Welcome at the Research Group Elementary Particle Physics
The Ghent Experimental Particle Physics Group belongs to the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The research group experimental particle physics of the Gent University studies the fundamental building blocks of matter. We investigate the basic constituents of matter and how they combine to form matter. Our research is concentrated on three topics:
In Nucleonstructure we investigate the internal structure of protons and neutrons, the constituents of the atomic nucleus.
The Hermes experiment studies the spin structure of nucleons. By analyzing deep inelastic scattering reactions, we try to determine how the nucleon spin is generated by the quarks and gluons, of which the nucleon consists. It used the HERA 27.5 polarized electron/positron beam to scatter deeop-inelastically off a fixed, gaseous proton/nuclear target. The collaboration took data from 1995 until 2007, when thr HERA accelerator was finally closed down. The Ghent group joined HERMES in 1995. Its main contribution to the HERMES detector was the construction and opearation of the Ring Imaging Cherenkov Counter, the Trigger Hodoscope and the Recoil Detector. The Ghent group is also still active in various parts of the data analysis, focusing on the study of exclusive meson production and transversity.
High Energetic Cosmic Radiation
Cosmic radiation contains particles with very high energies. It is unclear how these high energies are achieved. Neutrino's do not have an electric charge and consequently are not deflected in an external magnetic field. Those neutrino's form a good messenger of black holes, Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) or supernova remnants. Moreover, by analyzing neutrino fluxes we may gain insight in dark matter like Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) or other supersymmetric particles.
The IceCube experiment, located at the South Pole, detects neutrino's by their interaction in the Antarctic ice. The research carried out by our research group is mainly twofold. On the one hand, our research group investigates the domain between the knee and the ankle of the energy spectrum of cosmic rays by analyzing the data obtained using the IceTop detector. On the other hand is our research group involved in the search of tau neutrinos with the IceCube detector. Recently, we also got involved in the development of possible new detectors for the IceCube experiment.
Our group is a member of the IceCube collaboration since 2005.
High Energy Physics
The largest particle accelerator ever built, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is now operational in CERN, Switzerland. Protons with an energy of 8 TeV will collide and eventually create enough energy to produce the Higgs particle. This boson is the last keystone of the Standard Model of matter. If the particle is found, our understanding of fundamental particles and their interactions will be confirmed. If not, we will be certain that something is not correct with our current model. Apart from the Higgs mechanism, possibly suppersymmetric particles may be discovered at the LHC accelerator facility.
In 2007 our group joined the CMS collaboration, one of the two LHC experiments.