Particle Physics Consolidated Grant 2019 - 2022

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University London


This grant supports particle physics data analysis from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) general purpose detector at the Large Hadron Collider CERN and the maintenance and operation of the Silicon Tracker, a detector sub-system that enables us to reconstruct the momentum of charged particles. Exploiting the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where CMS with ALTAS discovered the Higgs Boson in 2012, will bring greatly enhanced understanding of the "Standard Model" of particle physics, particularly in the area of top-quark physics, searching for as yet undiscovered gauge bosons and supersymmetric particles, and ultimately shedding further light on the "Higgs" boson which is connected with the origins of mass. In particular we will use the huge datasets produced by CMS to study the production and properties of the top quark, a standard model particle with unique properties. We will not only make precise tests of the standard model by studying processes such as single top quark production in association with a Z boson but we can use the increasingly large data sets to begin to search for unexpected enhancements in highly suppressed channels involving Flavour Changing Neutral Currents (FCNC); seeing these would be exciting evidence of the breakdown of the standard model.

This grant provides support for academic staff who are contributing to the design and construction of an entirely new replacement silicon tracking detector for CMS, to be installed in the mid 2020's which will make available for the first time a trigger based on the momenta of individual tracks in every event arising from the proton-beam collisions.

Planned Impact

Many groups and individuals will exploit and apply our work to provide the pathway to final impact.
Industrial and Commercial Users will be engaged through various instrumentation conferences where they form a significant part of the audience, as well as through presentations made to the industry professionals who sit on our Departmental "External Advisory Panel". These groups will be able to use the information and understanding generated by the research to exploit and apply it to their products and services.

We actively participate in outreach activities, many group members being STEM ambassadors. They providing us with the capacity to involve local school children through organizing events at Brunel, using our new HEFCE funded STEAM centre from 2018 onwards and by going out to local schools to provide interactive science sessions, enthusing young audiences about physics research. Group members support work-experience activities for Year 11-12 pupils and participate in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme.

Professional Users will be able to employ the results of our research in their organisations through team members' capacity and involvement with various Institute of Physics committees and groups, to provide other avenues for communicating scientific research through newsletters and IOP outreach events.

The Public will be able to engage with our research through Brunel's regular outreach activities to the general public, such as the events held at Brunel University during National Science and Engineering Week, the Brunel public lecture series and the Hillingdon Mathematics and Engineering Masterclasses. We actively participate in events such as the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and the Big Bang Fair at the NEC. These activities all afford the opportunity to increase public awareness of, and interest in, STFC science and technology.

Detector development work conducted by the group will also be made known to the wider Academic Community through the all outreach methods described above and through collaborations with academic and industrial partners in the preparation of research proposals. Future bids developed with the contacts made over the last grant period will hopefully lead to additional funding and the sharing of knowledge and research with other collaborators in UK industry and RCUK funded research areas. Because of the above dissemination, use, application and exploitation of our research, benefits will accrue to all the groups mentioned.

Economic Impacts will accrue in industrial and commercial sectors, particularly in fields where advanced computing and data analysis skills are valued. Our detector development and radiation effects work benefits a commercial silicon and scintillation detector producers, CCD manufacturers, and photomultiplier manufacturers, through the ability to develop new products and services. Our detector development activity is currently impacting on industry in the medical and oil exploration areas.

People Impacts will accrue through the skills and training received by our fixed term contract research staff and our postgraduate students, many of whom go on to work in industry or become involved with STEM teaching, and will benefit the UK industrial and commercial sectors too, particularly in fields where advanced computing and data analysis skills are valued.

Social Impacts will result directly from the quality and continued professional development of teachers learning firsthand about our research and indirectly through the enthusiasm of their pupils studying STEM subjects that they teach. Involvement with schools has the potential for huge impact also affording the opportunity to increase awareness and interest in all STFC science areas. Improved public understanding of physics and the role played by the LHC experiments is a more general, albeit less definable, impact.


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CMS Collaboration (2020) Search for direct pair production of supersymmetric partners to the t lepton in proton-proton collisions at s = 13 TeV. in The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields