School of Physics - Theses

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    Searching for the Light Supersymmetric Top Quark with the ATLAS experiment
    Phan, Anna Thuy Trang ( 2011)
    The nature of dark matter and the source of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe are two of the most important questions in particle physics and cosmology. The current Standard Model of particle physics, while being a very successful description of the observed fundamental particles and their interactions, cannot fully account for either of these phenomena. Theoretical extensions of the Standard Model, however, possibly can. One such extension is the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM). This thesis begins by exploring the MSSM parameter space in which the matter- antimatter asymmetry of the universe is dynamically generated through electroweak baryogenesis. In this scenario, one of the supersymmetric partners to the top quark, the light stop quark, must be lighter than the top quark. It is found that this parameter space region is highly constrained by experimental limits on the electric dipole moment of the electron and the branching ratio of a bottom quark into a strange quark and a photon. If the additional requirement of matching the observed dark matter abundance by the relic density of the lightest supersymmetry particle is necessitated, the allowed MSSM parameter space is further constrained. The focus of the thesis then moves to the investigation of the collider phenomenology of supersymmetric electroweak baryogenesis, in particular, the evaluation of the discovery potential of light stop quark pair production at the LHC using the ATLAS experiment. This study assumes a light stop decay topology involving the lightest chargino and neutralino where the visible final state products mimic those from top quark pair production. Feasibility studies are performed for proton-proton collisions at centre of mass energies of 10 TeV and an integrated luminosity of 1/fb, concentrating on the dileptonic and semileptonic decay channels where there are two or one charged leptons in the final state. It is found that signal points with stop masses less then 120 GeV and stop-neutralino mass differences greater than 60 GeV have the greatest discovery potential in the dileptonic decay channel, while the semileptonic decay channel is swamped by backgrounds and requires detailed understanding of the detector and backgrounds in order to extract a signal. Finally, a preliminary study is conducted on 41.4/pb of data collected at collisions with centre of mass energies of 7 TeV in the dielectron decay channel, focusing on the understanding of selection variables and backgrounds.