Manchester Experiment Responsive RA Grant 2022

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


The Particle Physics Group at Manchester studies fundamental particles and their interactions, using data collected by experiments based at major international research centres. This research 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. With this new grant, we will focus on using the data collected by these international experiments to search for new particles and new types of particle interactions. We will also carry out R&D for new detector concepts.

We have four distinct strands of research:

(1) Searching for new sources of CP-violation: CP-violation is the mechanism by which matter is more favourably produced than antimatter in fundamental particle interactions. It is well known that the level of CP violation in the Standard Model of Particle Physics is insufficient to explain the matter dominance that we observe in the Universe today. In this grant, we propose novel searches for CP violation using the ATLAS data. It is expected that a factor of ten improvement in sensitivity will be obtained for new sources of CP violation predicted by extensions to the Standard Model.

(2) Dark matter: despite making up 85% of the mass of the Universe and playing a crucial role in its formation, the nature of this mysterious substance is still unknown. Using an ultra-sensitive Earth-based detector newly constructed to detect dark matter intersecting with the Earth as it travels through space, we develop new analysis strategies that enable us to identify and measure its properties, charting new regimes that were previously unexplorable.

(3) Probing the interactions of the neutrino: Neutrinos are a window onto physics beyond our current understanding of the universe. The liquid-argon time-projection chamber of MicroBooNE has a spectacular ability to image the interactions of neutrinos and the particles produced in these interactions. Using these exquisite images, we will search for the evidence of new, never-before seen particles in these interactions, which would open up a new window onto how our Universe works.

(4) Development of new detector technologies: Semiconductor sensors play a key role in many particle physics experiments, but are also central to many other imaging applications, from astronomy over medical applications to material research. Many future applications demand, in addition to micrometre-level spatial resolution, precise time information in the range of tens of picoseconds for particles registered in the sensors. We aim to provide a facility to characterise the timing properties of particle sensors that will be unique in the breadth of applicability due to its tuneable frequency. We will then apply this facility to particularly promising sensor technologies that are being explored by the particle physics community.


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