The elusive Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle," may not have been discovered despite claims of it being detected, some scientists are saying.
Particle physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced 2 years ago they had discovered the Higgs particle, considered the foundation particle in the Standard Model of Particle physics, and a Nobel Prize was awarded to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for their work on the theory of the Higgs boson.
Now, though, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark's Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology suggest that while the CERN scientists did discover a unique new particle, there's no conclusive evidence of it being the Higgs boson.
The Higgs could explain data obtained by CERN scientists using the Large Hadron Collider, but other particles could have created the data, suggesting there might be alternate explanations for it, they say in a paper published in the journal Physical Review D.
"The current data is not precise enough to determine exactly what the particle is," says university researcher Mads Toudal Frandsen. "It could be a number of other known particles."
One possibility is that the CERN team was seeing a theoretical particle dubbed the techni-higgs, he says.
"This particle is in some ways similar to the Higgs particle -- hence half of the name."
The Higgs and the techni-higgs sit at the center of competing models of the physics of the creation of the universe.
The Higgs boson anchors the Standard Model of the fundamental forces that govern the basic building blocks of matter.
However, the model doesn't explain dark matter, the mysterious substance making up the majority of the matter in the universe.
The techni-higgs particle -- if in fact it is real -- is a completely different concept, Frandsen explains.
"A techni-higgs particle is not an elementary particle. Instead, it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary," he says.
"Techni-quarks may bind together in various ways to form for instance techni-higgs particles, while other combinations may form dark matter. We therefore expect to find several different particles at the LHC, all built by techni-quarks."
If techni-quarks do exist, they would need some kind of force to bring them together to form particles, but none of the known natural forces of the Standard Model (gravity, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force) would serve to bind techni-quarks into particles, suggesting an as-yet undetected force researchers have dubbed the technicolor force.
What the LHC at CERN found could either be the Standard Model's Higgs particle or possibly a techni-higgs particle, made up of two techni-quarks, Frandsen suggests.
Additional data from experiments at CERN, which is presently upgrading the LHC to provide even more power for accelerating particles, might allow researchers to detect techni-quarks directly, he says.