LHCb has unveiled pictures of a Z boson inside the experiment. This boson is one of the best understood of all particle species. It shows us how the forces of electricity, magnetism and radiation are connected inside the Standard Model, our theory of particle physics. Measurements of how often we see Z bosons inside LHCb will provide a sensitive test of how well our theory describes this particle at the record breaking energies of the LHC.
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In this picture the Z boson has decayed immediately to two muons μ, shown by the thick white lines which point to the green muon chamber hits in the outer circle of the Eolas display (described in 10 June 2010 News). Not much else happens inside LHCb when a Z is at work – only a few other particles are visible – and this makes it an easy particle to find. We’re looking forward to collecting more of them now, and really testing how well the Standard Model performs for us.