Particle Zoo

The Standard Model

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The W Boson

Symbol: W
Group: boson, gauge boson
Rest mass: 86.34 u
Charge: ±1
Mean lifetime: 3 x 10-25 sec
Spin: 1
The W bosons (W- and its antiparticle W+) are, together with the Z boson, carriers of the weak interaction. This force, which is 1013 times weaker than the strong interaction, is limited to a very small space of 10-18 meters. It affects quarks and leptons and causes the transmutation of particles. A W boson is involved, where charge and spin get changed. A negatively charged electron can transform into a neutral electron neutrino by emitting a W- (charge change +1). A W+ causes a charge change of -1. Such processes are responsible for the radioactive beta decay and other phenomens. The W boson that occurs there is about as heavy as an atom of the element rubidium and decays extremely fast into leptons or hadrons.



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