Experimental Particle Physics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


The four-year timescale is particularly exciting with the opening of a new energy frontier in LHC Run 2. We will focus our efforts on searches for BSM processes in the Higgs and top sectors for ATLAS, in the kaon sector for NA62, and in the charm and beauty sector for LHCb. We are simultaneously entering a major construction phase where synergies have been established between our ATLAS, LHCb and ILC detector developments. We anticipate that MICE will demonstrate ionization cooling as a major step towards a neutrino factory and Japan, with the international community, will decide to build the ILC. We have developed detector development and construction capacity to contribute to this future programme and have built up our technician and engineering effort in a carefully planned approach. Improved analysis techniques, well-calibrated detectors, increased computing power and theoretical input will be essential and we are at the forefront of the required developments in these areas.
All academics are heavily involved in the LHC programme and our strategy is to generate leading-edge physics results from three experiments (ATLAS, LHCb and NA62) based upon expertise developed in those experiments. We will provide timely first results in Higgs H->bb modes for ATLAS, based upon our current expertise. Having secured high-quality completion in Run 1, we will ensure that this experience will underpin future ATLAS publications. Based on our earlier work, we will be key players in answering questions concerning the origin of mass and the nature of CP violation. For LHCb, we will measure rare two body B decays, search for CP violation in charm and make precision measurements of CP violation in the Bs sector. We will measure the CKM angle gamma from loop-mediated processes which offer significant new physics sensitivity. We will perform new measurements and search for new states in the spectroscopy of charmed baryons and excited beauty mesons. For NA62 we will maintain the UK expertise in measuring the ratio of kaon decays to electrons and muons, establish measurements of the ratio of kaon and pion decays and search for dark photons.
We continue to invest in and promote a world-class Detector Development activity to enable longer-term initiatives and our Grid strength is aimed at maximising our impact in LHC physics as well as promoting new areas such as the linear collider. We additionally lever significant support through the College in these areas. We have set up physics analysis streams for each experiment, using the Grid, and will continue to fully exploit the LHC Run 2 data. We will also maintain our involvement in longer-term initiatives where we have leadership roles. We presently have leading roles in the ATLAS and LHCb upgrades, the linear collider and future neutrino initiatives. We anticipate greater involvement in these forward-looking programmes, based upon discoveries made at the LHC. Over the next four years we will develop these areas and progress those where early investment will become most productive, consistent with our highest priority of LHC physics exploitation.
To enhance the priority programme, we will be supported via the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA). This will ensure that we can meet our priorities in silicon detector development via support of the LHC upgrade and other programmes. We anticipate working with the IGR where we gain from joint facilities. This strategy is well suited to the skills and capacity of our core group. The associated responsive effort will be essential at a critical point in the evolution of UK particle physics.

Planned Impact

We will continue to generate impact though efforts focused on Knowledge Exchange, Communication and Engagement as well as providing leadership in our respective fields of expertise. The application of technical advances made in particle physics to solve problems in other areas has always been a very fruitful way to create impact and we plan to extend this. The principle activities that contribute to Knowledge Exchange in the group are from Detector Development and GridPP where technology and computing advances are deployed to solve problems in other disciplines and promote industrial uptake where appropriate.
The photon counting techniques developed by the group have been used with success for radiopharmaceutical (FDG) production: a novel material characterisation technique (Electron Back-Scattered Diffraction - EBSD) has been greatly improved by using this technology in work performed with Strathclyde. In addition, these devices have and will continue to be used to great effect to characterise the material quality of CdTe in beamtests carried out at a number of synchrotrons in the UK and Europe. The initial work done on qualifying the pixel detectors for dosimetry has led to the devices being used in ATLAS to measure the radiation environment around the experiment - this is particularly satisfying as Medipix was a spin out from particle physics. The dosimetric function of Medipix has found more widespread use with NASA being a key partner and the technology is now used on the International Space Station to provide dosimetry for the Astronauts and is undergoing evaluation for use in the Deep Space Capsule for the planned mission to Mars. The detector group has very strong links with industry and currently collaborates with Applied Scintillation Technologies, e2v, LabLogic, Kromek, Micron Semiconductors, NHS Glasgow, Probe Test Solutions and SensL to promote its technological advances and has several proposals for further work with industrial partners under development.
Our public engagement activities will build on the key themes of LHC physics at CERN, and cosmic rays - supporting the teaching of particle physics in schools will remain a priority. Our annual Particle Physics Masterclasses, our CERN visit competitions targeted at disadvantaged areas around the West of Scotland, and our support of teacher-led visits to CERN are important outreach activities for us.
The GridPP project, led from the University of Glasgow, provides another pathway to impact that has been very successful. Despite a focus on Particle Physics, GridPP also supports many other disciplines. For example, at Glasgow, we have continued many years of support for the BioMed community, working with a local NHS group to port simulation code and resulting in publications on computing the tomography dose index for conic beams. The Glasgow team has continued to work with industrial partners in several areas. The design and installation of a new networking infrastructure between the machine rooms in the Kelvin building with LAN3 and Extreme Networks, allowed both companies to demonstrate new capabilities, issue press releases and receive industry nominations and awards for innovative projects.
All investigators will play an active role in the generation of impact and knowledge exchange and will ensure that appropriate training is provided to all researchers associated with the group activities in the key aspects of communication, public engagement, media engagement, intellectual property protection and commercial exploitation.


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Eklund L (2016) Physics benchmarks of the VELO upgrade in Journal of Instrumentation