Direct Searches for SUSY and Dark Matter


The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector is one of two general purpose experiments at the LHC. It has a broad programme of physics including direct searches for the Higgs boson, Supersymmetric particles and other new phenomena. In the Bristol CMS group we are conducting searches for several possible types of new particle, including new force-carrying gauge bosons and messengers from hidden physics sectors. We have an expanding effort looking for signs of Supersymmetry (SUSY), and we are developing new techniques to see if the Higgs boson has exotic properties. We are also carefully measuring the production of top quarks to check theoretical models and look for hints of new physics.

We were involved with the design and construction of the electromagnetic calorimeter and the first level trigger for CMS, as well as the Grid software that is essential for managing, distributing and processing the vast quantity of data produced by the detector. We are actively studying and planning for future upgrades of the trigger and the tracking detector to cope with the increases in the LHC performance over a ten-year timescale.

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The Lux-Zeplin (LZ) experiment is a next generation direct detection dark matter experiment that is currently being assembled 1 mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota, USA. The experiment will use 7 tonnes of liquid xenon to search for scintillation light signals that are generated in collisions of dark matter particles with xenon nuclei. LZ will start taking data in 2020 and will be at least 100 times more sensitive to finding dark matter particles than its predecessor, the LUX experiment. 

The Bristol group is involved in the development of the simulation software (optical simulation) and is contributing to offline computing and support for the UK Data Centre. Our physics interests include the standard WIMP search and the search for high nuclear recoil signals.

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CMS detector
CMS detector schematic. Image: Tai Sakuma
CMS tracker
Top pair production candidate: muon + 4 jets + missing transverse energy
LZ detector schematic
Looking inside the LZ detector (schematic)
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