Alternatives to the Standard Model Higgs
Although the Higgs boson, as included in the Standard Model, is arguably the simplest method of achieving the Higgs mechanism, it is not without problems. Consequently, particle physicists have searched for alternative models which solve one or more of these problems, including the Higgs hierarchy problem.
In particle physics, elementary particles and forces give rise to the world around us. Physicists explain the behaviors of these particles and how they interact using the Standard Model—a widely accepted framework believed to explain most of the world we see around us. Initially, when these models were being developed and tested, it seemed that the mathematics behind those models, which were satisfactory in areas already tested, would also forbid elementary particles from having any mass, which showed clearly that these initial models were incomplete. In 1964 three groups of physicists almost simultaneously released papers describing how masses could be given to these particles, using approaches known as symmetry breaking. This approach allowed the particles to obtain a mass, without breaking other parts of particle physics theory that were already believed reasonably correct. This idea became known as the Higgs mechanism (not the same as the Higgs boson), and later experiments confirmed that such a mechanism does exist—but they could not show exactly how it happens.
The simplest theory for how this effect takes place in nature, and the theory that became incorporated into the Standard Model, was that if one or more of a particular kind of "field" (known as a Higgs field) happened to permeate space, and if it could interact with elementary particles in a particular way, then this would give rise to a Higgs mechanism in nature. In the basic Standard Model there is one field and one related Higgs boson; in some extensions to the Standard Model there are multiple fields and multiple Higgs bosons.
In the years since the Higgs field and boson were proposed as a way to explain the origins of symmetry breaking, several alternatives have been proposed that suggest how a symmetry breaking mechanism could occur without requiring a Higgs field to exist. Models which do not include a Higgs field or a Higgs boson are known as Higgsless models. In these models, strongly interacting dynamics rather than an additional (Higgs) field produce the non-zero vacuum expectation value that breaks electroweak symmetry.
List of alternative models
A partial list of proposed alternatives to a Higgs field as a source for symmetry breaking includes:
- Technicolor models break electroweak symmetry through new gauge interactions, which were originally modeled on quantum chromodynamics.
- Extra-dimensional Higgsless models use the fifth component of the gauge fields to play the role of the Higgs fields. It is possible to produce electroweak symmetry breaking by imposing certain boundary conditions on the extra dimensional fields, increasing the unitarity breakdown scale up to the energy scale of the extra dimension. Through the AdS/QCD correspondence this model can be related to technicolor models and to "UnHiggs" models in which the Higgs field is of unparticle nature.
- Models of composite W and Z vector bosons.
- Top quark condensate.
- "Unitary Weyl gauge". If one adds a suitable gravitational term to the standard model action with gravitational coupling, the theory becomes locally scale invariant (i.e. Weyl invariant) in the unitary gauge for the local SU(2). Weyl transformations act multiplicatively on the Higgs field, so one can fix the Weyl gauge by requiring the Higgs scalar to be a constant.
- Asymptotically safe weak interactions  based on some nonlinear sigma models.
- Preon and models inspired by preons such as Ribbon model of Standard Model particles by Sundance Bilson-Thompson, based in braid theory and compatible with loop quantum gravity and similar theories. This model not only explains mass[clarification needed] but leads to an interpretation of electric charge as a topological quantity (twists carried on the individual ribbons) and colour charge as modes of twisting.
- Symmetry breaking driven by non-equilibrium dynamics of quantum fields above the electroweak scale.
- Unparticle physics and the unhiggs. These are models that posit that the Higgs sector and Higgs boson are scaling invariant, also known as unparticle physics.
- In theory of superfluid vacuum masses of elementary particles can arise as a result of interaction with the physical vacuum, similarly to the gap generation mechanism in superconductors.
- UV-Completion by Classicalization, in which the unitarization of the WW scattering happens by creation of classical configurations.
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