Since the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, detailed studies of its properties have been ongoing. Besides its mass, its width—related to its lifetime—is an important parameter. One way to determine this quantity is to measure its off-shell production, where the Higgs boson mass is far away from its nominal value, and relating it to its on-shell production, where the mass is close to the nominal value. Here we report evidence for such off-shell contributions to the production cross-section of two Z bosons with data from the CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. We constrain the total rate of the off-shell Higgs boson contribution beyond the Z boson pair production threshold, relative to its standard model expectation, to the interval [0.0061, 2.0] at the 95% confidence level. The scenario with no off-shell contribution is excluded at a p-value of 0.0003 (3.6 standard deviations). We measure the width of the Higgs boson as ΓH=3.2+2.4−1.7MeV, in agreement with the standard model expectation of 4.1 MeV. In addition, we set constraints on anomalous Higgs boson couplings to W and Z boson pairs.
In July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the CERN Large Hadron Collider announced the observation of a Higgs boson at a mass of around 125 gigaelectronvolts. Ten years later, and with the data corresponding to the production of a 30-times larger number of Higgs bosons, we have learnt much more about the properties of the Higgs boson. The CMS experiment has observed the Higgs boson in numerous fermionic and bosonic decay channels, established its spin–parity quantum numbers, determined its mass and measured its production cross-sections in various modes. Here the CMS Collaboration reports the most up-to-date combination of results on the properties of the Higgs boson, including the most stringent limit on the cross-section for the production of a pair of Higgs bosons, on the basis of data from proton–proton collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 teraelectronvolts. Within the uncertainties, all these observations are compatible with the predictions of the standard model of elementary particle physics. Much evidence points to the fact that the standard model is a low-energy approximation of a more comprehensive theory. Several of the standard model issues originate in the sector of Higgs boson physics. An order of magnitude larger number of Higgs bosons, expected to be examined over the next 15 years, will help deepen our understanding of this crucial sector.