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Study of WW decay of a Higgs boson with the ALEPH and CMS detectors

Christophe Delaere

PHD Thesis



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Christophe Delaere
promoteur : Vincent Lemaitre
UCL. SC/PHYS - Département de physique
Doctorat en sciences (sciences physiques) (PHYS 3)--UCL, 2005

The Standard Model is a mathematical description of the very nature of elementary particles and their interactions, now seen as relativistic quantum fields. A key feature of the theory is the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, responsible for the spontaneous symmetry breaking of the underlying gauge symmetry, and which implies the existence of a neutral Higgs particle. Searches for the Higgs boson were conducted at the Large Electron Positron collider until 2000 and are still ongoing at the Tevatron collider, but the particle has not been not observed. In order to better constrain models with an exotic electroweak symmetry breaking sector, a search for a Higgs boson decaying into a W pair is carried out with the ALEPH detector on 453 pb-1 of data collected at center-of-mass energies up to 209 GeV. The analysis is optimized for the many topologies resulting from the six-fermion final state. A lower limit at 105.8 GeV/c² on the Higgs boson mass in a fermiophobic Higgs boson scenario is obtained. The ultimate machine for the Higgs boson discovery is the Large Hadron Collider, which is being built at CERN. In order to evaluate the physics potential of the CMS detector, the WH associated production of a Higgs boson decaying into a W pair is studied. Performances of data acquisition and its sophisticated trigger system, particle identification and event reconstruction are investigated by performing a detailed analysis on simulated data. Three-lepton final states are shown to provide interesting possibilities. For an integrated luminosity of 100 fb-1, a potential signal significance of more than 5σ is obtained in the mass interval between 155 and 178 GeV/c². The corresponding precision on the Higgs boson mass and partial decay width into W pairs are evaluated. This channel also provides one of the very few possible avenues towards the discovery of a fermiophobic Higgs boson below 180 GeV/c². These studies required many original technical developments, that are also presented.

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