The ATLAS experiment with high precision has registered a rare collision of two photons by pair creation of carriers of the weak interaction, the W bosons. This result obtained after analysis acquired in 2015-2018 data, allows the use of TANK as a source of high-energy photons for direct studies of the electroweak interaction. Discovered process experimentally confirms the predictions of the electroweak theory and provides researchers new ways to study this phenomenon. Physicists from ATLAS announced the result at the last online conference, ICHEP, report available on the website of the experiment.
Taught in school that two light beams can interact with each other. This is true in the framework of classical electrodynamics, however, the Standard model in this regard gives quite different predictions. In this already classical in the framework of particle physics theory of photons — quanta of light and carry the electromagnetic interaction can scatter on each other and in direct confrontation even to give birth to new particles. Physics at the Large hadron Collider have repeatedly seen this phenomenon. For example, in 2017 for ATLAS saw the process of interaction of two photons with the birth of the other two photons — an effect that has long been predicted in the framework of quantum electrodynamics.
However, this time scientists have discovered a much more complex process of collision of two photons with the production of two W bosons. Yourself W-bosons are carriers of the weak interaction — one of four possible within the framework of the Standard model interactions along with the electromagnetic, strong and gravitational. According to the theory of the electroweak interaction, which is part of the Standard model, photons and W-bosons can interact not only with the surrounding matter, but also with each other. ATLAS previously already reported about the discovery of this process, the data from the first season of operation of the Large hadron Collider, but then the experimenters failed to achieve sufficient to confirm the discovery of statistical accuracy.