School of Physics - Theses

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    Discovery potential of neutral MSSM Higgs bosons decaying to tau-lepton pairs in the ATLAS experiment
    Davey, William Edwin ( 2011)
    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the highest energy particle collider ever built. It recently began operation at CERN and will probe physics at unprecedented scales. ATLAS is a particle detector located at one of the collision points on the LHC ring and is designed to be sensitive to the wide range of physics that could be produced. The primary objective of the LHC experiments is to determine the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking, of which many theoretical models exist. In the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM), electroweak symmetry breaking is achieved through the Higgs mechanism, however, the Higgs sector must be extended with respect to the Standard Model and contains five physical Higgs bosons. The discovery potential of the MSSM Higgs bosons in ATLAS has been evaluated in previous studies, demonstrating adequate sensitivity for discovery or exclusion over a large region of the parameter space. However, these studies were performed using now outdated software, without an estimation of the expected systematic uncertainties or the inclusion of data-driven background estimation procedures. In this thesis, the discovery potential of the neutral MSSM Higgs bosons when decaying to tau-lepton pairs in the ATLAS experiment is evaluated. One tau is required to decay leptonically while the other is required to decay hadronically. Higgs boson mass hypotheses in the range 150 GeV - 800 GeV are considered. The study assumes a proton-proton collision energy of 14 TeV and an integrated luminosity of 30/fb. The expected systematic uncertainty on the background measurement is evaluated and included in the calculation of the discovery potential. Data-driven estimation techniques are developed for the W+jets and QCD di-jet backgrounds. The contributions of all signal and background processes are estimated using Monte Carlo simulated event samples. The discovery potential is interpreted in the mh-max benchmark scenario, and is presented in the mA-tan(beta) plane. A small degradation in performance with respect to the previous studies is found for Higgs boson masses below 450 GeV due to the inclusion of systematic uncertainties. It is confirmed that a large fraction of the parameter space will be accessible to the ATLAS experiment, which will be able to probe far beyond the regions already excluded by the LEP and Tevatron experiments. Two separate studies are also included, describing contributions to the modelling of hadronic tau reconstruction in the ATLAS fast simulation packages ATLFAST-I and ATLFAST-II. Firstly, a complete parameterisation of the calorimeter-based hadronic tau reconstruction for use in ATLFAST-I is presented. Secondly, the validation of the track-based hadronic tau reconstruction in ATLFAST-II is presented, including the extraction of correction terms to match the performance in ATLFAST-II to the standard ATLAS simulation.