School of Physics - Theses

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    Testing Electroweak Baryogenesis at Colliders
    Friedrich, Leon ( 2021)
    Establishing a baryogenesis mechanism, a dynamical origin of the baryon asymmetry, remains an open problem in physics. Electroweak baryogenesis is one such mechanism that is often touted for its inherent testability at current and near future experiments. Taking this notion to heart, here we will examine the collider and dark matter phenomenology of three models motivated by electroweak baryogenesis and novel electroweak phase transitions. In chapter 2, we extend the standard model with two real scalar singlets and one vector-like lepton doublet and examine the collider phenomenology, phase transition history, and baryogenesis mechanism. We find that such a model is capable of generating sufficient baryon asymmetry while satisfying electron electric dipole moment and collider phenomenology constraints. In chapter 3, we study the phenomenology of a hypercharge-zero SU(2) triplet scalar whose existence is motivated by two-step electroweak symmetry-breaking models. If the neutral component of the triplet is stable, we find that this model is strongly constrained by disappearing charged track searches and dark matter direct detection experiments. Conversely, if it is unstable, we find that this model is constrained by multilepton collider searches, such that a triplet with a mass less than 230 GeV is almost excluded at 95% confidence. In chapter 4, we examine the collider and dark matter phenomenology of the standard model extended by a hypercharge-zero SU(2) triplet scalar and a gauge singlet scalar. In particular, we study the scenario where both of the new scalars are charged under a single Z2 symmetry. We find that such an extension is capable of generating the observed dark matter density, while also modifying the collider phenomenology such that the lower bound on the mass of the triplet is smaller than in minimal triplet scalar extensions to the standard model.
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    The origin of matter and dark matter
    Lonsdale, Stephen J. ( 2018)
    Why is the mass density of dark matter throughout the universe similar to that of ordinary matter? Asymmetric symmetry breaking models can explain this apparent coincidence by exploring how dark matter could naturally have a similar mass to the proton and how the number density of dark matter particles could be almost the same as ordinary nucleons. In this work models of high energy scale mirror symmetry connecting the standard model to an exact copy are spontaneously broken to produce models of asymmetric dark matter, with composite dark matter candidates, that naturally solve the dark matter mystery.
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    Phenomenology of particle dark matter
    Leane, Rebecca Kate ( 2017)
    The fundamental nature of dark matter (DM) remains unknown. In this thesis, we explore new ways to probe properties of particle DM across different phenomenological settings. In the first part of this thesis, we overview evidence, candidates and searches for DM. In the second part of this thesis, we focus on model building and signals for DM searches at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Specifically, in Chapter 2, the use of effective field theories (EFTs) for DM at the LHC is explored. We show that many widely used EFTs are not gauge invariant, and how, in the context of the mono-W signal, their use can lead to unphysical signals at the LHC. To avoid such issues, the next iteration of a minimal DM framework, called simplified models, are considered. We discuss use of such models at the LHC in Chapter 3, and show that in the context of a renormalizable gauge-invariant theory, any isospin violating effects in mono-W signals cannot be large. In Chapter 4, we discuss an alternative search strategy to mono-X searches at the LHC — in the case that DM does not couple directly to hadrons, the mono-X signature does not exist, and instead a leptophilic DM signature can be probed. We focus on the prospects for leptophilic DM with a spin-1 mediator at the LHC, and discuss constraints from other experiments. In the third part of this thesis, we turn to astrophysical signals of DM. In Chapter 5, we show that a consequence of enforcing gauge invariance in simplified DM models provides a new dominant s-wave DM annihilation process for indirect detection searches, and set limits on the annihilation cross section from Pass 8 observations of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. In Chapter 6, we demonstrate the impact of mass generation for simplified models, finding that the relic density and indirect detection constraints, along with the DM interaction types, are strongly dictated by the mass generation mechanism chosen. In Chapter 7, we show that the multi-mediator approach advocated in the previous two chapters can also lead to a new dominant signal, in the form of dark initial state radiation. Finally in Chapter 8, we look to the Sun to find that if DM annihilates to long-lived mediators, the gamma rays and neutrinos produced can be strongly probed by gamma-ray telescopes and observatories Fermi-LAT, HAWC, and LHAASO, as well as neutrino telescopes IceCube and KM3Net. Interestingly, these telescopes can provide the strongest probe of the DM spin dependent scattering cross section, outperforming standard high-energy solar neutrino searches and direct detection experiments by several orders of magnitude.
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    Mono-X searches for simplified models of dark matter
    BRENNAN, AMELIA ( 2016)
    The identity of dark matter remains one of the big open questions in particle physics; while much is known about its distribution throughout the Universe, very little is understood about its particle nature. In particular, a small but non-zero coupling to the Standard Model (SM) sector has not yet been ruled out. WIMP-type dark matter (DM), with weak-scale mass and couplings, may therefore be produced in proton collisions with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and detected by the ATLAS experiment. Several collider searches are presented, which utilise the mono-X+ MET (missing transverse energy) topology, wherein DM (the presence of which is inferred through the observation of missing transverse energy) is produced in association with some object X. The mono-jet process has the largest cross section, however mono-boson analyses, the focus of this thesis, have other advantages. The mono-Z(l+l−) channel benefits from the straightforward identification of charged leptons within the detector and removal of the multi-jet background, while the mono-W/Z(jj) channel is able to utilise the growing collection of electroweak boson identification techniques which exploit the two-prong substructure of a large-radius jet. This thesis describes two ATLAS analyses that seek to constrain both Effective Field Theory (EFT) models and simplified models of DM. The ATLAS mono-Z(ll) analysis uses 20.3 fb−1 of data produced at 8 TeV and selects events with a leptonically-decaying Z boson produced back-to-back with a large amount of MET. A cut-and-count method finds that no excess above the SM prediction is observed, and so constraints are calculated for the suppression scale Λ of the EFTs, and for the quark-DM-mediator coupling of a simplified model with a scalar mediator exchanged in the t-channel. The ATLAS mono-W/Z(jj) analysis uses the first 3.2 fb−1 of data produced at 13 TeV, and selects events with a single large-radius jet produced in association with MET. A profile likelihood fit of the SM background estimation and data is used to extract a limit on the signal strength for a vector mediator s-channel simplified model, and converted to a limit on the suppression scale Λ for a ZZχχ contact operator. A reinterpretation of Run I results from ATLAS for three common simplified models is also presented, including a comparison of the results from the mono-jet, mono-Z(l+l−) and mono-W/Z(jj) channels. Limits on the model coupling strengths are discussed. The strongest constraints are obtained with the mono-jet channel, however the leptonic mono-Z channel is able to remove the large multi-jet background to attain limits that are weaker by only a factor of a few. It is essential that the reconstruction of objects within the ATLAS detector, along with their energy measurement and calibration, is well understood and that the performance is optimised. Along with a general discussion of the relevant objects in the detector (leptons, jets and MET), the in situ measurement of corrections to the energy scale of hadronically-decaying tau leptons is described.
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    Physics beyond the standard model
    Clarke, Jackson David ( 2016)
    In this Thesis we present a collection of original bodies of work pertaining to a number of theoretical/phenomenological questions of the Standard Model, as studied from a "bottom-up" perspective. In Chapter 2: Higgs Sector, we consider the implications of extending the Standard Model Higgs sector by a very light (100 MeV < $m_s$ < $m_h/2$) real singlet scalar field. We identify the regions of parameter space which experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are uniquely sensitive to. There is a strong focus on low background displaced decay signatures. In Chapter 3: Naturalness, we show how a Higgs mass sensitivity measure can be rigorously derived from Bayesian probability theory. We use this measure to constrain the masses of various fermionic and scalar gauge multiplets, obtaining naturalness bounds of O(1-100) TeV. In Chapter 4: Neutrino Mass, we write down the minimal UV completions for all the Standard Model dimension 7 operators which might be responsible for the radiative generation of Majorana neutrino masses. A detailed collider study of a one-loop realisation is performed. In Chapter 5: Baryon Asymmetry of the Universe, we present a proof that the three-flavour Type I seesaw model cannot provide an explanation for neutrino masses and the baryon asymmetry of the Universe via hierarchical leptogenesis without introducing a Higgs naturalness problem. We then describe a minimal extension (the "$\nu$2HDM") which can avoid this conclusion. In Chapter 6: Strong CP Problem, we describe a very minimal model (the "$\nu$DFSZ") which can explain neutrino masses, the baryon asymmetry of the Universe, the strong CP problem, and dark matter, without introducing a naturalness problem for the Higgs. This model serves as an existence proof that weakly coupled high scale physics can naturally explain phenomenological shortcomings of the Standard Model. Lastly, in Chapter 7: Dark Matter, we consider the implications of a class of self-interacting "plasma dark matter" models for direct detection experiments. A number of qualitatively unique signatures (when compared to single component collisionless dark matter) are identified. We emphasise the prediction for a signal which modulates with sidereal day.
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    Lyα emitters as a probe of galaxy formation and ionisation history
    BRUNS JR, LOREN ( 2016)
    Current observations suggest that the reionisation of hydrogen in the intergalactic medium had begun by z ∼ 10 and was completed around z ∼ 6. Directly observing this epoch is not possible with existing instrumentation, making it difficult to infer how the increased ionising background during this period affected galaxy formation. This thesis aims to put constraints on the galaxy formation history of the Universe with existing instruments, by modelling and observing the number densities of observed Lyα emitters in the ionised environments around z ∼ 2 − 3 quasars to mimic conditions found during the epoch of reionisation. The main work presented is a model for the ionisation state of the intergalactic medium around star forming galaxies in the vicinity of a luminous quasar, tuned by empirical relationships from conditions at z ∼ 2 − 3. This model suggests that the intense ionising radiation from a quasar offsets the increased density of the intergalactic medium found around it, implying that the direct detection of star forming galaxies by their Lyα emission in the vicinity of z ∼ 2 − 3 quasars is less obstructed by the intergalactic medium than galaxies in the field. The accuracy of this model is compared to existing Lyα galaxy surveys and found to be in good agreement. Discrepancies exist between the expected number of Lyα emitting galaxies this model predicts and the surveyed region around the super-luminous quasar PKS 0424-131, in which no Lyα emission was detected. The modelling done suggests that in order to be consistent with this null detection at the 68% (90%) level, galaxies below 2.5×10^12 M⊙ (4.2×10^12 M⊙) must be omitted. These results suggest that considerable radiative suppression of galaxy formation by PKS 0424-131 is taking place. This hypothesis is tested using observations made on the Baade telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory with the Maryland Magellan Tunable Filter. The unique suitability of tunable filters for the detection of high-redshift galactic Lyα emission is described in detail, along with their idiosyncratic calibration and data reduction processes. The adverse seeing conditions make it impossible to put limits on the impact of ionising radiation of galaxy formation using these observations, and an analysis of the factors that prevented detection is provided. Finally, suggestions are made for ways to improve the chance of success for future observations of this effect using tunable filters, as well as ways to remove spurious ghost reflections in the data analysis that are unique to tunable filter observations.
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    Direct shear mapping: the first technique to measure weak gravitational shear directly
    de Burgh-Day, Catherine Odelia ( 2015)
    This thesis develops and tests a new technique, called Direct Shear Mapping (DSM), to measure weak gravitational lensing shear, $\gamma$, directly from observations of a single background source. The technique assumes the velocity map of an un-lensed, stably-rotating galaxy will be rotationally symmetric. Lensing distorts the velocity map, making it asymmetric. The degree of lensing can be inferred by determining the transformation required to restore axisymmetry. This technique is in contrast to traditional weak lensing methods, which require averaging an ensemble of background galaxy ellipticity measurements, to obtain a single shear measurement. The accuracy of the fitting algorithm is tested in simulated data with a suite of systematic tests. It is demonstrated that in principle shears as small as $0.01$ can be measured. The shear is then fitted in very low redshift (and hence un-lensed) velocity maps, and a null result is obtained with an error of $\pm 0.01$. The high sensitivity achievable with DSM results from analysing spatially resolved spectroscopic images, including not just shape information (as in traditional weak lensing measurements) but velocity information as well. To investigate the prospects for making nonzero shear measurements with DSM in current and future surveys, a theoretical estimate is made of the frequency of galaxy-galaxy weak lensing at low redshift. The probability of weak lensing at low redshifts is found to be good (1 in 1,000 galaxies at $z\sim 0.2$). An algorithm is then presented to make an empirically driven estimate of the frequency of occurrence of weak lensing in existing low redshift galaxy survey data. This algorithm is applied to the Galaxy and Mass Assembly Phase 1 Survey Data Release 2 catalogue. It is estimated that to a redshift of $z\sim 0.6$, the probability of a galaxy being weakly lensed by at least $\gamma = 0.02$ is $\sim$0.01. A technique is then demonstrated to measure the scatter in the stellar mass-halo mass relation using a simulated sample of low redshift DSM shear measurements. It is estimated that for a shear measurement error of $\Delta\gamma = 0.02$, this measurement could be made with a sample of $\sim$50,000 spatially and spectrally resolved galaxies. Finally, the first step towards extending DSM to incorporate weak lensing flexion is made. Including flexion in a lensing analysis increases the sensitivity of weak lensing measurements, and facilitates measurement of the gradient of the gravitational potential. Weak lensing convergence, shear, and flexion field variables are derived for a generalised lensing mass, without assuming circular symmetry. It is shown that the equations reduce back to the correct expressions for simple lens mass distributions, and when solved numerically for circularly symmetric lenses reproduce the results obtained for analytical solutions. Finally, the equations are solved numerically for a simple non-circularly symmetric lens.
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    Structure of dark matter in galaxies
    Trott, Cathryn Margaret ( 2004-12)
    The origin, nature and distribution of dark matter in the universe form some of the biggest questions in modern astrophysics. Dark matter is distributed on a wide range of scales in the universe. This thesis concentrates on galactic scales, attempting to lower the veil and probe the structure of dark matter in galaxies. (For complete abstract open document)
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    Interacting dark matter: decay and bremsstrahlung processes
    Galea, Ahmad Jacob ( 2013)
    Though there is substantial indirect astrophysical evidence for the existence of dark matter (DM), it has yet to be directly detected. Consequently, little is known about its internal structure. It is possible that there is a small but finite non-gravitational interaction between dark matter and the Standard Model (SM) which may have observable consequences. The purpose of this thesis is the exploration of some of these interactions and consequences. In particular we consider the possibility that dark matter is unstable on long timescales, as motivated by discrepancies between simulation and observation of structure on sub-galactic scales. We also consider the consequences of electroweak radiative corrections to annihilation processes involving dark matter, as such corrections are necessarily present in many well motivated models. We consider this possibility in the contexts of dark matter annihilation in galactic halos, and production in colliders. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to dark matter, including some of its astrophysical and particle aspects. As a motivation for the following sections, we begin by briefly outlining some of the observational evidence for dark matter. We go on to discuss structure formation, and the cold dark matter distribution on galactic scales. Next we discuss the possibility of non-gravitational interactions involving dark matter, including decay, annihilation, scattering off nuclei, and production. Finally we discuss the determination of the relic abundance in the early Universe, including a discussion of models involving coannihilation. Late decaying dark matter has been proposed as a solution to the small scale structure problems inherent to cold dark matter cosmology. In these models the parent dark matter particle is unstable, and decays into a daughter with near degenerate mass, plus a relativistic final state. In Chapter 2 we review the observational constraints on decaying dark matter, and construct explicit particle physics models to realize this scenario. To achieve this, we introduce a pair of fermionic dark matter candidates and a new scalar field, which obey either a Z4, or a U(1) symmetry. Through the spontaneous breaking of these symmetries, and coupling of the new fields to standard model particles, we demonstrate that the desired decay process may be obtained. We also discuss the dark matter production processes in these models. In Chapter 3 we investigate electroweak radiative corrections to dark matter annihilation into leptons, in which a W or Z boson is also radiated. In many dark matter models the annihilation rate into fermions is helicity suppressed. We demonstrate that bremsstrahlung processes can remove this helicity suppression, causing the branching ratios Br($\ell \nu W $), Br($\ell^+\ell^-Z$), and Br($\bar\nu \nu Z$) to dominate over Br($\ell^+\ell^-$) and Br($\bar\nu \nu$). We find this effect to be most significant in the limit where the dark matter mass is nearly degenerate with the mass of the boson which mediates the annihilation process. Finally, in Chapter 4, we investigate a mono-Z process as a potential dark matter search strategy at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In this channel a single Z boson recoils against missing transverse momentum attributed to dark matter particles, $\chi$, which escape the detector. For illustrative purposes we consider the process $q\bar{q} -> \chi\chi Z$ in a toy dark matter model, where the Z boson is emitted from either the initial state quarks, or from the internal propagator. We look for muonic decays of the Z, showing the Standard Model backgrounds to this process to be easily removable with modest selection cuts. We compare signal with Standard Model backgrounds and demonstrate that there exist regions of parameter space where the signal may be clearly visible above background in future LHC data.
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    The broad emission line region of quasars and gravitational lensing by early-type galaxies
    Ruff, Andrea Joy ( 2012)
    This thesis has focused on predicting emission line flux ratios from the broad emission line region of quasars under different physical conditions, and measuring the dark matter fraction and total mass density slope within early-type galaxies using gravitational lensing. Quasars are the energetic cores of distant galaxies, and they reside in some of the oldest, most massive objects formed in the universe. Due to their incredible luminosity (as much as $10^5$ times greater than a typical galaxy), quasars can be observed at extremely large distances. Quasars have a unique spectrum, with bright, broad emission lines that are produced by photoionised gas that is close to the central super-massive black hole. Despite the prominence of these broad emission features, the gas physical conditions and the geometry of the emission region are poorly understood. Due to its small scale and large distance, the emission line region cannot be resolved directly — even with the most powerful telescopes — and simulations are required to understand the mechanism that produces the unique quasar spectrum. Using simulations of micro-physical processes, including photoionisation, the broad emission line flux ratios can be calculated for a range of gas densities and distances from the central black hole. Using the photoionisation code, Cloudy, hydrogen and helium line emission was over the range of possible broad emission line region conditions. The hydrogen and helium lines are of particular interest because the line emission has strong dependence on the gas number density and incident ionising flux, whilst having only a negligible dependence on several other free parameters of the model. These simulations were then used to find a set of interesting ratios that can be used to determine the limits on the upper limit on the gas number density, and outer radius of the emission region. This thesis demonstrates a new technique for determining the physical conditions of the broad line emitting gas in quasars, using optical and near-infrared hydrogen and helium emission lines. Near-infrared line ratios are advantageous, as they have a negligible dependence on the amount of internal dust. A locally optimally emitting cloud model of the broad emission line region was applied to four nearby (z $\sim$ 0.2) quasars from the Glikman et al. (2006) sample. By comparing simulated emission line ratios to measured ratios from optical and near-infrared spectroscopy, the physical conditions required to produce the observed emission lines were inferred. The model provides a good fit to three of the objects, and a fair fit to the fourth object. We find that low incident ionising fluxes ($phi <10^{18}$cm^-2 s^-1), and high gas densities (n>10^{12} cm^-3) are required to reproduce the observed line ratios. This analysis demonstrates that the use of composite spectra in photoionisation modelling is inappropriate; models must be fitted to the individual spectra of quasars. This thesis also derives properties of early-type galaxies using a joint gravitational lensing and stellar-dynamics analysis. The sample consists of 11 early-type galaxies from the Strong Lenses in the Legacy Survey (SL2S). The median deflector redshift is 0.5, making it the largest sample of intermediate redshift lenses that have been studied using a joint lensing and dynamics analysis. By combining measured redshifts and stellar velocity dispersions from Keck spectroscopy with lens models from Gavazzi et al. (2012, submitted), the total mass density slope inside the Einstein radius for each of the 11 lenses was derived. The average total density slope was found to be 2.16$\pm$0.9, with an intrinsic scatter of 0.25. The dark matter fraction for each lens within half the effective radius was also determined. The average projected dark matter mass fraction was found to be 0.42$\pm$0.08 with a scatter of 0.25 for a Salpeter initial mass function. By combining the SL2S results with those from previous studies, a mild trend in the cosmic evolution of the total mass density slope was found. This suggests that the total density profile of massive galaxies has become slightly steeper over cosmic time. If this result is confirmed by larger samples, it would indicate that either dissipative processes or off-axis major mergers play an important role in the growth of massive galaxies since a redshift of 1.