Experimental Particle Physics
The University of Toronto Experimental High-Energy Physics Group
Today's high-energy physics is the culmination of twenty-five centuries of searching for an understanding of the ultimate nature of matter. The University of Toronto has one of Canada's most active groups in elementary particle physics and relativity. Over the last 30 years the standard model of particle physics has gradually taken shape. The standard model has withstood tests of unprecedented precision. Still, we know that this model cannot be complete. Experimentalists and theorists at the University of Toronto are actively trying to find ways to move beyond the current particle physics paradigm.
Ongoing experimental programs include the ATLAS experiment at CERN, near Geneva Switzerland, studying the highest energy man-made proton proton collisions, and the T2K experiment in Japan, which studies long baseline neutrino interactions. The LHC came into operation at CERN in 2010, and now defines the "energy frontier" where we can study the highest energy particle interactions made in the laboratory. Our experimental group plays a leading role in the scientific studies, maintenance, operations and potential upgrades of the ATLAS experiment. We were involved in the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, which gives rise to the mass of all of the fundamental particles in the Standard Model of particle physics. We are now engaged in detailed studies of the Higgs boson and the top quark, as well as in searches for new particles that will lead us to a deeper understanding of how our universe is structured.
While ATLAS is uncovering the origin of mass, the T2K experiment is investigating the deep mystery why the mass we see in our universe in galaxies, stars and us is only matter, with no anti-matter component. The solution may be in an asymmetry between neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, which T2K is studying. The Toronto group is active in the neutrino beam instrumentation and the neutrino mixing angle physics analysis.
Both experiments provide a number of exciting opportunities for graduate research into new particle physics phenomena at either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level, with the possibility of gaining essential instrumentation and hardware experience working on upgrades for ATLAS. More information on the opportunities for graduate students in our groups can be found here .
The future of particle physics is intimately connected to developments in particle accelerators to reach higher and higher energies and intensities. Our group is involved in a project on superconducting radio-frequency accelerating cavities for future accelerators, as well as upgrades to the ATLAS detector.