The grand goal of this project is to uncover Physics Beyond the SM. We have organised our research our three main and challenging questions to define the corresponding objectives.
Is the Higgs boson a probe to a visible sector beyond the SM?
While there is mounting (but still imprecise) evidence that the particle found at 125 GeV is the Higgs boson of the SM, several questions remain open: Is the Higgs boson responsible for the mass of all the three fermion families? Is it an elementary or composite scalar? Are there other particles charged under the SM gauge groups at the TeV scale that obtain (at least part of) their mass through the EWSB mechanism? Our first objective is to explore the existence of a Visible Sector (VS) beyond the SM,
- Indirectly, by performing a set of accurate measurements of the couplings of the 125 GeV boson to the SM particles, including its self-couplings. By employing innovative analysis techniques and methods of data interpretation, we will constrain the possible effects of very heavy states on the Higgs boson’s interactions at a level better than 10% and will probe the Higgs potential.
- Directly, by searching for new scalar particles which form part of an extended scalar sector.
These tasks will be based on CMS data collected at the LHC, which by the end of 2018 will provide a unique dataset of high energy (13 TeV) and high luminosity (150 fb-1) proton-proton collisions (the LHC Run 2).
Is the Higgs boson a portal to an invisible sector?
Our second key objective is to explore, both theoretically and experimentally, the existence of a Hidden Sector (HS), which interacts with the SM through the Higgs (HH) and kinetic (BB) portals. This may shed light on the dark matter particle problem and/or on the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking. Light particles from a HS could produce striking experimental signatures on the high intensity frontier, both at the LHC (the detection of new particles, missing energy, displaced vertices or tracks) and at fixed target experiments, such as NA62, which will probe new physics thanks to extremely precise measurements in the rare kaon decays sector.
Is the Higgs boson a portal to light sterile neutrinos?
The third main objective of our project is a joint theoretical and experimental search for sterile neutrinos utilizing the LHC and short (SoLid) / medium (future JUNO) baseline reactor antineutrino experiments. Within their own energy domain, each of these experiments are sensitive to a broad range of sterile neutrino masses and mixing parameters and so have a potential to contribute to our understanding of the origin of neutrino masses. The search strategy for sterile neutrinos at the LHC will be oriented around the possible observation of corresponding displaced vertices. Well within the EOS timeline, the SoLid detector will be fully operational in Summer 2017, with a foreseen 3-year of data taking period in 2017-2019, while the JUNO experiment will start collecting data in 2020.