The following is an indicative list of possible research topics. Other topics are possible and should be discussed with a supervisor.
Understanding the nature of neutrinos and their role in the Universe answers questions beyond the current frontier of our knowledge. The first aim of neutrino physics in the near future is to understand neutrino oscillations. The T2K, Tokai-to-Kamioka, experiment, just being completed in Japan and starting to take data in Dec. 2009, will provide an unique scientific opportunity to unravel the nature of the neutrinos. The main goal of the T2K experiment is the first observation of the muon into electron neutrino oscillation. If observed it can lead to the discovery of CP violation in the lepton sector, which can explain the difference between matter and antimatter in the universe. In summary, here is the list of projects:
Please find in this file more details about the projects. The file is being updated.
Future Long Baseline Neutrino experiments
The neutrino group at QMUL is also involved in the develoment of future long baseline neutrino experiments. A fraction of a thesis time can also be devoted to one of the topics below if there is interest:
SNO+ is a multi-purpose liquid scintillator neutrino detector, located 2km underground in a Canadian Nickel mine. This experiment is uniquely situated to make two major measurements: a search for double beta decay, the golden channel for probing the neutrino mass and its fundamental nature and a measurement of low energy solar neutrino fluxes, which should not only provide an accurate test of neutrino oscillation theory and probe for possible new physics processes but will also help to reduce uncertainties in solar modelling and our understanding in stellar mechanisms in general. There is also potential for measurements of reactor and geo-neutrinos.
The UK has a strong analysis presence in the SNO+ experiment and there are a lot of potential analysis projects for a PhD student. There is also scope for developing new hardware for calibration sources and investigations of new isotopes and enrichment technologies for future increased sensitivity double beta decay measurements.
More information on the SNO+ experiment can be found here
The QMUL group is involved in R&D work on the ATLAS upgrade programme for the silicon tracker, which is a critical component of the next generation of the ATLAS LHC experiment. Our main activities in this area lie in the understanding of thermal and mechancial properties of the materials used to build the support structure for silicon sensors, and subsequent testing of prototype devices. One of the crucial aspects to the ATLAS upgrade programe is the validation of silicon sensors for operation in the hard conditions that will be created in the high luminosity LHC upgrade (the so-called phase II upgrade). We are working on developing sensor testing protocols in anticipation of the start of detector construction in a few years time. It would be possible for a PhD student interested in hardware to work on a PhD that is a combination of R&D for the ATLAS upgrade, along with analysis of ATLAS data. For such a project, that is a mix of ATLAS analysis and upgrade R&D, it would be expected that the ATLAS upgade work would centre around work that is considered as a "service" task for ATLAS authorship.
In terms of more generic work, we are also involved in an R&D programme based on constructing a low mass vertex detector using radiation hard CMOS pixel technology, in collaboration with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The use of this technology is truly generic as it has potential application for many types of experiment from ALICE at the LHC through to detectors at the ILC, in addition to having imaging applications outside of particle physics.