Particle experiment groups


Professors Robert Harr, Paul Karchin

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 Compact Muon Solenoid
The Compact Muon Solenoid

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 that have 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.


Professors Giovanni Bonvicini, David Cinabro

KEKB particle accelerator
KEKB particle accelerator

One of the great mysteries in physics is why the fundamental particles come in three and only three families. Studying the properties of the three families in detail is one way to further understand this mystery which is central to understanding the universe at a fundamental level.

The Wayne State CLEO/BELLE group is focused on investigating the properties of the quarks of the second and third families. CLEO is an experiment at Cornell that currently produces very large samples of the second family charm quark pairs in electron-positron collisions. This is a pristine environment and CLEO is a very capable detector able to see both charged and neutral particles. These allow unmatched sensitivity to rare behavior and unparalleled accuracy in measurements of the charm quark. We are focused on studying charm decays to three bodies and the search for charm quarks spontaneously turning into anti-charm quarks.

We are also members of the Belle and Belle II Collaboration at KEK, Tsukuba, Japan. Belle took data for a decade at KEKB, the highest luminosity machine in the world, resulting in close to 900 million B meson pairs produced. Here, too, the combination of statistics and cleanliness has produced hundreds of interesting physics papers, and the contribution of Belle was mentioned in the 2008 Nobel Prize award. Belle II will take 50 times more data at the new accelerator SuperKEKB, which will be inaugurated in November 2011.

We also work on the physics of particle accelerators. When the intense beams of particles collide the electric field of one beam causes the particles of the other beam to radiate. This radiation can be measured to learn if the beams are colliding head-on or not. Properties of the radiation also indicate exactly how the beams are missing each other and allow them to quickly be brought back into proper alignment. A prototype was tested in the electron-positron ring at Cornell. We are developing the detector for use at SuperKEKB, leading a collaboration with five other institutions (Hawaii, Pacific National Lab., Luther, KEK and Tabuk).

The group's research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Japanese program Hosei Yosan, and the Japan-USA program Nichibei.

For more information on the CLEO Experiment, visit the CLEO Collaboration.

For more information on the BELLE Experiment, visit the Belle Collaboration.