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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Search for Higgs Boson Decays to muons

Research Group: Particle Physics Research Centre
Length of Study in Years: 3-4
Full-time Project: yes


Discuss with supervisor and/or admissions tutor

Project Description

The recently discovered Higgs boson is expected to couple to particles in proportion to their mass. At the LHC all searches so far have focussed on couplings to massive vector bosons (W or Z) or thrid generation fermions (top and bottom quarks and tau leptons). Higgs decays to second generation fermions is only possible in the muon channel since the expected backgrounds for charm and strange quarks is far too large at the LHC. Muons have an experimentally clean signature and can easily be identified. This measurement is an important analysis as it is the only possibility we have for measuring 2nd generation couplings of the Higgs. However, due to the small muon mass it's anticipated that the about 300 fb-1 of data are needed (i.e. all data taken up to 2022). If the couplings are larger than expected then a signal will be visible with smaller data sets and would be a clear signal of new physics.


Student expected to travel frequently to Geneva, and possibly spent 1 year at CERN depending on funding.
Excellent programming skills in C++, python, linux/unix

SPCS Academics: Seth Zenz, Eram Rizvi, Ulla Blumenschein