Journal article

Theoretical constraints on the Higgs effective couplings

We derive constraints on the sign of couplings in an effective Higgs Lagrangian using prime principles such as the naturalness principle, global symmetries, and unitarity. Specifically, we study four dimension-six operators, O-H, O-y, O-g, and O-gamma, which contribute to the production and decay of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), among other things. Assuming the Higgs is a fundamental scalar, we find: 1) the coefficient of O-H is positive except when there are triplet scalars, resulting in a reduction in the Higgs on-shell coupling from their standard model (SM) expectations if no other operators contribute, 2) the linear combination of O-H and O-y controlling the overall Higgs coupling to fermion is always reduced, 3) the sign of O-g induced by a new colored fermion is such that it interferes destructively with the SM top contribution in the gluon fusion production of the Higgs, if the new fermion cancels the top quadratic divergence in the Higgs mass, and 4) the correlation between naturalness and the sign of O-gamma is similar to that of O-g, when there is a new set of heavy electroweak gauge bosons. Next considering a composite scalar for the Higgs, we find the reduction in the on-shell Higgs couplings persists. If further assuming a collective breaking mechanism as in little Higgs theories, the coefficient of O-H remains positive even in the presence of triplet scalars. In the end, we conclude that the gluon fusion production of the Higgs boson is reduced from the SM rate in all composite Higgs models. Our study suggests a wealth of information could be revealed by precise measurements of the Higgs couplings, providing strong motivations for both improving on measurements at the LHC and building a precision machine such as the linear collider.

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