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Department of Physics > HEP Home > Research Strategy

Research Strategy

The Liverpool experimental particle physics strategy is driven by the search for answers to key questions concerned with the origin and nature of the Universe. As well as being involved in major experiments worldwide, we also actively engage in R&D for future experiments, and collaborate closely with industry, and have a leading role in the Cockcroft Institute for accelerator physics.

What is the origin of mass?

We are addressing the quest for the origin of mass through two programmes. At the energy frontier, through CDF then ATLAS, we search for the Higgs boson and aim to measure its dominant decays; however, we believe the International Linear Collider (ILC) will be needed to fully test whether the Higgs mechanism provides an explanation for the fermion masses. We are pursuing detector and accelerator R&D for the ILC. At HERA, using high energy e-p scattering, we probe the short-distance structure and dynamics of hadronic physics, and elucidate the mechanisms which govern the nature, origin and evolution of the visible mass in the Universe.

Is there a unified theory of all particle interactions?

The issues of Grand Unification (including gravity) and of dark matter will be addressed by us through searches at the Tevatron (CDF) then at the LHC (ATLAS) for evidence of new physics, with particular emphasis on supersymmetry as the theoretically preferred framework for addressing both of these fundamental questions. The understanding of the relationship of new physics to ideas deriving from supersymmetry or other possibilities (such as large extra dimensions) is expected to require further studies, both using the enormous luminosity of the Super LHC (SLHC) with an upgraded ATLAS detector and the ILC. Testing ideas on the unification of forces requires accurate determination of fundamental couplings such as αS. Members of the group lead major initiatives at our 'energy frontier' experiments CDF, H1 and ATLAS to determine the most accurate values possible of the strong and electroweak couplings in the Standard Model. The combination of hadron-hadron, lepton-hadron, and lepton-antilepton physics at high energy underpins these measurements, and thus also the possibilities of new discoveries. 

Why is there more matter than antimatter?

We are addressing the issue of the dominance of matter over anti-matter through key measurements at BaBar and CDF in the b-quark sector, to be followed by measurements of even greater precision for most channels at LHCb. Should leptogenesis provide the basis for the observed matter anti-matter asymmetry in the universe, our neutrino programme (which also addresses another PPARC priority, understanding neutrino mass) will seek to find experimental evidence for this, firstly through the T2K experiment and then through participation in the Neutrino Factory.

Developing the next generation of particle physics experiments

Liverpool recognises the importance of developing new technologies which will be needed to make possible future advances in the field. To this end, we have played the key role in establishing the Cockcroft Institute for accelerator science, and have sought to engage in R&D projects aimed towards developing detectors for the next generation of particle accelerators. We have been able to enhance our research in these areas through close collaboration with industry.

More information on PPARC's Science Roadmap and the European particle physics strategy.

Assembly of LHCb modules at Liverpool

- Assembly of LHCb VELO modules at Liverpool