Higgs Could Reveal Itself in Dark-Matter Collisions

FermiJon Cartwright in Physics World:

The LHC was built to search for a wealth of new physics but its foremost target has always been the Higgs. The only fundamental particle in the Standard Model yet to be discovered, the Higgs – or more precisely its associated field – is supposed to “stick” to other particles and thus give them the property of mass. Many particle physicists have been hoping that the LHC’s expected collision energies of 14 TeV will be powerful enough to finally unearth the Higgs, and in doing so wrap up the Standard Model.

However, Taoso’s group, which includes members at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University in Illinois, US, thinks experiments searching for traces of dark matter might get there first. Dark matter is thought to make up more than 80% of the matter in the universe but it does not interact with light (hence being “dark”) so its presence has only been inferred from its gravitational effects on normal matter.

Most models of the universe suggest that dark matter was more prevalent in the distant past, and this has led physicists to assume that dark-matter particles have been annihilating one another through collisions. Although dark matter itself doesn’t interact with light, such an annihilation could generate a photon and another particle, possibly the Higgs.

The researchers claim that detecting this Higgs would be a matter of spotting the partner photon with an energy reflecting the Higgs’s mass. If their calculations are correct, gamma-ray telescopes like Fermi might see the first evidence within a year.