4th Year Projects in 2019

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Below is a list of the 4th year projects offered for Semester 1, 2019. These are representative of the sort of projects we can offer - we may alter some of these closer to the time or indeed add new possibilities.

The original version of this list is also available as a pdf prepared for the Honours Information Session.

Experimental Projects

Simultaneous measurements of Standard Model cross-sections at the Large Hadron Collider

Supervisors: Prof Kevin Varvell
Contact: Prof Kevin Varvell
Room: 344
Email: kevin.varvell AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 2539

The Large Hadron Collider is designed to produce exotic particles such as the Higgs boson, top quark, and W and Z bosons by colliding protons together, using gigantic detectors like ATLAS to examine the debris. By fitting data collected by ATLAS to predictions made by the Standard Model, the model which describes all fundamental interactions of elementary particles, we can simultaneously study the production mechanisms of several rare processes. This simultaneous measurement allows us to perform a global test of the Standard Model which has the potential to reveal new physical processes beyond the Standard Model. A student doing this project will have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists based at CERN and elsewhere, and will be involved in statistical analysis of LHC data. There is scope for projects for more than one student, and the work would be suitable both for standalone honours projects and for projects leading into subsequent PhD research.

Upgrading tracking performance for the ATLAS detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

Supervisors: Prof Kevin Varvell
Contact: Prof Kevin Varvell
Room: 344
Email: kevin.varvell AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 2539

The ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has taken data during two running periods between 2011 and 2018. During the next few years the ATLAS detector is due to be upgraded to enable it to operate with higher intensity beams from LHC. In particular, the tracking of particles will become more difficult as more proton-proton collisions per beam crossing are overlaid on top of each other. The Fast TracKer (FTK) is a hardware track finder for the ATLAS trigger system which is currently being commissioned, and in the longer term an entire new Inner Tracker (ITk) based on layers of silicon pixel and strip detectors will be installed. Our group is involved in the development of these systems, and there is the potential to offer an honours project related to simulation of the performance of the FTK or to the development of readout systems for the ITk.

Studying semileptonic B-meson decays in early data from the Belle II experiment

Supervisors: Prof Kevin Varvell, Dr Chia-Ling Hsu
Contact: Prof Kevin Varvell
Room: 344
Email: kevin.varvell AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 2539

The Belle II experiment at the SuperKEKB electron-positron collider in Japan is due to begin taking data in early 2019, having recently completed a brief commissioning run. Belle II will primarily aim to study rare decays of B mesons. In this project, early Belle II data will be examined to make an initial search for “semileptonic” decays of B mesons, where the products of the decay are a lighter meson than the B, a charged lepton such as an electron, muon or tau, and a corresponding neutrino. Decays of this type enable us to probe fundamental parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics (SM), and to search for possible evidence for the SM breaking down.

Improving the measurement of rare decays at Belle II through track-driven clustering

Supervisors: A./Prof. Bruce Yabsley, Dr Frank Meier
Contact: A./Prof. Bruce Yabsley
Room: 363
Email: bruce.yabsley AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 6808

Rare decays of B mesons provide sensitive probes of new physics, and the study of such decays is a key part of the programme of the Belle II experiment, at KEK in Japan. Belle II, due to start datataking in 2019, is the successor to the Belle experiment (1999-2010), which broke new ground in rare decay measurement and has a very large dataset available for study. Many rare decay measurements rely on the Belle electromagnetic calorimeter, and research work underway here in Sydney aims to give the calorimeter new capabilities, which can be exploited to improve rare decay searches. In this project you will have the opportunity to pull apart one of the historic published rare decay analyses from Belle, to learn how it works, and to study how it could be improved using our techniques. This work will provide an important input to the development of rare decay studies at Belle II, and complement studies on the early Belle II data.

Theoretical Projects

Probing quantum horizons of black holes

Supervisors: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Contact: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Room: 367
Email: archil.kobakhidze AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 5349

After seminal work by Hawking on black hole radiation, the question of the compatibility of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity has been one of the major themes of debate. Recently, the relevance of certain asymptotic symmetries to the resolution of the longstanding black hole information loss paradox has been suggested. These symmetries are broken by black hole geometry, resulting in a soft Goldstone modes living near black hole horizon. These modes are assumed to communicate the information from the black hole interior to the outside observer. In this project we would like to compute the influence of these hypothetical Goldstone perturbations on the gravitational perturbations of black holes, and the feasibility of observing Goldstone modes in the ringdown phase of black hole binary merger.

Light dilaton as dark matter

Supervisors: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Contact: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Room: 367
Email: archil.kobakhidze AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 5349

The approximate invariance of fundamental laws of nature under scaling transformation provides a new insight into the mechanism of mass generation for elementary particles, including the Higgs boson. A class of scale invariant models predicts the existence of a new, very light scalar particle, known as the dilaton. In this project, we will study the properties of this particle with the aim to determine whether the dilaton can be sought as the prime constituent of the observed, yet mysterious, dark matter in the universe.

Scale-invariant Grand Unification

Supervisors: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Contact: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Room: 367
Email: archil.kobakhidze AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 5349

Grand Unified Theories are theoretical models that aim for a unified description of three fundamental forces: strong, weak and electromagnetic. It involves at least two disparate energy scales: the already established Fermi scale (~ 100 GeV) of unification of weak and electromagnetic forces and the Grand Unification scale (~1016 GeV). In this project we will construct qualitatively new theories of scale-invariant Grand Unification, where the characteristic energy scales of unification emerge through quantum-mechanical effects.

Dual dark matter

Supervisors: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Contact: A./Prof Archil Kobakhidze
Room: 367
Email: archil.kobakhidze AT sydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9351 5349

The existence of dark matter has been inferred from various astrophysical observations. The nature of dark matter, however, remains a mystery. In this project we propose and study a new model of dark matter where a hypothetical dark matter particles are monopoles of a duality symmetric hidden electromagnetic theory.