Dr Chris Booth

Dr Chris BoothReader in Experimental Particle Physics

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My research interests centre around neutrino physics, and the enabling accelerator techniques which could be used in future neutrino research. I am a member of the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE), testing methods of reducing muon phase-space so that a muon beam could be accelerated for a future neutrino factory or muon collider (e.g. Higgs factory). I also conduct research on very high power targets under the auspices of PASI (Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation), and have recently joined the DUNE neutrino experiment, being built in the US.
I have published over 600 journal papers, and made presentations at international conferences. My current research team includes one PhD student (Joe Langlands) and three postdoctoral research associates (Drs Paul Hodgson, Ed Overton and Scott Wilbur).


B.A. (Hons) Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge 1976
M.A., University of Cambridge 1980
Ph.D. in Particle Physics, University of Cambridge 1981

Academic career

Research Associate, University of Cambridge 1979 – 1985
Fellow, CERN 1985 – 1988
Lecturer in Physics, University of Sheffield 1988 – 1997
Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Sheffield 1997 – 2010
Reader in Experimental Particle Physics, University of Sheffield from 2011

Departmental administration

Third Year Tutor (since 2003)
Chair of Teaching Committee (1996 – 1999)
Member of Teaching Committee (since 1996)
Postgraduate (Research) Committee (1994 – 2015)
Physical Planning Group (1999 – 2014)

University administration

Faculty Teaching Affairs Committee (2003 – 2009)
Faculty Board (1993 – 95 & 1999/2000)
Learning and Teaching Advocate (2005 – 2010)

Professional activities

Chair of MICE Institutes Board
MICE Executive Board
Referee for STFC grant applications
Member of the Institute of Physics, and Chartered Physicist
Reviewer of text book proposals for OUP, Elsevier and Wiley


Research Interests

My main research interest is in the study of neutrinos – the least well-understood of the particles we know exist! I have recently joined the DUNE experiment in the US, but my main research activity is in the development of new accelerator techniques, which could be used to produce neutrino beams in a future Neutrino Factory.

A stored beam of accelerated muons would produce an intense, high energy beam of neutrinos. However, muons can only be trapped and accelerated after they have had their phase space reduced, that is they have been “cooled”. The Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment, MICE, is an international project based at the Rutherford Appleton Lab (RAL). The Sheffield team has built the dynamic target mechanism for MICE, and is responsible for the monitoring and operation of other key items of hardware. We are also analyzing data to study energy loss and scattering as muons pass through matter. I am chair of the Institutes Board of the experiment, and my RAs hold key positions including Duty Coordinator, responsible for the safe construction and operation of the apparatus.

To produce sufficient muons requires a very high intensity pulsed proton beam to interact with a target, and I am also involved in high power target research, currently as part of PASI, Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation. The techniques are also relevant to other high intensity accelerators, and we are contributing to the proposed upgrade of the ISIS neutron sources at RAL.

Research funding (major recent awards)

PASI High Power targets, STFC, £163K (2012-2016, PI)
Continuation of the MICE Experiment, STFC, £294K (2012-2016, PI)
MICE Supplement, STFC, £117K (2012-2015, PI)
MICE Bridging Funds, STFC, £109K (2015-2016, PI)
MICE Cooling Demonstration, STFC, £TBA (2016-2018, PI)
Particle Physics Consolidated Grant, STFC, £2.7M (2015-2019, CoI)
Particle Physics Capital Bid, STFC, £177K (2013-2014, CoI)
Particle Physics Consolidated Grant, STFC, £3.0M (2012-2016, CoI)


Undergraduate taught modules

PHY304 Particle Physics
PHY340 Problem Solving in Physics
PHY350 (with Prof. Tadhunter) Problem Solving in Physics & Astrophysics
PHY102 Electricity

Undergraduate projects

PHY341 Physics project (project organizer and supervisor)
PHY342 Physics project (project organizer and supervisor)
PHY480 Research project (project supervisor)


PHY250/PHY251/PHY221 Second Year core physics

Postgraduate taught courses

Detector Techniques for Particle Physics


Recent key publications

C.N. Booth et al. “The design, construction and performance of the MICE target”, J. Inst. 8 (2013) P03006; arXiv: 1211.6343v5.

G.P. Skoro et al. "Dynamic Young’s moduli of tungsten and tantalum at high temperature and stress", J. Nucl. Mat. 409 (2011) 40-46.

D. Adams et al. “Characterisation of the muon beams for the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment”, E. Phys. J C73 (2013) 2582; arXiv:1306.1509.

A. Ahmad, C. Booth et al. “Generic study on the design and operation of high power targets”, Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams 17(2):024701 (2014).

D. Adey et al. “Light sterile neutrino sensitivity at the nuSTORM facility”, Phys. Rev. D89 (2014) 071301; arXiv:1402.5250.

C.N. Booth et al. “The design and performance of an improved target for MICE”, J. Inst. 11 (2016) P05006; arXiv:1603.07143.

Complete publications

Author or co-author on over 600 publications, including those from the MICE, ATLAS, HARP, ALEPH, UA2, UA5 and BC64 collaborations.

Public Engagement Regular schools talks on Particle Physics for sixth-formers:
Quarks, Leptons and the LHC
Mysterious Neutrinos

Member of Sheffield Diocesan Science & Faith group