UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy »

High Energy Physics

23 Nov 2020

The UCL high energy physics group has 46 academics, research and technical staff and 32 PhD students. We are one of the largest groups in the country with research areas spanning: theory/phenomenology, detector, software and accelerator R&D and analysis of data from the LHC, dark matter and neutrino experiments.

Our research is focussed in 6 physics areas:
  • to understand the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking through Higgs boson and other measurements with ATLAS and to lead ATLAS upgrades to maximise this understanding;
  • understand the nature of the neutrino and its relation to the matter anti-matter asymmetry and physics beyond the Standard Model (SM) through measurements at MINOS+, NEMO-III, Nova and SuperNEMO and the development of new phenomenological models;
  • probe QCD in the new environment of high multiplicity, large boosts and multiple interactions that the LHC provides and utilise the advances made to benefit our electroweak symmetry breaking programme and the development of improved models of proton structure and QCD interactions;
  • understand the nature of dark matter through its direct detection using the LUX and LZ detectors;
  • probe for physics at energy scales beyond the LHC through: a study of ultra-high-energy (UHE) neutrino interactions with ANITA/ARA, a precision measurement of the muon's magnetic moment with the FNAL g-2 experiment and a search for charged lepton flavour violation with the Mu2e and Mu3e experiments and the incorporation of this data in developing or constraining models of physics beyond the SM ;
  • lead developments of next generation detectors and accelerators, particularly low-background Xe detectors, liquid-Ar detectors, megaton water-based neutrino detectors and proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration;
  • lead the development and application of ground-breaking data intensive science (DIS) techniques on STFC's word-leading DIS experiments and beyond, and harness this expertise to train the next generation of leaders in the field of data science via our unique Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science, which combines ground-breaking DIS research with experience at and training from our DIS industrial partners.

Much of our technical work developing next generation particle accelerators, detectors and readout/DAQ systems has applications outside of particle physics: we are developing DAQ for the European X-ray Free Electron Laser at DESY, accelerator optimisation, detector systems and diagnostics for proton therapy, plastic scintillator detectors to image large cargo volumes (CREAM TEA) for security applications and high-purity low background detectors for environment applications.

We also have several outreach initiatives and host an artist-in-residence and several members of the group appear frequently on TV and radio and publish articles in the national press.