The W and Z bosons are the elementary particles

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The W and Z bosons are the elementary particles

Post by jancancook on Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:31 am

The W and Z bosons are the elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction; their symbols are W+
, W−
and Z. The W bosons have a positive and negative electric charge of 1 elementary charge respectively and are each other's antiparticle. The Z boson is electrically neutral and its own antiparticle. All three of these particles are very short-lived with a half-life of about 310−25 s. Their discovery was a major success for what is now called the Standard Model of particle physics. The W particles are named for the weak force.
The two W bosons are best known as mediators of neutrino absorption and emission, where their charge is associated with electron or positron emission or absorption, always causing nuclear transmutation. The Z boson is most easily detected as a necessary theoretical force-mediator, whenever neutrinos scatter elastically from matter, something that must happen without production or absorption of new charged particles. Such behavior (which is almost as common as inelastic neutrino interactions) is seen in bubble chambers irradiated with neutrino beams: whenever charged nuclei are seen to be struck by an (invisible) particle which can only be a neutrino, yet remain unchanged except for the impulse imparted by the neutrino, a (weak) force interaction between neutrino and nucleus mediated by a Z boson must be involved.

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