Grand unification energy

The grand unification energy , or the GUT scale, is the energy level above which, it is believed, the electromagnetic force, weak force, and strong force become equal in strength and unify to one force governed by a simple Lie group. The approximate grand unification energy value is equal to 1×1025 eV or 1016 GeV. Specific Grand unified theories (GUTs) can predict the grand unification energy but, usually, with large uncertainties due to model dependent details such as the choice of the gauge group, the Higgs sector, the matter content or further free parameters. Furthermore, at the moment it seems fair to state that there is no agreed minimal GUT.

The unification of the electroweak forces and the strong force with the gravitational force in a so-called "Theory of Everything" requires an even higher energy level which is generally assumed to be close to the Planck Scale. In theory, at such short distances, gravity becomes comparable in strength to the other three forces of nature known to date. This statement is modified if there exist additional dimensions of space at intermediate scales. In this case, the strength of gravitational interactions increases faster at smaller distances, and the energy scale at which all known forces of nature unify, can be considerably lower. This effect is exploited in models of large extra dimensions.

The exact value of the grand unification energy (if grand unification is indeed realized in nature) depends on the precise physics present at shorter distance scales not yet explored by experiments. If one assumes the Desert and supersymmetry, it is at around 1016 GeV.

The most powerful collider to date, the LHC, is designed to reach a center of mass energy of 1.4x104 GeV in proton-proton collisions. The scale 1016 GeV is only a few orders of magnitude below the Planck energy of 1019 GeV, and thus not within reach of man-made earth bound colliders. [1]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ross, G. (1984). Grand Unified Theories. Westview Press. ISBN 978-0-8053-6968-7.
Electronvolt

In physics, the electronvolt (symbol eV, also written electron-volt and electron volt) is a unit of energy equal to approximately 1.6×10−19 joules (symbol J) in SI units.

Historically, the electronvolt was devised as a standard unit of measure through its usefulness in electrostatic particle accelerator sciences, because a particle with electric charge q has an energy E = qV after passing through the potential V; if q is quoted in integer units of the elementary charge and the potential in volts, one gets an energy in eV.

Like the elementary charge on which it is based, it is not an independent quantity but is equal to 1 J/C √2hα / μ0c0. It is a common unit of energy within physics, widely used in solid state, atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. It is commonly used with the metric prefixes milli-, kilo-, mega-, giga-, tera-, peta- or exa- (meV, keV, MeV, GeV, TeV, PeV and EeV respectively). In some older documents, and in the name Bevatron, the symbol BeV is used, which stands for billion (109) electronvolts; it is equivalent to the GeV.

Grand Unified Theory

A Grand Unified Theory (GUT) is a model in particle physics in which, at high energy, the three gauge interactions of the Standard Model that define the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions, or forces, are merged into a single force. Although this unified force has not been directly observed, the many GUT models theorize its existence. If unification of these three interactions is possible, it raises the possibility that there was a grand unification epoch in the very early universe in which these three fundamental interactions were not yet distinct.

Experiments have confirmed that at high energy, the electromagnetic interaction and weak interaction unify into a single electroweak interaction. GUT models predict that at even higher energy, the strong interaction and the electroweak interaction will unify into a single electronuclear interaction. This interaction is characterized by one larger gauge symmetry and thus several force carriers, but one unified coupling constant. Unifying gravity with the electronuclear interaction would provide a theory of everything (TOE) rather than a GUT. GUTs are often seen as an intermediate step towards a TOE.

The novel particles predicted by GUT models are expected to have extremely low masses around the GUT scale—just a few orders of magnitude below the Planck scale—and so are well beyond the reach of any foreseen particle collider experiments. Therefore, the particles predicted by GUT models will be unable to be observed directly and instead the effects of grand unification might be detected through indirect observations such as proton decay, electric dipole moments of elementary particles, or the properties of neutrinos. Some GUTs, such as the Pati-Salam model, predict the existence of magnetic monopoles.

GUT models which aim to be completely realistic are quite complicated, even compared to the Standard Model, because they need to introduce additional fields and interactions, or even additional dimensions of space. The main reason for this complexity lies in the difficulty of reproducing the observed fermion masses and mixing angles which may be related to an existence of some additional family symmetries beyond the conventional GUT models. Due to this difficulty, and due to the lack of any observed effect of grand unification so far, there is no generally accepted GUT model.

Models that do not unify the three interactions using one simple group as the gauge symmetry, but do so using semisimple groups, can exhibit similar properties and are sometimes referred to as Grand Unified Theories as well.

Grand unification epoch

In physical cosmology, assuming that nature is described by a Grand Unified Theory, the grand unification epoch was the period in the evolution of the early universe following the Planck epoch, starting at about 10−43 seconds after the Big Bang, in which the temperature of the universe was comparable to the characteristic temperatures of grand unified theories. If the grand unification energy is taken to be 1015 GeV, this corresponds to temperatures higher than 1027 K. During this period, three of the four fundamental interactions—electromagnetism, the strong interaction, and the weak interaction—were unified as the electronuclear force. Gravity had separated from the electronuclear force at the end of the Planck era. During the grand unification epoch, physical characteristics such as mass, charge, flavour and colour charge were meaningless.

The grand unification epoch ended at approximately 10−36 seconds after the Big Bang. At this point several key events took place. The strong force separated from the other fundamental forces.

It is possible that some part of this decay process violated the conservation of baryon number and gave rise to a small excess of matter over antimatter (see baryogenesis). This phase transition is also thought to have triggered the process of cosmic inflation that dominated the development of the universe during the following inflationary epoch.

Hierarchy problem

In theoretical physics, the hierarchy problem is the large discrepancy between aspects of the weak force and gravity. There is no scientific consensus on why, for example, the weak force is 1024 times stronger than gravity.

Higgs boson

The Higgs boson is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics, produced by the quantum excitation of the Higgs field, one of the fields in particle physics theory. It is named after physicist Peter Higgs, who in 1964, along with five other scientists, proposed the mechanism which suggested the existence of such a particle. Its existence was confirmed in 2012 by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations based on collisions in the LHC at CERN.

On December 10, 2013, two of the physicists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their theoretical predictions. Although Higgs's name has come to be associated with this theory (the Higgs mechanism), several researchers between about 1960 and 1972 independently developed different parts of it.

In mainstream media the Higgs boson has often been called the "God particle", from a 1993 book on the topic, although the nickname is strongly disliked by many physicists, including Higgs himself, who regard it as sensationalism.

Index of physics articles (G)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

Strong interaction

In particle physics, the strong interaction is the mechanism responsible for the strong nuclear force (also called the strong force, nuclear strong force, or colour force), and is one of the four known fundamental interactions, with the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction, and gravitation. At the range of 10−15 m (1 femtometer), the strong force is approximately 137 times as strong as electromagnetism, a million times as strong as the weak interaction, and 1038 times as strong as gravitation. The strong nuclear force holds most ordinary matter together because it confines quarks into hadron particles such as the proton and neutron. In addition, the strong force binds neutrons and protons to create atomic nuclei. Most of the mass of a common proton or neutron is the result of the strong force field energy; the individual quarks provide only about 1% of the mass of a proton.

The strong interaction is observable at two ranges and mediated by two force carriers. On a larger scale (about 1 to 3 fm), it is the force (carried by mesons) that binds protons and neutrons (nucleons) together to form the nucleus of an atom. On the smaller scale (less than about 0.8 fm, the radius of a nucleon), it is the force (carried by gluons) that holds quarks together to form protons, neutrons, and other hadron particles. In the latter context, it is often known as the color force. The strong force inherently has such a high strength that hadrons bound by the strong force can produce new massive particles. Thus, if hadrons are struck by high-energy particles, they give rise to new hadrons instead of emitting freely moving radiation (gluons). This property of the strong force is called color confinement, and it prevents the free "emission" of the strong force: instead, in practice, jets of massive particles are produced.

In the context of atomic nuclei, the same strong interaction force (that binds quarks within a nucleon) also binds protons and neutrons together to form a nucleus. In this capacity it is called the nuclear force (or residual strong force). So the residuum from the strong interaction within protons and neutrons also binds nuclei together. As such, the residual strong interaction obeys a quite different distance-dependent behavior between nucleons, from when it is acting to bind quarks within nucleons. Differences in the binding energy of the nuclear force between different nuclei power nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion accounts for most energy production in the Sun and other stars. Nuclear fission allows for decay of radioactive elements and isotopes, although it is often mediated by the weak interaction. Artificially, the energy associated with the nuclear force is partially released in nuclear power and nuclear weapons, both in uranium or plutonium-based fission weapons and in fusion weapons like the hydrogen bomb.The strong interaction is mediated by the exchange of massless particles called gluons that act between quarks, antiquarks, and other gluons. Gluons are thought to interact with quarks and other gluons by way of a type of charge called color charge. Color charge is analogous to electromagnetic charge, but it comes in three types (±red, ±green, ±blue) rather than one, which results in a different type of force, with different rules of behavior. These rules are detailed in the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which is the theory of quark-gluon interactions.

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