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.
Search for long-lived heavy neutral leptons with CMS
Many well motivated new physics extensions of the SM include new particles whose decay width is very small and hence have a decay length which is macroscopic. One very attractive and minimal extension of the standard model is one with right-handed neutrinos with Majorana masses below the electroweak scale (low scale see-saw). This addition is able to generate both the light neutrino masses and the baryon asymmetry of the universe via low scale leptogenesis. In what is probably the most studied model that invokes the low scale seesaw, the Neutrino Minimal Standard Model , one of the three right-handed neutrinos is a dark matter candidate. A large allowed region of phase space for right handed neutrinos spans masses between 1 and 50 GeV with corresponding lifetimes (cτ) ranging from 10^3 to 10^-4 m. For higher masses the right handed neutrino basically decays promptly and for lower masses the probability that it decays within the detector volume is virtually zero thus giving rise to missing transverse momentum in the detector. These latter two extreme cases can be captured experimentally by standard searches at the general purpose LHC experiments, while the intermediate case is the natural target of the so-called “displaced” searches, which are highly peculiar and challenging analyses at the LHC in high demand for dedicated data reconstruction tools in order to extend their sensitivity. We intend to search for long-lived sterile neutrinos decaying at displaced vertices into a charged light lepton and hadrons. A fundamental ingredient of this search is the identification of charged tracks emerging from highly displaced vertices.
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.