High Energy Physics
We study the universe at the smallest distance scales (corresponding to the highest energy scales). After the Higgs boson was discovered at CERN in 2012, one of the hottest goals of our research is to reveal the nature of dark matter.
History of the universe. Illustration: Particle Data Group, Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Click for a larger version.
We study the fundamental building blocks of the universe and how they interact with each. We study both simple systems, where 2 particles interact, as well as the (quark-gluon) plasma that the universe consisted of moments after the big bang.
The primary research areas are:
- Particle physics with the ATLAS experiment at CERN, organized in the RCN-financed project High Energy Particle Physics (HEPP);
- Heavy ion physics, where we study the quark-gluon plasma with the ALICE experiment at CERN, organized in the RCN-financed project High Energy Nuclear Physics (HENP);
- Theoretical heavy ion physics, where we develop models, and implement them in software so that the models can be compared to e.g. results from the ALICE experiment;
- Particle detectors, with a focus on semiconductor sensor systems for ATLAS and other high energy physics experiments;
- Accelerator physics, with an eye to the development of the successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. We contribute to the development of the CLIC and plasma wakefield acceleration concepts.
- Grid computing: High energy physics experiments like ALICE and ATLAS require enormous amounts of computing power and data storage in order to carry out the analysis of the data being collected (during 2010-2037). This challenge can only be met with a world-wide network of computing and storage centers, a so-called grid. We have played a leading role in the NorduGrid collaboration since its inception in 2001, and in the development of NordGrid's Advanced Resource Connector middleware (ARC), which is a key component of the World-Wide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG).
- Dark matter searches: We lead and participate in the faculty's strategic research initiative Dark Matter Research Initiative (SDI).