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The Higgs Boson decays into other particles

Higgs bosons decay into other particles almost instantly after they are produced, so we only see the products of the decay. The most common decays (among those we are capable of seeing) are those to:

Each possible way the Higgs can decay is known as a "decay channel" or "decay mode."

The mode is the most common, but many other processes can produce these particles, so if you observe , it's hard to tell if it came from the Higgs or something else. We say that the decay mode has a large "background."

The best decay channels to look for the Higgs are the 2 photon and in 2 Z boson channels.*

*A technicality: For a 125-GeV Higgs boson, the decay to two Z bosons is not possible because Z bosons have a mass of 91 GeV so the pair has a mass of 182 GeV, which is more than 125 GeV. However, what we do observe is the decay to a Z boson and a virtual Z boson (Z*) whose effective mass is much less.