Sussex Experimental Particle Physics Capital Equipment 2019

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Mathematical & Physical Sciences


After the Higgs boson discovery, the challenge of particle physics for the decades to come is precision: only precision will allow us to determine beyond doubt whether the Higgs boson particle that we have found is indeed that predicted by the commonly accepted theory of particle physics, or whether instead it is a portal to a new physics landscape.

Precision Higgs boson physics calls for precision measurement tools. One of the most challenging measurements in a particle physics collision event is that of the energy released by particles interacting through nuclear reactions with the particle detector matter. An innovative "dual readout" particle detector concept aims at dramatical improve the precision of this measurement.

Thanks to this grant, the Experimental Particle Physics group at the University of Sussex will be able to set up a laboratory to be part of these exciting quests.

Planned Impact

The EPP group is one of the larger research groups in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) at the University of Sussex. It is committed to sharing the knowledge and skills generated by excellent research with non-academic audiences and is directly involved with the majority of the 15,000 public engagement interactions per year for the department. It has a clear strategy to engage with the private sector, the general public and government.

EPP has a strong track record in industry engagement and is actively supported by MPS's Innovations Partnership Fellow (Hayhurst) for engagement with industry, and the department's Employer Engagement Officer. MPS, with active input from EPP, is currently setting up an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) which will consist of members of local industry and SMEs. This board liaises with key members of the EPP group to advise on its impact strategy. The group has generated considerable success with seed funding of finished PhD students for a few months to pursue commercialization, and has had success in two proto-cases (PulserOptics, a spin-off from SNO+ and Calypsort, an AI-focused spin-off company from ATLAS), with significant help from Hayhurst. If the equipment is awarded to the EPP group, this will effectively allow a new research branch in the group. In the long term, this will be the seed for a heavier involvement of the EPP for the activities for future big collider projects. New possible collaborations on the development of a low cross-talk readout system with local industry will be explored. Photek, for example, is a company in East Sussex with leadership in the development and commercialisation of photodetectors. They have been previously keen to participate in Sussex EPP-lead research proposals (a Horizon2020 ITN proposal not eventually funded): an early engagement of Photek or similar SMEs might open up possibilities for knowledge exchange and technology development for dual readout calorimetry.

All members of the EPP group are passionate about inspiring the general public and creating strong interest in STEM in young people. The group is actively supported by the department's Outreach Officer (Baskill) and part-time Ogden Trust Fellow (Harries). EPP will continue to regularly give interactive presentations to the general public, at local primary and secondary schools, and participate in local festivals, such as the British Science Festival and the Brighton Festival, accessing new and diverse audiences. A group engagement at the early stage of future collider project will be reflected in the ongoing outreach and dissemination activities. Now that Kate Shaw (ATLAS Outreach Coordinator) has joined the group, our outreach activities will include collaboration in developing countries and Women in physics. In particular there are plans to work with sub-Saharan African countries such as Namibia to collaborate in teaching training, outreach for school students, and outreach training at universities in particle physics, potentially using projects also related to calorimetry.


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