[Physics] Why we don’t have macroscopic fields of Higgs bosons or gluons


Why is it that there exists a classical macroscopic field of photons and gravitons but not that of $Z, W^{\pm}$ bosons, gluons or Higgs boson?

Best Answer

There are slightly different answers for each particle type.

  • Macroscopic photon and graviton fields can exist because these forces are long-ranged, which is directly related to the force carriers being massless. The $W$ and $Z$ bosons are extremely massive, so they're very short ranged and we can't see their effects on a macroscopic scale.
  • Another problem is that classical macroscopic fields arise from quantum fields through coherent states, which require many particles. Since the $W$ and $Z$ are so heavy, this is impossible at everyday energies.
  • Gluons are massless, but there's no macroscopic gluon field because the strong interaction becomes stronger at low energies, strong enough to bind color charged particles together. As a result, every macroscopic object we see has exactly zero color charge, so we see no gluon field.
  • The Higgs boson is massive, but there is a macroscopic Higgs field, in the sense that the field value is nonzero due to spontaneous symmetry breaking. You are, in some sense, measuring this field every time you measure the mass of an elementary particle. However, you can't make macroscopic waves in the Higgs field (i.e. excitations about the constant field value) for the same reason as the $W$ and $Z$.
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