This research program is focused on the discovery of physics beyond the standard model utilizing novel techniques to look for new phenomena in the complicated LHC environment. This research program will expand the scope of dark-matter searches at the LHC by introducing new models of interactions, enabling stronger collaboration between experimentalists and theorists, and by fleshing out theoretical assumptions of the dark-matter models. Model-independent search techniques will then be applied to new, unexplored final states. In addition, novel jet-substructure techniques will be developed at CMS to look for new physics associated with boosted hadronic W's, Z's, and Higgs bosons. This program will develop a better understanding of high transverse momentum identification of b quarks and of jet sub-structure algorithms. This research program also includes contributions to the development of the CMS pixel luminosity telescope, and contributions to the simulation and front-end needs of the CMS hadronic calorimeter upgrade.

The Broader Impacts include their planned contributions to the existing Rutgers QuarkNet effort and plans for speaking to high school groups.

Project Report

My research group performed searches for new physics at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with the CMS Experiment. New physics beyond the Standard Model is expected to be discovered at the LHC for a variety of reasons. For instance, quantum mechanical corrections to the mass of the Higgs boson should make it impossible for the Higgs mechanism to function so as to give fundamental particles their mass. The fact that we have observed a Higgs boson at around 125 GeV is a mystery that strongly suggests the presence of new physics. I helped coordinate the search for new, exotic physics at the CMS experiment. We were able to search for this exotic physics in many different channels that have never been explored before. For instance, we looked for black holes by trying to observe a decrease in the production rate of very high-energy quarks. The reason the rate would decrease for high-energy quarks is that black holes prefer to decay into a large number of lower-energy quarks (and other particles) rather than into just a few higher-energy ones. Although we did not discover black holes, we were able to set limits on the mass scale of black hole production. Another thing my research group did was design a new method for identifying Higgs boson decays. This method uses a number of novel techniques to look for Higgs bosons which are boosted and decay into a pair of b quarks. This new technique will be used to look for new physics models that produce highly energetic Higgs bosons. Finally, my group worked on improving the CMS detector for its future running. We helped design tests for the electronics components that digitize the information collected in the hadronic calorimeter, one of the principle subdetectors of the experiment. These new electronic devices will be used in a future upgraded machine. Another device that will be installed in the next few months is the Pixel Luminosity Telescope. This device is intended to sit very close to the beam pipe and measure the rates of collisions that are produced inside the machine. We designed a number of algorithms to help properly identify collisions and measure their rate.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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James Shank
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Rutgers University
United States
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