Programmme of Research in Experimental Particle Physics at the University of Warwick: 2019-2022

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The scope of the proposed research lies in five distinct areas: Higgs and new phenomena searches at the ATLAS Experiment; the physics of particles containing the beauty quark at LHCb; the physics of neutrinos with T2K and SuperNEMO; 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, a large, general purpose detector operating at the LHC was designed to search for and study the Higgs boson, as well as new exotic forms of matter. Our work involves contributing to the experiment's ability to identify interesting events as well as helping to construct an upgraded detector able to work in the new environment of an upgraded LHC. We will also contribute to the detailed study of the Higgs boson by helping to optimise the collection of events in which it decays to pairs of tau leptons, heavy relatives of the electron. We will also look for other, heavier exotic new bosons.

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 appear in such decays. We also plan to study
rare decays of B mesons, which may be able to indicate the presence of new types of interactions outside the Standard Model of particle physics.

o The elucidation of the properties of neutrinos. We have built part of the T2K experiment which is now operating in Japan. Analyses of T2K data has helped to show conclusively that neutrinos transmute or `oscillate' from one type to the other. We aim to continue running this experiment, to better measure these oscillations, and to establish whether the rate of oscillation is the same for anti-neutrinos. In parallel, we are deeply involved with preparations for the next generation of oscillation experiment. These projects, DUNE and Hyper-K, are coming to the end of the preparatory phase and we are making various contributions in both hardware and software to help enable the experiments to be ready for data taking around 2026. We further plan to contribute to the SuperNEMO experiment, which aims to determine the nature of the neutrino as a 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 as 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.

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 knowledge exchange, 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 propose to develop as part of the research programme. A derivative of our research on future neutrino detectors has been the issue of two IP licenses contracted to a new spin-off company, UVDyne Ltd., since 2014 with the University as main shareholder. Support for all commercial and IP activities on campus is provided by Warwick Ventures - the university's professional subsidiary for commercial advancement and support. This work has been supported by the STFC IAA scheme (2016) the ICURe scheme (2017) and an STFC followon grant (2018). Clear market opportunities in the water quality and automotive sectors have been identified and UVdyne is part of a EU Horizon2020 RISE award for water quality research.
Societal beneficiaries are being addressed in an nterdisciplinary spin-off launched together with the Warwick Manufacturing Group which researches novel uses of potential future photovoltaic technologies. Generic particle physics software tools are our unique contribution to that effort and our designs were exhibited in 2015 at the Warwick Festival of Innovation and at the summer school of the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community.
Initial results and software have been made publically available and the scope of the initial study has now widened to involve more Departments on campus such as the Warwick Business School and Engineering. The recent apointment of an STFC IPS Fellow, to work jointly with the EPP Group and Warwick Ventures, will greatly enhance our potential to identify and pursue areas of promising economic and/or societal impact in the future.

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 aspects of our research activity that we feel the public could particularly engage with, we work with the University's Communication 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, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire 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 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 and International Masterclass initiative, hosting local schools visits, supervising students for summer holiday placements (e.g. as part of the Gold Crest scheme), activities associated with the STEMNET Science and Engineering Ambassadors (e.g. contributions to science fairs such as the annual Big Bang science fair).

We will continue to develop our links with schools (both students and teachers) through our close collaboration with the Warwick Physics Department's Ogden Teaching Fellow. Example annual events in which we participate include Faculty Taster Days, Future Scholars events, Teacher and Advisors Conference and the Warwick Christmas Science lectures. We also have part ownership of a mobile dome and cloud chamber which we use as a resource to publicise our research into primary schools.

Publications

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