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Extracting Rb and Rc without Flavor Tagging


At present, two outstanding discrepancies between experiment and the standard model are the measurements of the hadronic branching fractions $R_b$ and $R_c$. We note that an independent measurement of these branching fractions may be obtained from the width of hadronic $Z$ decays with a prompt photon, $\Gamma_{q\bar{q}\gamma}$, along with the total hadronic decay rate, $\Gamma_{\text{had}}$, and an additional theoretical assumption. Such an analysis requires no flavor tagging. We consider several plausible theoretical assumptions and find that the current value of $\Gamma_{q\bar{q}\gamma}$ favors larger $R_b$ and smaller $R_c$ relative to standard model predictions, in accord with the direct measurements. If $\Gamma_{q\bar{q}\gamma}$ and $\Gamma_{\text{had}}$ are combined with the direct measurements, generation-blind corrections to all up-type and all down-type quark widths are most favored. An updated measurement of $\Gamma_{q\bar{q}\gamma}$ with the currently available LEP data is likely to provide an even stronger constraint on both the branching fraction discrepancies and their possible non-standard model sources.

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