CMS is designed to see a wide range of particles and phenomena produced in high-energy collisions in the LHC. Like a cylindrical onion, different layers of detector stop and measure the different particles, and use this key data to build up a picture of events at the heart of the collisions.
Official website: [link]


Advanced Multi-Variate Analysis for New Physics Searches at the LHC

With the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, LHC, the Standard Model of particle physics has been completed, emerging as a most successful description of matter at the smallest distance scales. But as is always the case, the observation of this particle has also heralded the dawn of a new era in the field: particle physics is now turning to the mysteries posed by the presence of dark matter in the universe, as well as the very existence of the Higgs. The upcoming run of the LHC at 13 TeV will probe possible answers to both issues, providing detailed measurements of the properties of the Higgs and extending significantly the sensitivity to new phenomena.

Since the LHC is the only accelerator currently exploring the energy frontier, it is imperative that the analyses of the collected data use the most powerful possible techniques. In recent years several analyses have utilized multi-variate analysis techniques, obtaining higher sensitivity; yet there is ample room for further improvement. With our program we will import and specialize the most powerful advanced statistical learning techniques to data analyses at the LHC, with the objective of maximizing the chance of new physics discoveries.

We are part of a network of European institutions whose goal is to foster the development and exploitation of Advanced Multi-Variate Analysis (AMVA) for New Physics searches. The network offers extensive training in both physics and advanced analysis techniques to graduate students, focusing on providing them with the know-how and the experience to boost their career prospects in and outside academia. The network develops ties with non-academic partners for the creation of interdisciplinary software tools, allowing a successful knowledge transfer in both directions. The network studies innovative techniques and identifies their suitability to problems encountered in searches for new physics at the LHC and detailed studies of the Higgs boson sector.

External collaborators: University of Oxford, INFN, University of Padova, Université Blaise Pascal, LIP, IASA, CERN, UCI, EPFL, B12 Consulting, SDG Consulting, Yandex, MathWorks.

Angular asymmetries in ttW production

We take advantage of the large statistics being recorded by the CMS experiment in Run 2 to launch a systematic study of angular asymmetries in the ttW process, which have a potentially large sensitivity to non-SM effects.
In synergy with the CP3 phenomenology group, we aim at reporting our results in a form that can be easily translated in EFT constraints.

CMS Tracker commissioning and performance assessment

The CMS silicon strip tracker is the largest device of its type ever built. There are 24244 single-sided micro-strip sensors covering an active area of 198m2.
Physics performance of the detector are being constantly assessed and optimized as new data comes.
Members of UCL are playing a major role in the understanding of the silicon strip tracker and in the maintenance and development of the local reconstruction code.

External collaborators: CMS tracker collaboration.

Fast Simulation of the CMS experiment

A framework for Fast Simulation of particle interactions in the CMS detector (FastSim) has been developed and implemented in the overall simulation, reconstruction and analysis framework of CMS. It produces data samples in the same format as the one used by the Geant4-based (henceforth Full) Simulation and Reconstruction chain; the output of the Fast Simulation of CMS can therefore be used in the analysis in the same way as data and Full Simulation samples. FastSim is used in several physics analyses in CMS, in particular those requiring a generation of many samples to scan an extended parameter space of the physics model (e.g. SUSY) or for the purpose of estimating systematic uncertainties. It is also used by several groups to design future sub-detectors for the Phase-II CMS upgrades.
Related activities at UCL include the integration with the Full Simulation in the simulation of the electronic read-out ("digitization") and of the pileup of events from other proton-proton collisions, both in-time and out-of-time; the performance monitoring; and the overall maintenance and upgrade of the tracking-related code. Matthias Komm is current L3 convener of Tracking in FastSim, and Andrea Giammanco has been main responsible of the FastSim project from 2011 to 2013.

Higgs bosons to ZZ -> 2l 2nu and measurement of the Higgs natural width

The final state containing two Z bosons decaying into a pair of leptons and a pair of neutrinos has been exploited by the CMS experiment at the LHC to produce a number of results related to the Higgs boson, including measurements of related standard model cross sections.

Constraints have been set on the total width of the 125 GeV Higgs boson, using its relative on-shell and off-shell production and decay rates to a pair of Z bosons, where one Z boson decays to an electron or muon pair, and the other to an electron, muon, or neutrino pair. The analysis is based on the data collected by the CMS experiment at the LHC in 2011 and 2012. A simultaneous maximum likelihood fit to the measured kinematic distributions near the resonance peak and above the Z-boson pair production threshold leads to an upper limit on the Higgs boson width of < 22 MeV at a 95% confidence level, which is 5.4 times the expected value in the standard model at the measured mass of 125.6 GeV.

A search for heavy Higgs bosons in the H → ZZ → 2l2ν decay channel, where l = e or µ, has also been performed using data collected in 2015 at the center of mass energy of 13 TeV. No significant excess is observed above the background expectation. The results are interpreted to set exclusion limits on a number of extensions of the standard model scalar sectors: models with an additional electroweak singlet, as well as Type-I and Type-II two-Higgs doublets models.

External collaborators: CMS collaboration.

High energy photon induced interactions at the LHC

High-energy photon-photon and photon-proton interactions at the LHC offer interesting possibilities for the study of the electroweak sector up to TeV scale and the search for processes beyond the Standard Model. After in-depth exploratory studies, we performed using the CMS data first measurement of two-photon muon pair production as well as first ever observation of W boson pairs produced by photon fusion. Now our group is leading unique investigations of quartic couplings between photons and W and Z bosons.

External collaborators: CMS FSQ analysis group and the group of A. Szczurek (Krakow).

Luminosity calibration of the CMS detector

We contribute to the offline absolute calibration of the luminometry system of the CMS detector, by analysing the dedicated "Van der Meer scan" data at different center-of-mass energies and collision types (p-p, p-Pb, Pb-Pb).

As a related task, we also contribute to the data-driven inference of the true amount of "pile-up" collisions.

External collaborators: CMS Luminosity Physics Object Group.

Particle Identification with ionization energy loss in the CMS experiment at the LHC

The CMS detector at the LHC can be used to identify particles via the measurement of their ionization energy loss. The sub-detectors that have provided so far useful information for this experimental technique are the silicon strip tracker and the pixel detectors. Identification of low momentum hadrons and detection of new exotic massive long-lived charged particles have all benefited from this experimental method. Members of UCL pioneered this technique in the early LHC times and have been developing the tools for its use and calibration. Since 2010 particle identification with ionization energy loss has been the basis of the CMS inclusive search for new massive long-lived charged particles, which has been providing the most stringent and model-independent limits existing to date on any model of new physics predicting such particles.

External collaborators: CMS collaboration.

Reconstruction of high energy muons in the CMS experiment at the LHC

The detection of TeV muons is a fundamental ingredient of a number of key analyses performed by the CMS experiment at the LHC collider, like the search for new high-mass resonances decaying into di-muons or one muon and one neutrino. Muons with an energy of a few hundred GeV or more experience catastrophic energy losses in the material they traverse. These energy losses have a very significant negative imact on the most important parameters of the muon energy measurement distribution: central value, resolution, and tails.

In order to mitigate these effects, a new muon reconstruction algorithm, called DYnamic Truncation (DYT), has been developed. The DYT identifies the muon position measurements that are produced after a catastrophic energy loss. The inclusion of these measurements in the muon track fit is responsible for the degradation of the muon energy measurement. The identification of such measuremnts is based on the level of incompatibility between the position measurement itself and the expected position obtained using the previous measurements.

Search for exotic decays of the Higgs boson to a pair of new light bosons with two muons and two b jets in final states

We search for exotic decays of a Higgs boson to a pair of new light bosons, H->a1a1, where one of the light bosons decays to a pair of muons and the other one decays to a pair of b quarks. Such signatures are predicted in a number of well motivated extensions of the standard model, including the next-to-minimal supersymmetry and generic two Higgs doublet models with an additional scalar singlet.

Search for Higgs boson(s) in CMS at the LHC in the llbb topology

Search for Higgs boson(s) within the Standard Model and beyond and also withing a minimal extension of the scalar sector (2HDM).

The final state under study is a Z decaying into a lepton pair associated with two b-jets. This topology is sensitive to a light SM Higgs via the associate ZH production, as well as a middle mass range SM Higgs boson via the inclusive Higgs production followed by its decay into ZZ with one Z decaying into a lepton pair and the other into bbar.

It is also very sensitive to the production of a non standard heavy Higgs boson decaying into Z plus A (pseudo scalar Higgs boson).

Similar selection (but outside of the Z window) is also sensitive to H->aa->llbb, with "a" a generic light scalar.

External collaborators: CMS collaboration.

Search for Higgs bosons in the ll tau tau final state with the CMS experiment at the LHC

A resonance consistent with the stanadard model Higgs boson with mass of about 125 GeV was discovered in 2012 by the CMS and ATLAS experiments at the LHC. Using the available dataset (2011+2012 LHC runs) evidence was later found of the existence of the SM-predicted decay into a pair of tau leptons. The CP3 Louvain group has been involved in the channel where the Higgs boson is produced in association with the Z boson and decays into a pair of tau leptons.

A search for additional Higgs bosons in the general framework of models with two Higgs doublets (2HDM) was then performed by the same CP3 group using the same final state and the full Run-1 data. Models with two Higgs doublets feature a pseudoscalar boson, A, two charged scalars (H+-) and two neutral (h0 and H0) scalars, one of which is identified with the 125 GeV SM-like Higgs resonance. In some scenarios the most favored decay chain for the discovery of the additional neutral bosons is H0-->ZA-->llττ (or llbb). The search was carried out in collaboration with another group in CP3 who looks at the llbb final state and an update is expected using the Run-2 dataset.

Search for massive long-lived charged particles with the CMS detector at the LHC

The CMS detector at the LHC is used to search for yet unobserved heavy (mass >100 GeV/c$^2$), long-lived (lifetime > 1 ns), electrically charged particles, called generically HSCPs.
HSCPs can be distinguished from Standard Model particles by exploiting their unique signature: very high momentum and low velocity. These features are a consequence of their high mass and the relatively limited LHC collision energy. Two experimental techniques are used to identify such hypothetical heavy and low-velocity particles: the measurement of the ionization energy loss rate using the all-silicon tracker detector and the time-of-flight measurement with the muon detectors.

UCL members have developed the ionization energy loss identification technique and have lead the CMS HSCP search since 2010, when the first HSCP paper became one of the first published LHC search papers. Updated results, using the 2011 dataset, were then published followed by a comprehensive paper including also searches for fractional and multiply-charged particles published using the full CMS Run-1 dataset. The results obtained by analysing the 2015 Run 2 data at 13 TeV have also been published.

The analysis, which is very inclusive, doesn't find evidence of HSCP. It currently excludes, among various models, the existence of quasi-stable gluinos, predicted by certain realizations of supersymmetry, and Drell-Yan-produced staus with masses lower than about 1.3 TeV and 350 GeV, respectively. These and the other limits set by the analysis are the most stringent to date. The CMS HSCP papers total to date more than 300 citations.

Search for non-resonant new physics in ttbar production

The lack of observed resonances produced at the LHC motivates finding new ways of searching for BSM phenomena. This project aims at discovering possible non-resonant New Physics affecting the production of Top quark pairs, by means of a dedicated analysis of data recorded by the CMS experiment. The New Physics effects are modeled using an effective field theory (EFT), whose parameters are to be measured or constrained in a global fit.

The analysis is conducted in close collaboration with phenomenologists to ensure the approach is theoretically sound and future-proof.

Search for nonresonant Higgs boson pair production in the llbb+MET final state

The discovery of a Higgs boson (H) by the ATLAS and CMS experiments fixes the value of the self-coupling λ in the scalar potential whose form is determined by the symmetries of the Standard Model and the requirement of renormalisability. Higgs boson pair production is sensitive to the self-coupling and will play a major role in investigating the scalar potential structure.

This project consists in a search for nonresonant Higgs boson pair production via gluon fusion in the final state with two leptons, two b jets and missing transvere energy – gg → H(bb) H(WW) asking for the leptonic decay of the W's. The analysis is conducted in close collaboration with phenomenologists to ensure the approach is theoretically sound and future-proof.

Search for resonant Higgs pair production in the llbb+MET final state

The recent discovery of a scalar boson compatible with the Standard Model (SM) Higgs boson opened new windows to look for physics beyond the SM (BSM). An example of newly accessible phenomenology is the production of resonances decaying into two SM Higgs bosons (h) predicted by several theory families such as additional Higgs singlet/doublet or warped extra dimension.

This project consists in a search for spin-0 or spin-2 resonances produced via gluon fusion in the final state with two leptons, two b-jets and missing transverse energy – gg → X → h(bb) h(WW) asking for the leptonic decay of the W's. In particular, we are probing a mass range between 260 GeV and 900 GeV.

Single top studies at LHC

The electroweak production cross section of single top quarks is an important measurement for LHC, being a potential window on "new physics" effects.
Past achievements of this group include the very first measurement at 7 TeV (in t channel) with 2010 data, followed by the most precise inclusive cross section measurements of t-channel cross section at 7, 8 and 13 TeV, and the first differential measurements at 13 TeV; the most precise |Vtb| extraction from single top in the world; the first measurement of W-helicity fractions in a single-top topology; the first observation of the tW production mode; the first measurement of single-top polarization in t channel; stringent limits on anomalous tWb, tgu, tgc couplings.

External collaborators: CMS collaboration.

Study and optimization of b-tagging performances in CMS

We are involved in the activities of the btag POG (performance object group) of CMS, in release and data validation and purity measurement. We are also interested in btagging in special cases like for colinear b-jets. Furthermore, we are involved in the re-optimization and improvement of the Combined Secondary Vertex (CSV) tagger for the 2012 analyses.

External collaborators: Strasbourg CMS group, CMS collaboration.

Testing the sign of the coupling of the new H(125) boson to top quarks with the CMS data

During 2012, the CMS and ATLAS collaborations independently reported unambiguous evidence of the existence of a new particle of mass around 125 GeV.
Several analyses are ongoing to challenge the hypothesis that the new particle is the SM Higgs. We focus on the search for its production in association with a single top quark. Due to an effect of quantum interference, this process is strongly suppressed in the Standard Model while it gets enhanced if its couplings to the top quark and to the W boson have opposite sign. An observation of this production mode would therefore be a convincing proof that this new particle does not belong to the Standard Model.
We published the first search for this process using 8 TeV data, and we expect to achieve sensitivity to anomalous values of the top Yukawa phase during the LHC Run-II.

External collaborators: CMS collaboration.

The CMS silicon strip tracker upgrade

Development of the "phase II" upgrade for the CMS silicon strip stracker.

More precisely, we are involved in the development of the uTCA-based DAQ system and in the test/validation of the first prototype modules. We take active part to the various test-beam campaigns (CERN, DESY, ...)

This activity will potentially make use of the cyclotron of UCL, the probe stations and the SYCOC setup (SYstem de mesure de COllection de Charge) to test the response to laser light, radioactive sources and beams.

The final goal is to take a leading role in the construction of part of the CMS Phase-II tracker.

External collaborators: CRC and CMS collaboration.

Top quarks in Heavy Ion collisions and other non-standard LHC datasets

The top quark, being the heaviest known elementary particle, is a powerful tool to test QCD.
The study of top quark pair production in Heavy Ion collisions at the LHC, making use of the dedicated Pb-Pb and p-Pb runs, will open a new road in the investigation of the Quark-Gluon Plasma.
This research project started with the first measurement of top-pair cross section in pp collisions at 5.02 GeV, taking advantage of a "reference run" in Nov.2015 (CMS-TOP-16-015). This measurement, in addition to be useful as a reference for our future measurements in Pb-Pb and p-Pb collisions at the same center-of-mass energy per nucleon, also provides a significant broadening of the lever arm for global PDF fits making use of top-quark data.

External collaborators: Pedro Silva and Marta Verweij (CERN).

World LHC Computing Grid: the Belgian Tier2 project

The World LHC Computing GRID (WLCG) is the worldwide distributed computing infrastructure controlled by software middleware that allows a seamless usage of shared storage and computing resources.

About 10 PBytes of data are produced every year by the experiments running at the LHC collider. This data must be processed (iterative and refined calibration and analysis) by a large scientific community that is widely distributed geographically.

Instead of concentrating all necessary computing resources in a single location, the LHC experiments have decided to set-up a network of computing centres distributed all over the world.

The overall WLCG computing resources needed by the CMS experiment alone in 2016 amount to about 1500 kHepSpec06 of computing power, 90 PB of disk storage and 150 PB of tape storage. Working in the context of the WLCG translates into seamless access to shared computing and storage resources. End users do not need to know where their applications run. The choice is made by the underlying WLCG software on the basis of availability of resources, demands of the user application (CPU, input and output data,..) and privileges owned by the user.

Back in 2005 UCL proposed the WLCG Belgian Tier2 project that would involve the 6 Belgian Universities involved in CMS. The Tier2 project consists of contributing to the WLCG by building two computing centres, one at UCL and one at the IIHE (ULB/VUB).

The UCL site of the WLCG Belgian Tier2 is deployed in a dedicated room close to the cyclotron control room of the IRMP Institute and is currently a fully functional component of the WLCG.

The UCL Belgian Tier2 project also aims to integrate, bring on the GRID, and share resources with other scientific computing projects. The projects currently integrated in the UCL computing cluster are the following: MadGraph/MadEvent, NA62 and Cosmology.

External collaborators: CISM (UCL), Pascal Vanlaer (Belgium, ULB), Lyon computing centre, CERN computing centre.

Show past projects.


Showing 5 publications over 179. Show all publications.


Object definitions for top quark analyses at the particle level
CMS Collaboration
[Full text] CERN-CMS-NOTE-2017-004
Public experimental note. 6th June.
Inclusive tt cross section at sqrt(s)=5.02 TeV using final states with at least one charged lepton
CMS collaboration
[Full text] CMS Physics Analysis Note TOP-16-023, presented at the 25th edition of DIS, Birmingham
4th April.
CMS Luminosity Measurement for the 2016 Data Taking Period
CMS Collaboration
[Full text] Physics Analysis Note CMS-LUM-17-001
Public experimental note. 26th March.
Search for light bosons in decays of the 125 GeV Higgs boson in proton-proton collisions at sqrt(s) = 8 TeV
Khachatryan, Vardan and others
[Abstract] [PDF]
Refereed paper. 10th January.


Search for electroweak production of charginos in final states with two tau leptons in pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 8 TeV
CMS Collaboration
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] Submitted to JHEP
Report number: CMS-SUS-14-022, CERN-EP-2016-225

Refereed paper. 1st December.

[UCLouvain] - [SST] [IRMP] - [SC] [PHYS]
Contact : Jérôme de Favereau
Job opportunities Summer Students program (Masters) 2017
Summer Student program in CP3 for BAC 3 (2017)
PhD position in NA62 experiment