Was the Higgs Boson Discovered in 1980?

In a tour-de-force experiment in 1980, Klein and Sooryakumar discovered a collective mode in the superconducting phase of NbSe_2 in a Raman experiment. This mode interacts with the collective mode of the charge density wave and was interpreted a few year later by Littlewood and Varma to be a Higgs amplitude mode of the superconducting state.

Could it really be said that the Higgs mode was discovered in Urbana in 1980?

Of course, I am being facetious, but it is a rather cute historical curiosity. That being said, I have to also admit that I am not 100% convinced that this interpretation is correct, though it does carry some weight.

This classic experiment has also been driving experiments recently towards observing the Higgs mode in other superconducting systems as well. For example, click here and here.

The other part of this experiment that makes it particularly relevant to current studies is the observation of an interaction between superconductivity and charge density waves as was mentioned in a previous post. With the application of a magnetic field, they were able to suppress the superconductivity and enhance the charge density wave collective excitation as pictured below.


4 responses to “Was the Higgs Boson Discovered in 1980?

  1. Pingback: Transition Metal Dichalcogenide CDWs | This Condensed Life

  2. Pingback: Ruminations on Raman | This Condensed Life

  3. Dima Solonenko

    Dear Anshul,
    many thanks for this article.
    Although many years have passed I am still struggling to connect both PRL papers to the Higgs boson. I am wondering whether you could elaborate on the topic with another post.


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