Postgraduate Research Opportunities in Particle Physics at the Imperial College HEP Group
The High Energy Physics (Experimental Particle Physics) group at Imperial College is one of the largest in the UK and has a wide and varied research programme. The research interests of the group are outlined in the High Energy Physics section of the Annual Report and also in the research section of the Postgraduate Prospectus.
Initial application deadline for STFC-funded positions: 29th January 2021
Virtual Day and Group Visit on Wednesday 6th January 2021,
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Current research projects in Experimental Particle Physics include:
- CMS (compact muon solenoid) experiment at LHC, the world's highest energy collider, discovered the elusive Higgs Boson in 2012. This discovery resulted in the Nobel Prize being given to Higgs and Englert in 2013. CMS has also managed to place stringent limits on SuperSymmetry and other theories that go beyond the Standard Model. After the recent LHC upgrade, CMS is now taking data at the highest energies and rates ever achieved and will continue its search for physics beyond the Standard Model.
- LHCb, an experiment at the LHC, which is searching for deviations from the Standard Model in the decays of B mesons. The experiment uses the LHC as a prolific source of B-hadrons, providing the potential for a discovery of physics not explained by the Standard Model in Rare Decays and in CP violation measurements. The existing measurements provide powerful probes of new physics models and have revealed intriguing deviations from the Standard Model expectations. Further measurements are now being started with the data collected after the LHC upgrade and these measurements will allow the deviations seen to be explored further.
- T2K/Super-K/Hyper-K, the experiment through which we made the seminal discovery of electron-neutrino appearance from a muon-neutrino beam, and which continues to be the neutrino beam experiment that is making the highest-precision measurements. We are working on the upgrade to the neutrino-beam line at J-PARC that is required to secure the best sensitivity for the T2K programme and on the Hyper-Kamiokande experiment, which is the next-generation experiment that will follow T2K.
- Development of advanced concepts in particle acceleration. Our programme encompasses the study of ionization cooling usind data from the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE), the development of novel techniques for high-power proton beams, and the development of nuSTORM, a novel source of intense neutrino beams with precisely controlled flux and energy produced by the decay of muons confined within a storage ring. We are also developing new concepts for Fixed Field Accelerators with application to ISIS at RAL and future clinical application.
- CCAP, the Centre for the Clinical Application of Particles (CCAP) is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the HEP and Plasma Physics Groups in Physics and the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial. The mission of the CCAP is to harness novel particle-acceleration, detection, imaging and data-processing techniques for clinical application. At the heart of the Centre's programme is the development of a hybrid, laser-driven accelerator facility (LARA) dedicated to study of radiobiology using proton and light-ion beams. Our programme includes collaboration with MedAustron in Vienna, GSI in Darmstadt and CERN.
- SHiP is a proposal for a new facility at CERN that is led by Imperial group members. The experiment will search for the new particles predicted by so-called "Hidden Sector" models which are capable of accommodating dark matter, explaining the pattern of neutrino oscillations and masses, and the origin of the baryon asymmetry in the Universe.
- SoLid is a neutrino experiment searching for a new kind of matter with a novel type of 3D scintillator detector operating very close to a research nuclear reactor.
- Preparations for the LISA experiment, a next generation gravitational wave experiment in space.
- The next-generation dark matter experiment LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) starts operating in 2020 at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and is expected to produce world leading results on various dark matter interactions and observe the scattering of astrophysical neutrinos. In parallel, R&D towards a future liquid-xenon "Generation 3" experiment is starting.
- COMET, an experiment to search for muon-to-electron conversion, a process that is yet to be seen, but which is extremely sensitive to deviations of the universe from the Standard Model. Phase-I of the experiment is under construction and is due to take data shortly, while a further phase is being designed, with construction scheduled in the next several years.
- DUNE is a next-generation long-baseline neutrino experiment in the USA. It will have the sensitivity to make a definitive discovery of leptonic CP violation and then precisely measure this phenomenon. DUNE also promises unprecedented sensitivity to neutrino-nucleus interaction physics and neutrinos from supernovae. We are working on physics sensitivity studies, and building parts of the near detector and the electronics and software that will acquire data from the experiment.
- AION The main objective of this project is to implement a fresh approach to atom interferometry (with single-photon transitions) that provides a novel method of detecting dark matter with a new instrument, as well as major advantages for the observation of gravity waves (GW) in the long term. This new quantum technology provides a major opportunity to push measurements beyond the current sensitivity limits in fundamental physics applications, e.g. for GWs in the mid-frequency band, around 1Hz. The AION collaboration is the culmination of extensive community building and will put the UK at the forefront of this globally important venture.
- Grid computing technologies required for carrying out the data processing in association with the LHC.
- Development of new classes of position detectors, based primarily on silicon, and designing the associated complex signal processing electronics
Each year we take on up to 15 postgraduate students for research within the group leading to a Ph.D. degree. Postgraduate students normally join the group in October, though other starting dates can be considered in exceptional cases. The period of attendance required for a Ph.D. is three to four years. Students follow an extensive programme of lectures in their first year, ranging from quantum field theory through to detector design, as well as starting their research projects. If appropriate, students spend their second year on-site at their experiment working with our teams located there.
We have about six STFC studentships available to offer to suitably qualified, eligible candidates. In addition, we often have additional STFC or CASE studentships associated with specific projects. Studentships cover fees for all EU students; In addition UK residents receive living expenses (approx. £17,009 /annum, tax free, for 2019-20). Note that non-UK EU nationals who have spent the previous three years in the UK undertaking an undergraduate degree now meet the residency requirements above. For information about STFC studentships see the STFC web pages. Additional scholarships and funding opportunities are detailed in the Imperial College Postgraduate Prospectus. Students wishing to apply for postgraduate scolarships are encouraged to make contact early, ideally by December. The Postgraduate Prospectus also contains general information about admissions requirements, the application procedure, fees & scholarships, College facilities, accommodation, etc. See the Physics Department web pages for further information about the Department.
Initial application deadline for STFC-funded positions: 29th January 2021. For other scholarships, follow individual application guidelines.
Please use the online system linked from this page http://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/ to submit your formal application to Imperial College Registry. At the same time, we ask that you fill in the HEP group form at https://www.hep.ph.ic.ac.uk/phdform. This will help speed up the processing of your application in our group.
If you have problems with the above form, please email HEP-Admissions-Panel@imperial.ac.uk once you have submitted your formal application.
Postgraduate Fair & Group Visit
The High Energy Physics Group will be holding a virtual Open Day and Group Visit on Wednesday 6th January 2021, from 12.30pm. We will describe the research that our group pursues, and the postdoctoral study opportunities that are on offer, and you will also be able to talk to group members, from current students to researchers and academics. We will also describe the application procedure in detail, so even if you are certain that you would like to apply for a position with us, you should still find it useful.
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