Project ID: 157
Supervisor(s): Michael Schmidt
I am a theoretical particle physicist working on physics beyond the Standard Model and astroparticle physics. My research focus is on neutrino physics, flavour physics, dark matter and other related new physics.
Neutrinos are extremely light, but massive, elementary particles. However, the origin of tiny neutrino masses is unknown and an active area of research. I am offering projects on building models of neutrino mass, phenomenological studies to find new ways to distinguish between different mechanisms of neutrino mass generation, and more generally on other physics related to neutrino masses, e.g. dark matter and explanations of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe.
One important deficiency of the Standard Model is an inadequate explanation of “flavour”, the threefold replication of the elementary particles of matter. Processes between the three different flavours provides rich information and is a sensitive probe to new physics beyond the Standard Model. At the moment, there are several anomalous measurements, which do not agree with the Standard Model prediction including the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon and the violation of lepton flavour universality in processes b to s and b to c transitions. I am offering projects on building models of flavour, develop explanation of anomalous measurements, and phenomenological studies in flavour physics.
The most appealing explanation of dark matter is in terms of a new elementary particle. There are many well-motivated dark matter candidates including weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), sterile neutrinos, axions, and axion-like particles. However, so far we do not know the nature of dark matter. I am offering projects on dark matter model building, studies of (direct/indirect) detection and its cosmological implications.
Phase Transitions in the Early Universe
Phase transitions in the early Universe may have important effects on the cosmological evolution. They may be responsible for the creation of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, may substantially affect today’s dark matter abundance, or generate a large gravitational wave background. I am offering projects on different aspects of phase transitions in the early Universe.
Currently, the highest energy collisions are achieved at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which ultimately will collide protons at a centre of mass energy of 14 TeV. It provides the testing ground for particle physics at the highest energies in a lab. I am offering projects in collider physics which use the LHC or future colliders as a probe for a variety of new physics scenarios including the origin of neutrino masses, flavour physics and dark matter.
Undergraduate (Taste of Research/TSP) Student Projects
Most of the projects in theoretical particle physics require quantum field theory which is only taught at Honours level. For Taste of Research/TSP students, I am offering projects which do not require quantum field theory. Examples include projects on neutrino oscillations, phase transitions, flavour symmetries, and collider physics simulations.
Please contact me to discuss opportunities for research projects in theoretical particle physics.