These bosons are among the heavyweights

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These bosons are among the heavyweights

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

These bosons are among the heavyweights of the elementary particles. With masses of 80.4 GeV/c2 and 91.2 GeV/c2, respectively, the W and Z bosons are almost 100 times as massive as the proton—heavier than entire atoms of iron. The masses of these bosons are significant because they act as the force carriers of a quite short-range fundamental force: their high masses thus limit the range of the weak nuclear force. By way of contrast, the electromagnetic force has an infinite range because its force carrier, the photon, has zero rest mass.
All three bosons have particle spin s = 1. The emission of a W+
or W−
boson either raises or lowers the electric charge of the emitting particle by one unit, and also alters the spin by one unit. At the same time, the emission or absorption of a W boson can change the type of the particle – for example changing a strange quark into an up quark. The neutral Z boson obviously cannot change the electric charge of any particle, nor can it change any other of the so-called "charges" (such as strangeness, baryon number, charm, etc.). The emission or absorption of a Z boson can only change the spin, momentum, and energy of the other particle. (See also, weak neutral current).

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