Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics Group (PPPA)

Atlas ProjectResearch interests

The group concentrates on the following core areas of particle physics and particle astrophysics:

  • Supersymmetry, Higgs boson searches and Standard Model physics (ATLAS)
  • Neutrino physics and neutrino astrophysics
  • Dark matter and underground science
  • Gravitational wave searches (LIGO) – find out more
  • Theoretical particle astrophysics and cosmology

The key experiments/projects with the group's involvement are:

  • ATLAS at LHC – Supersymmetry and Higgs boson searches and Standard Model physics
  • ATLAS-upgrade – an upgrade of the ATLAS detector for ultra-high luminosity operation
  • MICE and Accelerator Target R&D – technology for precise measurements of neutrino mixing
  • T2K – measurements of neutrino oscillation parameters
  • DUNE - Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment
  • LAGUNA–LBNO – Long Baseline Neutrino Observatory and detector for proton decay and neutrino physics and astrophysics
  • LIGO – Large Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory – a direct search for gravitational waves from astrophysics sources 
  • DRIFT II/III – a programme for directional dark matter detector at the Boulby Underground Laboratory
  • EDELWEISS/EURECA – tonne-scale cryogenic experiment for WIMP dark matter search
  • DM-ICE – annual modulation dark matter search at the South Pole
  • LIQUID ARGON – development of liquid argon detector technology for neutrino physics, dark matter, medicine and industry
  • MUON TOMOGRAPHY – development of muon tomography technology for carbon sequestration and other applications
  • NEUTRONS for SECURITY – applications of neutron detectors for homeland security
  • NORTHGRID-GRIDPP – Distributed processing of LHC data
  • SNO+ – Search for neutrinoless double beta decay and astrophysical neutrinos
  • SBND – Short Baseline Neutrino Detector – search for sterile neutrinos
  • ArgonCUBE – development of liquid argon near detector for DUNE
  • CYGNUS – global network of directional dark matter detectors

For more detailed information please see the following websites:

Academic staff and research fellows

Key achievements

  • Successful macro-assembly and testing of ATLAS SCT Endcap-C detector, cooling system and DAQ system
  • Development and validation of computer codes for Higgs and SUSY searches at ATLAS
  • Pioneering work on interplay between collider and astroparticle searches for Dark Matter
  • A world-class underground laboratory has been constructed and made available to users at Boulby Mine
  • World competitive limits on WIMP dark matter interactions set by NAIAD, and ZEPLIN experiments at the Boulby Underground Laboratory
  • Design and commissioning of target actuator on ISIS for MICE experiment
  • Conception, design and development of the ANTARES LED optical beacon calibration system
  • Active participation in the commissioning and first successful science run of the LIGO interferometric search for gravitational waves

The group has been very successful in securing funds from Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, the University of Sheffield, European organisations and other funding agencies worth in total more than £10m over past five years. The most recent successful large applications include:

  • HEP consolidated grant (PPARC) for ATLAS, neutrino physics and astrophysics, and dark matter searches
  • ATLAS-UK eScience grants (x3) (PPARC)
  • GridPP grant for distributed processing of LHC data (PPARC)
  • ATLAS-upgrade project grant (STFC)
  • UK Gravitational Wave Consortium Grants for research with, and operation of, Advanced LIGO
  • SRIF2 Northgrid White Rose Grid Node for GridPP (HEFCE)
  • Theory group rolling grant (PPARC)
  • Construction of Near Detector for T2K project (PPARC)
  • MICE target and UK Neutrino Factory development (PPARC and CCLRC)
  • ZEPLIN-II for dark matter search (PPARC)
  • PIPSS for PMT development (PPARC)
  • ILIAS for particle astrophysics infrastructures (EU FP6)
  • ACORNE for acoustic neutrino detection (PPARC/MoD)
  • DUNE-UK grant to construct anode plane arrays for SBND