Volume 20: 2007

Peer Reviewed Papers
August 3, 2007
On Increasing the Sensitivity for Certain Types of Experiments to Search for New Elementary Particles
By Paul Simeon and David Toback, Texas A&M University
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On Increasing the Sensitivity for Certain Types of Experiments to Search for New Elementary Particles

August 3, 2007
By Paul Simeon and David Toback, Texas A&M University

Abstract

About the Authors
Paul Simeon graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2007. This research was completed during the summer after his freshman year. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in theoretical high energy physics at Stanford University.

David Toback is Paul Simeon's faculty advisor.

We study the sensitivity of setting upper limits on the cross section for new particle production in high-energy collider experiments. Often the signature of a certain interaction process that creates new particles (a production mechanism) is the decay into a distinctive set of particles, the final state, that interact with the particle detector. Some models of new physics incorporating supersymmetry often predict that two or more correlated production mechanisms may be seen with the same final state. Each process can have a different probability of occurring (related to the cross section of a process) and a different efficiency of being detected. If an experiment yields a null result, one can set upper limits on the production cross section for each process individually and thus can potentially exclude the whole model if it predicts the cross section to be above the upper limit. Intuitively, one may want to try to set a limit for the individual process that gives the lowest cross section limit; however, we show that combining all of the production mechanisms into a single, effective production mechanism and setting a cross section limit on this combined production mechanism is the most sensitive way to search for new physics.

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