Overview: The principal goal of experiments in modern particle physics is to uncover new physics that underlies the Standard Model. Possible approaches include the study of physics processes at the highest available collision energies at accelerators or through studies of the very rare interactions of neutrinos. The Chicago Particle Physics group has been active in both domains. Additionally the group is making significant technological contributions to the development of very fast timing detectors and is advancing a graduate program of accelerator research.

Broader impacts: The Chicago group has made major contributions to the development of fast timing detectors for particle physics through the LAPPD (Large Area Picosecond Photodetector) collaboration. Such instrumentation is critical for neutrino and collider experiments described below, and is also important in other fields including applications in medicine and homeland security. The developed technology is now in a phase of transfer to industry.

Additionally the Chicago group has had a very strong program of outreach to the broader community through its major contributions to programs that encourage the participation of underserved students and minorities in science such as the Enrico Fermi Summer Interns Program and their Expanding Your Horizon Program.

Intellectual Merit: A goal of experiments at the highest available collision energies at the Large Hadron Collider (the LHC) at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland is to understand the nature of the Higgs Boson, recently discovered there in 2012, and to discover new physics beyond the Standard Model.

These goals are relevant to the understanding of the Universe at its most fundamental level in the fleeting fraction of a second just after the Big Bang, and to why we see the Universe as we do now. To meet the challenges of this quest, new theories are advanced, new detectors and accelerators are developed and built, and new computing and analytical methodologies are created, all of which have significant broader impact for the training of young scientists in the near term and the advancement of technological benefits to society over the longer term.

The next three years represent a transition of the LHC physics program from a collision energy of 8 TeV data-taking and operation, to extended operations and data taking at nearly double the energy, 13-14 TeV. Over a thousand scientists from the United States are involved with this scientific program on several major experiments.

The Chicago group is one of the important groups participating in the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Their contributions include extensive involvement in the technical advancement of the experiment, leading the development of the Fast Track Trigger (the FTK) and the upgrade of the hadron Calorimetry (the TileCAL). The group's principal analytical focus will be Higgs physics, with the Higgs decay mode into b and anti-b quarks. This topology will enable important studies of Higgs properties and searches for new physics using this b - anti b decay as a tool, dark matter searches with heavy quarks, and searches for new physics using di-jet events. These studies will be greatly facilitated by the FTK and/or the TileCAL and by a jet substructure tool which has been developed by the Chicago group for the analysis of the data from first major run of the LHC, and which will be exploited in the upcoming run which begins in 2015.

In Neutrino Physics the Chicago group will be completing its contributions to the reactor-based neutrino experiment called Double Chooz, which will measure the neutrino mixing angle, theta13, with both near and far detectors. Until now, the measurements from Double Chooz were from a single detector only.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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Saul Gonzalez
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University of Chicago
United States
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