Search for new physics with forward proton detectors at ATLAS

DOMAIN: Particle and Astroparticle Physics and associated scientific domains

SUPERVISOR: Patricia Conde Muino


HOST INSTITUTION: Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas

DEGREE INSTITUTION: Universidade de Lisboa


The non-abelian structure of the gauge theory in the SM implies the existence of triple and quartic gauge boson couplings (TGC and QGC, respectively) fully constrained by the gauge symmetry. The measurement QGC provide a window into the Electroweak symmetry breaking mechanism, given the fact that the longitudinal modes of the W and Z bosons are Goldstone bosons. Deviations from the SM predictions can appear due to interchange of new particles, integrated out in the effective interaction, in new physics theories. Models with a new heavy scalar singlet interacting with the Higgs sector can modify the quartic gauge boson couplings but not the triple ones. It is, therefore, essential to probe this missing part of the SM, measuring both the TGC and QGC.

  The ATLAS sensitivity to anomalous couplings in the γγWW, γγγγ and γγZZ vertices can be improved two orders of magnitude by using the ATLAS Forward Proton tagging detectors (AFP) [1]. AFP effectively converts the LHC into a photon-photon collider: the two scattered protons emit two photons that annihilate to produce a pair of vector bosons (two W’s, for instance). The protons, that stay intact after the interaction, are scattered through very small angles and they are detected at the AFP stations. Since there is no underlying event, the two vector bosons are the only particles produced centrally. If they decay to leptons they can be easily triggered and identified. The invariant mass of the vector boson pair can be measured precisely by determining the proton energy loss with the AFP detectors, even in the case of neutrinos in the final state. The presence of anomalous quartic gauge boson couplings could be observed as an increase in the number of detected vector boson pairs with large invariant masses. This project proposes the search for anomalous couplings of the type γγWW using the AFP detectors. The same final state can be used to search for dark matter in photon-induced processes, using also the capability of the forward proton tagging detectors [2]. The search for dark matter is challenged due to the low transverse momentum of the leptons produced. An adequate strategy for triggering this kind of processes is therefore needed. It implies the combination of proton tagging information with muon/electron triggers reconstructed with the ATLAS central detectors, already at the first level trigger and probably making use of the topological trigger processors. The development and optimisation of such a trigger strategy is also an objective of this project. The student is will develop the work in the framework of the ATLAS international collaboration. S/he is expected to contribute to the ATLAS data taking activities and also the commissioning and performance studies of the AFP detector, fundamental for the success of this project. Frequent presentations of the results achieved are expected, either in collaboration meetings at CERN or by videoconference. 7.- References [1] E. Chapon, C. Royon, and O. Kepka, Anomalous quartic WWγγ, ZZγγ, and trilinear WWγ couplings in two-photon processes at high luminosity at the LHC, Phys.Rev. D81 (2010) 074003, arXiv:0912.5161 [hep-ph]. [2] L.A. Harland-Lang, V.A. Khoze, M.G. Ryskin and M. Tasevsky, LHC Searches for Dark Matter in Compressed Mass Scenarios: Challenges in the Forward Proton Mode, arXiv:1812.04886 [hep-ph].