Test of lepton universality in beauty-quark decays

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Aaij, R 
Beteta, CA 
Ackernley, T 
Adeva, B 
Adinolfi, M 

The Standard Model of particle physics currently provides our best description of fundamental particles and their interactions. The theory predicts that the different charged leptons, the electron, muon and tau, have identical electroweak interaction strengths. Previous measurements have shown a wide range of particle decays are consistent with this principle of lepton universality. This article presents evidence for the breaking of lepton universality in beauty-quark decays, with a significance of 3.1 standard deviations, based on proton-proton collision data collected with the LHCb detector at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The measurements are of processes in which a beauty meson transforms into a strange meson with the emission of either an electron and a positron, or a muon and an antimuon. If confirmed by future measurements, this violation of lepton universality would imply physics beyond the Standard Model, such as a new fundamental interaction between quarks and leptons.


Funder: We express our gratitude to our colleagues in the CERN accelerator departments for the excellent performance of the LHC. We thank the technical and administrative staff at the LHCb institutes. We acknowledge support from CERN and from the national agencies: CAPES, CNPq, FAPERJ and FINEP (Brazil); MOST and NSFC (China); CNRS/IN2P3 (France); BMBF, DFG and MPG (Germany); INFN (Italy); NWO (Netherlands); MNiSW and NCN (Poland); MEN/IFA (Romania); MSHE (Russia); MICINN (Spain); SNSF and SER (Switzerland); NASU (Ukraine); STFC (United Kingdom); DOE NP and NSF (USA). We acknowledge the computing resources that are provided by CERN, IN2P3 (France), KIT and DESY (Germany), INFN (Italy), SURF (Netherlands), PIC (Spain), GridPP (United Kingdom), RRCKI and Yandex LLC (Russia), CSCS (Switzerland), IFIN-HH (Romania), CBPF (Brazil), PL-GRID (Poland) and NERSC (USA). We are indebted to the communities behind the multiple open-source software packages on which we depend. Individual groups or members have received support from ARC and ARDC (Australia); AvH Foundation (Germany); EPLANET, Marie Sk\l{}odowska-Curie Actions and ERC (European Union); A*MIDEX, ANR, Labex P2IO and OCEVU, and R'{e}gion Auvergne-Rh^{o}ne-Alpes (France); Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of CAS, CAS PIFI, CAS CCEPP, Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, and Sci. & Tech. Program of Guangzhou (China); RFBR, RSF and Yandex LLC (Russia); GVA, XuntaGal and GENCAT (Spain); the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society and UKRI (United Kingdom).

hep-ex, hep-ex
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Nature Physics
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