Capital Equipment: Computing Cluster Upgrade and Neutrino Detector Laboratory Upgrade

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics


The scope of the proposed research lies in five distinct areas: Higgs studies and new phenomena searches at ATLAS; the physics of particles containing the beauty quark at LHCb; the physics of neutrinos with T2K, SuperNEMO and LBNE; accelerator research and development for new high intensity proton, muon and neutrino beams; detector R&D. It also includes Outreach and Knowledge Exchange programmes. In more detail:

o The ATLAS experiment at CERN is a general purpose detector operating at the LHC. Our participation in the experiment is growing with the recent appointment of a new professor in the area, as well as two new postdoctoral fellows. Our proposed effort will be to support the experiment by contributing to its ability to identify interesting events rapidly for recording and further analysis. We will also continue our detailed studies of the properties of the recently discovered Higgs boson, thought to be the particle which couples to all matter, giving it mass. We will do this by helping to optimise the search for its decays to pairs of tau leptons, heavy relatives of the electron.

o We aim to further our research into matter/anti-matter asymmetry (CP Violation) in the decays of Beauty mesons at the LHCb experiment. This is important, because we have shown in past experiments that the leading source of CP violation at the weak scale is consistent with the Standard Model mechanism of CP violation. However, cosmological considerations indicate that there should be other sources of CP violation in Nature, so we aim to make further sensitive tests with beauty mesons, in order to see if any evidence for additional sources of CP violation or other new physics in Nature may appear in such decays.

o The elucidation of the properties of neutrinos. These are very light, neutral particles which are emitted, for example, by the sun, and in radioactive beta decay. These mysterious particles are known to oscillate, ie. transmute from one type to another, while they propagate. We built part of the T2K experiment which studies these phenomena in Japan. Analyses of data taken at the experiment gave early hints of the previously unobserved oscillations of muon to electron type neutrinos, and more recent observations have confirmed this. We aim to continue running this experiment, to study these effects in greater detail. The largeness of the effect offers the chance to go on to look for asymmetries between the oscillations of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. We further plan to contribute to the SuperNEMO experiment, which aims to determine the nature of the neutrino as so called Dirac or Majorana particle. The former has distinct anti-particles, while the latter is its own antiparticle. This question may be resolved by searching for double beta decay accompanied by no neutrinos. We will contribute to the analysis of data obtained by a "demonstrator module" attempting to observe such decays.

o We propose to continue our research and development of high power accelerators for the generation of proton, muon and neutrino beams. We have in mind future neutrino factories, although other machines could benefit from our research. Such neutrino factories, if built, would continue to develop the theme of research into neutrino oscillations and matter-antimatter asymmetry of neutrinos outlined above. Such machines could also bring many benefits to medicine and industry.

o We propose to continue our research and development of position- and energy-sensitive detectors for applications in neutrino experiments and with potential spin-off applications in industry. A particular focus of this effort is the LBNE neutrino oscillation experiment.

o We will continue to develop our outreach programme which includes activities for local schools and articles in popular science publications.

o Supported by a strong University strategy and ethos in KE, we will continue to pursue all avenues for possible knowledge exchange.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries of the proposed research will include:

o UK industry and academic partners from outside particle physics may benefit from the possibility of technological spin-off from hardware and/or software which we will develop as part of the research programme, especially in respect of the neutrino detector development laboratory. As a by-product of our research on future neutrino detectors, we plan to continue our spin-off R&D in the area of photo-voltaic technology. Another commercial opportunity more directly aimed at UK industry might soon be realised for another development from the detector R&D group, enabling very cost-effective large area or volume radiation sensors. These initiatives will all be supervised by Warwick Ventures - the university's professional subsidiary for commercial advancement and support. Furthermore, our planned work in developing innovative reconstruction methods for large-scale neutrino detectors has potential beneficiaries in a range of subjects, including computer science, biological and medical science. Local contacts with the Warwick Computer Science Department exist as well as a collaboration with the Statistics Department in Durham.

o Local school children and the general public through our outreach programme will learn about cutting-edge research carried out on the building blocks of matter and their fundamental interactions, using state-of the art instrumentation. One of the most effective means of engagement in terms of audience size comes through media coverage. For results of our planned research which we feel the public could particularly engage with, we will work with the University's Communications Office to issue press releases. This has in the past been successful in generating some rather high profile news coverage e.g. BBC Midlands Today coverage, BBC website items, local radio exposure, as well as university video content organised by the Communications Office. Members of our group will continue to regularly publicise our science through such activities and via engagements such as public lectures and talks to local clubs and societies. We will also continue to foster and develop close ties with local schools through: our annual Masterclass initiative, hosting local students as part of the Aimhigher initiative, supervising students for summer holiday placements (e.g. as part of the Gold Crest scheme).

o We will continue to develop schools liaison, with more emphasis on interactions with teachers, and supported by our Ogden Teaching Fellow in the Warwick Physics Department. Last year, we were part of a successful bid to STFC for a Science in Society Small Award to purchase a mobile dome, which is being be used as a resource to publicise our research. We will work to develop particle physics content for the dome for use on public occasions such as university open days, but also to expand our outreach activities e.g. into primary schools. Additionally, the requested scintillator paddles will be used (when they can be spared from the detector development lab) to upgrade the MULE (Muon Lifetime Experiment) display which we use at Departmental open days. Always a favourite with school students and parents alike, this real-time demonstration of muon lifetime measurements on cosmic rays in situ in the Physics Department will continue to amaze our visitors for the foreseeable future.

o Our post-graduate students currently enjoy access to a diverse range of key-skills training courses given within the University. We propose to further exploit the existing opportunities for joint studentships with industrial partners, where the results of research would find an immediate commercial application and would provide students with first-hand industrial/commercial experience. This will benefit industry, giving them access to well-trained people who can help them with tasks such as data mining and modelling, which are of increasing importance.


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Title Review of Particle Properties 
Description This is a globally-accessible database of all particle physics results. Many results of this research have entered into this database and several members of my team have directly contributed to this database. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This database is the research Bible for particle physics. It is universally used and accepted within the particle physics community and is without peer. 
Title LAURA++ Package 
Description C++ Package for Dalitz plot generation and fitting 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2013 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Use in other particle physics experiments