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Welcome to the Experimental Particle Physics Group

The Ghent Experimental Particle Physics Group belongs to the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The experimental particle physics research group at the University of Gent 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:

High Energy Physics

The largest particle accelerator ever built, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland, has concluded the first data-taking period at the beginning of 2013. By colliding protons at a centre-of-mass energy of 8 Tera electronvolts, the facility has accomplished the major task of providing evidence of a particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, that was the last missing piece of our comprehensive picture of fundamental forces and particles, called the Standard Model. At the same time, many inquiries in physics beyond the Standard Model have been conducted, to unravel the nature of dark matter, the origin of the matter/anti-matter imbalance and the features of the quark-gluon plasma, among the others. A large amount of important results have been obtained during the first three years of LHC data-taking, spanning from high-precision measurements to much improved limits on possible new-physics scenarios. In 2013 and 2014, the machine is facing a major upgrade that will almost double the center of mass energy at the beginning of 2015. The upgrade involves both many components of the accelerator itself (to permit a safe, high-intensity and high-energy new regime) and the detection systems of the experiments observing the proton collision, to allow for higher precision measurements on particles produced in the centre of collisions .

In 2007 our group joined the CMS collaboration. In 2014, the group efforts are directed in both refining the analysis of LHC data taken in 2011 and 2012, and in commissioning the CMS detector for a smooth restart in 2015.

High Energetic Cosmic Radiation

Cosmic radiation contains particles at very high energies. It is unclear how these high energies are achieved. Neutrinos are fundamental particles that do not have an electric charge, and consequently are not deflected by a galactic magnetic fields. Because of this property, neutrinos are a good messenger of black holes, Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) or supernova remnants. By analysing fluxes of neutrinos, we can gain insight into the nature of dark matter objects like Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) or other supersymmetric particles.

The research carried out by the IceCube group at the University of Ghent is in two primary areas. The group is involved in the search for tau neutrinos with the IceCube detector, and also investigates the domain between the knee and the ankle of the energy spectrum of cosmic rays by analysing the data obtained using the IceTop detector, which lies directly above IceCube at the South Pole. Recently, the group was involved in the development of potential new detectors for the experiment.

Our group is a member of the IceCube collaboration since 2005.

Particle and Astro-particle Physics Theory

The theoretical research interests in our group span from hadronic diffraction in high-energy QCD processes to mathematical properties and phenomenology of non-minimal Higgs sectors and flavor symmetries . We are interested on the physics of astrophysical plasmas, radiation and cosmic-ray acceleration in the shocks of galactic sources such as Super Novae, microquasars and x-binary jets ; and extragalactic sources like Gamma-Ray-Bursts and Active Galactic Nuclei jets.