Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics Group (PPPA)

ATLAS picture


Welcome to the Sheffield PPPA group

We have aimed at Sheffield to build a group with expertise that bridges the best in experimental accelerator particle physics with the best activity in the emerging new field of astroparticle physics. Both areas stand now on the cusp of making great discoveries.

Discoveries at the very heart of our quest to understand the Universe both at very small scales, the building blocks of matter, and at the very largest, the structure of the cosmos itself. These scales are intimately connected by a common origin, the Big Bang. So welcome to the group, please delve further into the pages here and whether you are an interested observer or a hardened academic we hope you find them useful.

ATLAS and the LHC

We are a key player in the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Our expertise ranges from detector construction to physics analysis

  • Study of the Higgs boson and Standard Model properties
  • Searches for Supersymmetry 
  • Construction of the Silicon Tracker and its upgrade
  • Software development and Grid Tier2

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Our neutrino programme spans from current neutrino oscillation experiments to the development of new facilities

  • Long Baseline Neutrino Experiments in Japan: T2K and Hyper-K
  • Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment in the USA: DUNE, SBND
  • Neutrino detector prototypes: Annie, ProtoDUNE

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  • R&D towards a future muon accelerator for neutrino physics: the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE)

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Dark Matter detection

Direct dark matter searches at underground laboratories

  • A two-phase xenon detector in South Dakota. LUX-ZEPLIN
  • The DRIFT detector in Boulby

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Gravitational Waves

We work on the LIGO experiment, which recently detected evidence of gravitational waves

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Applied Particle Physics

We have a successful programme of applied particle physics in the following areas:

Astro-Particle theory and cosmology

A group within the department that works theory

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Prospective students

The Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics (PPPA) group at the University of Sheffield is looking for excellent students to join our PhD programme starting in the academic year 17/18. PhD studentships have a duration of 3 to 4 years and we have a few fully funded studentships to be awarded in a competitive way.

For more information and a comprehensive list of projects available please visit our prospective postgraduate students page 

Academic staff 

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
  • Quality control and performance tests for all the plastic scintillator of the T2K Electromagnetic Calorimeter
  • Development of NUISANCE: a public utility for comparing data and models for neutrino-nucleus interactions
  • 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 Science and Technology Facility Council, the University of Sheffield, European organisations and other funding agencies worth in total more than £10m over past five years. 

Updated Dec 2016. Davide Costanzo