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  • In particle physics, a rho meson is a short-lived hadronic particle that is an isospin triplet whose three states are denoted as ρ+, ρ0 and ρ−. After the pions and kaons, the rho mesons are the lightest strongly interacting particle with a mass of roughly 770 MeV for all three states. There should be a small mass difference between the ρ+ and the ρ0 that can be attributed to the electromagnetic self-energy of the particle as well as a small effect due to isospin breaking arising from the light quark masses; however, the current experimental limit is that this mass difference is less than 0.7 MeV. The rho mesons have a very short lifetime and their decay width is about 145 MeV with the peculiar feature that the decay widths are not described by a Breit-Wigner form. The principal decay route of the rho mesons is to a pair of pions with a branching rate of 99.9%. Neutral rho mesons can decay to a pair of electrons or muons which occurs with a branching ratio of 5×10^−5. This decay of the neutral rho to leptons can be interpreted as a mixing between the photon and rho. In principle the charged rho mesons mix with the weak vector bosons and can lead to decay to an electron or muon plus a neutrino; however, this has never been observed.[a]ħ [b] Wikipedia

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