The University of Chicago particle physics group will develop, commission, and operate new instrumentation for the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider that will enable novel searches for new physics as well as key measurements of Standard Model processes. By combining their expertise in instrumentation, physics analysis, and data-intensive computation with novel ideas in machine learning and electronics design, they will extend sensitivities to groundbreaking discoveries.

The group will: (a) Conduct searches for new physics and detailed measurements of the Standard Model (SM) involving electroweak (EW) processes and hadronic final states; (b) Expand their roles in commissioning and operating the Tile calorimeter and global Feature Extractor (gFEX) calorimeter trigger system; (c) Undertake three detector upgrades for the High Luminosity LHC Run 4: Tile Calorimeter Main Board electronics, the calorimeter Global Event Processor (GEP), and the Hardware Track Trigger (HTT) systems.

The Chicago group’s physics analysis activities include exploration of the electroweak/Higgs sector; exploration of the dark sector; and exploration of the hard QCD sector. Each has the potential for transformative discoveries and insights in particle physics. The group will expand its roles in several areas as the ATLAS physics program and the HL-LHC upgrade program progress, including calibrating, operating, and upgrading the Tile Calorimeter and commissioning the trigger system for Run 3, as well as upgrading the Global Event Processor (GEP) and Hardware Track Trigger (HTT) trigger systems, and the associated computing paradigms, for the HL-LHC.

The proposed instrumentation efforts enable the group to have a long-lasting impact on research in physics more broadly. The group also aims to have an impact on workforce development, K-12 education, and enhanced public scientific literacy. They will incorporate new programs and activities based on group members' successful experiences and alignment with best practices. These activities comprise a comprehensive approach to training, educating, and increasing scientific literacy as they advance scientific knowledge. At the same time, the group will train graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in a broad range of methods, experimental design, leadership, and communication.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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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