Cross-section and angular distributions for hadronic and lepton-pair final states in e+e- collisions at centre-of-mass energies between 189 GeV and 209 GeV, measured with the OPAL detector at LEP, are presented and compared with the predictions of the Standard Model. The measurements are used to determine the electromagnetic coupling constant alphaem at LEP2 energies. In addition, the results are used together with OPAL measurements at 91-183 GeV within the S-matrix formalism to determine the gamma-Z interference term and to make an almost model-independent measurement of the Z mass. Limits on extensions to the Standard Model described by effective four-fermion contact interactions or the addition of a heavy Z boson are also presented.
This final analysis of hadronic and leptonic cross-sections and of leptonic forward-backward asymmetries in e+e- collisions with the OPAL detector makes use of the full LEP1 data sample comprising 161 pb^-1 of integrated luminosity and 4.5 x 10^6 selected Z decays. An interpretation of the data in terms of contributions from pure Z exchange and from Z-gamma interference allows the parameters of the Z resonance to be determined in a model-independent way. Our results are in good agreement with lepton universality and consistent with the vector and axial-vector couplings predicted in the Standard Model. A fit to the complete dataset yields the fundamental Z resonance parameters: mZ = 91.1852 +- 0.0030 GeV, GZ = 2.4948 +- 0.0041 GeV, s0h = 41.501 +- 0.055 nb, Rl = 20.823 +- 0.044, and Afb0l = 0.0145 +- 0.0017. Transforming these parameters gives a measurement of the ratio between the decay width into invisible particles and the width to a single species of charged lepton, Ginv/Gl = 5.942 +- 0.027. Attributing the entire invisible width to neutrino decays and assuming the Standard Model couplings for neutrinos, this translates into a measurement of the effective number of light neutrino species, N_nu = 2.984 +- 0.013. Interpreting the data within the context of the Standard Model allows the mass of the top quark, mt = 162 +29-16 GeV, to be determined through its influence on radiative corrections. Alternatively, utilising the direct external measurement of mt as an additional constraint leads to a measurement of the strong coupling constant and the mass of the Higgs boson: alfa_s(mZ) = 0.127 +- 0.005 and mH = 390 +750-280 GeV.
Cross-sections for hadronic, b-bbar and lepton pair final states in e+e- collisions at sqrt(s) = 183 GeV, measured with the OPAL detector at LEP, are presented and compared with the predictions of the Standard Model. Forward-backward asymmetries for the leptonic final states have also been measured. Cross-sections and asymmetries are also presented for data recorded in 1997 at sqrt(s) = 130 and 136 GeV. The results are used to measure the energy dependence of the electromagnetic coupling constant alpha_em, and to place limits on new physics as described by four-fermion contact interactions or by the exchange of a new heavy particle such as a leptoquark, or of a squark or sneutrino in supersymmetric theories with R-parity violation.
Measurements of the tau lepton polarization and forward-backward polarization asymmetry near the Z resonance using the OPAL detector are described. The measurements are based on analyses of tau -> e nu_e nu_tau, tau -> mu nu_mu nu_tau, tau -> pi nu_tau, tau -> rho nu_tau and tau -> a1 nu_tau decays from a sample of 144810 e+e- -> tau+ tau- candidates corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 151 pb-1. Assuming that the tau lepton decays according to V-A theory, we measure the average tau polarization near Ecm = MZ to be <Ptau> = (-14.10 +/- 0.73 +/- 0.55)% and the tau polarization forward-backward asymmetry to be Afb = (-10.55 +/- 0.76 +/- 0.25)%, where the first error is statistical and the second systematic. Taking into account the small effects of the photon propagator, photon-Z interference and photonic radiative corrections, these results can be expressed in terms of the lepton neutral current asymmetry parameters: Atau = 0.1456 +/- 0.0076 +/- 0.0057, Ae = 0.1454 +/- 0.0108 +/- 0.0036. These measurements are consistent with the hypothesis of lepton universality and combine to give Al = 0.1455 +/- 0.0073. Within the context of the Standard Model this combined result corresponds to sin^2(theta)(lept,effective) = 0.23172 +/- 0.00092. Combing these results with those from the other OPAL neutral current measurements yields a value of sin^2(theta)(lept,effective) = 0.23211 +/- 0.00068.
Production of events with hadronic and leptonic final states has been measured in e^+e^- collisions at centre-of-mass energies of 130-172 GeV, using the OPAL detector at LEP. Cross-sections and leptonic forward-backward asymmetries are presented, both including and excluding the dominant production of radiative Z \gamma events, and compared to Standard Model expectations. The ratio R_b of the cross-section for bb(bar) production to the hadronic cross-section has been measured. In a model-independent fit to the Z lineshape, the data have been used to obtain an improved precision on the measurement of \gamma-Z interference. The energy dependence of \alpha_em has been investigated. The measurements have also been used to obtain limits on extensions of the Standard Model described by effective four-fermion contact interactions, to search for t-channel contributions from new massive particles and to place limits on chargino pair production with subsequent decay of the chargino into a light gluino and a quark pair.
Cross-sections and angular distributions for hadronic and lepton pair final states in e+e- collisions at a centre-of-mass energy near 189 GeV, measured with the OPAL detector at LEP, are presented and compared with the predictions of the Standard Model. The results are used to measure the energy dependence of the electromagnetic coupling constant alpha_em, and to place limits on new physics as described by four-fermion contact interactions or by the exchange of a new heavy particle such as a sneutrino in supersymmetric theories with R-parity violation. A search for the indirect effects of the gravitational interaction in extra dimensions on the mu+mu- and tau+tau- final states is also presented.