CDF/CMS Experimental Particle Physics Group
Professors Robert Harr, Paul Karchin, and Mark Mattson
The energy of the universe consists mainly of dark matter and dark energy. Little is known about the nature of either, but one or both may turn out to be sub-atomic particles. These particles may be produced in high energy particle collisions or they may affect the decay properties of established particles. Both methods are being pursued using the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), located near Chicago. We study collisions of 980 GeV protons with anti-protons (p-bars) of the same energy, but opposite direction. The Fermilab Tevatron accelerator, which produces these collisions, is the highest energy particle accelerator in the world.
The CDF can identify new, large mass particles produced in the pbar-p collisions. For example, the elusive Higgs boson is predicted to have a mass of about 120 times the mass of the proton. Another class of large mass particles which has been hypothesized are the supersymmetric particles, some of which may be types of dark matter.
Particles containing the charm quark are produced copiously in the pbar-p collisions at Fermilab. The Wayne State group is studying rare decays of charm particles for evidence that the decays are affected by the existence of previously undiscovered, high mass particles.
The Wayne State group maintains operation of the front-end electronics for the CDF calorimeters. The calorimeters are a key part of the CDF apparatus and are used to measure the energy of pions (and other strongly interacting particles) as well as electrons.
A new accelerator is under development by the worldwide physics community: a high energy electron-positron linear collider. This accelerator could make precise measurements of the properties of new, high mass particles. The detector for the collisions produced by the linear collider will require novel technologies. At Wayne State, we are developing a prototype muon detector which could meet the requirements for accurate time resolution, good spatial granularity, and stable long-term operation.
The group's research is supported by the United States Department of Energy.
For information about the CDF experiment, visit the Collider Detector at Fermilab.
For information about the linear collider, visit the International Linear Collider Detector.