emitted in rare flavour-changing transitions from a b-quark to an s-quark. These are mediated by the bosons of the weak interaction according to the SM – but what if new virtual particles contribute too? Their presence could be clearly signalled by a right-handed contribution to the photon polarization.
In pursuit of right-handed photons, A report from the LHCb experiment, CERN Courier