Particle Physics Experimental Consolidated Grant (2022-2025)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The Particle Physics Group at Manchester studies fundamental particles and their interactions, with experiments based at major international research centres. This research is performed in international collaborations and covers all aspects of experimental particle physics: the development of novel detector concepts; the design, construction and operation of large experiments; and the analysis of data.

The Group plays a leading role on two of the main experiments at tbe Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which produces proton-proton collisions at the highest energies currently accessible in accelerators. On the ATLAS and LHCb experiments, we test the Standard Model (SM) of Particle Physics with unprecedented precision and search for new physics beyond the SM. These studies include novel measurements of the properties of the strong and electroweak interactions. We also study the properties of the Higgs boson and its relationship to the heaviest particle, the top-quark.

The LHCb experiment is designed to study the properties of particles that are built from the heavy bottom and charm quarks. Detailed studies of their production and decays provide a window to new physics and allow us to study fundamental questions such as the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry. We are also active on preparing future upgrades to both the ATLAS and LHCb experiments, which will allow their discovery reach to be significantly extended.

The Muon g-2 experiment in the US will examine the precession of muons that are subjected to a magnetic field. The main goal is to test predictions of this value by measuring the precession rate to a precision of 0.14 parts per million. If there is an inconsistency, it could indicate the Standard Model is incomplete. The goal of the Mu2e experiment is to find conversions of muons into electrons without the emission of neutrinos.

Understanding the properties of the elusive neutrino is another priority of our research programme. With the SuperNEMO detector, located in the Modane Underground Laboratory, we search for neutrinoless double beta decay, a process that has never been observed before. Its observation would indicate that neutrinos are their own antiparticles and it will provide a measurement of the neutrino mass.

A different kind of experiment, DUNE, will use a novel technology based on liquid argon to detect neutrinos that have been sent through the Earth, in a beam pointing from Fermilab in Chicago to a mine in South Dakota. The goal of this experiment is to learn whether neutrinos violate the fundamental symmetry between matter and antimatter. The experiment could also detect neutrinos from a supernova explosion. A similar kind of experiment (SBND/MicroBooNE) uses neutrinos close to the source at Fermilab to search for 'sterile' neutrinos that do not interact via any of the fundamental interactions of the Standard Model except gravity.

The DarkSide experiment will search for dark matter from space via its interactions with liquid argon nuclei and subsequent light emission and detection using highly sensitive silicon photosensors.

Modern Particle Physics experiments contain sophisticated technology to detect particles. The Manchester Group leads an extensive reasearch programme on developing novel detection devices, such as diamond detectors. These novel technologies have many potential applications beyond Particle Physics research, in areas such as medical physics and security applications. Particle Physics experimentation requires the reconstruction and analysis of large, complex data sets. We operate a large computing facility which supports data analysis for several of these large projects. We develop and apply sophisticated analysis techniques to large data sets.

Finally, through our outreach programme, we communicate the results of our research to the public through the media, public lectures and masterclasses.


10 25 50