Physics and Astronomy
Office: 239 Petrie Science & Engineering Building (PSE)
Phone: (416)736-2100 ext. 77758
Lab: 241 Petrie Science & Engineering Building (PSE)
High Energy and Particle Physics
Graduate Program Appointment
Full Member: Eligible to supervise M.Sc. or Ph.D.
Magnetic monopoles and Q-balls; Supersymmetry and Higgs bosons; Electronics for high-energy physics experiments.
I am an experimental high-energy particle physicist. I am particularly interested in searching for new particles predicted by some theories, such as magnetic monopoles and supersymmetric particles. I am also interested in the development of custom electronics for particle searches. I am a member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, which is the world’s highest energy particle accelerator. As such, I contributed to the 2012 discovery of a new particle believed to be the Higgs boson.
Particle physics is the study of the smallest constituents of matter and the four fundamental forces between them. Our current understanding is that the world is made up of six quarks and six leptons, each apparently grouped into pairs, forming three similar families of matter. Research shows that quarks and leptons do not have any substructure, that is, that they are the fundamental particles. Each of these particles is partnered with an antiparticle with the same mass but the opposite charge. The standard theoretical model of particle physics does not explain why these particles appear in three families, nor does it predict the particle masses. At a cosmological level, we do not understand why the Universe appears to be dominated by matter as opposed to antimatter, nor do we understand the source of the “dark matter” that represents 23% of the matter in the universe. Perhaps there are particles we have yet to discover. To help answer these questions, we need to go back to the Big Bang, when the universe was minute and the temperatures and densities of matter were enormous. Particle accelerators are the tools we use to recreate the conditions of the universe shortly after the Big Bang.
Presently, the York ATLAS group is engaged in a search for magnetic monopoles. All magnetic objects that have ever been observed have a north pole at one end and a south pole at the other end. A magnetic monopole is a particle postulated to carry only a south or a north pole. If a magnetic monopole exists, theory shows that this would explain why there appears to be a fundamental unit of electric charge. This is one of the outstanding mysteries in particle physics today!
We are also involved in searches for particles predicted by Supersymmetry, which is an attempt to unify the strong and weak forces in the Standard Model. One of the particles predicted by Supersymmetry could be the source of dark matter. Whether or not Supersymmetry exists, ATLAS is certain to discover new physics. So far, we have focussed on searching for a counterpart of the Z boson predicted by a version of Supersymmetry called LeptoSUSY.
We also create custom electronics for particle detection with ATLAS. To that end, I established an electronics test and development laboratory that includes the state of the art equipment necessary for such leading edge electronics projects. For example, we have worked on readout electronics (including firmware development) for the Transition Radiation Tracker in the ATLAS inner detector. We are currently building electronics to select magnetic monopoles in real time at ATLAS.