High Energy Particle Physics at Florida Tech

The Florida Tech High Energy Physics group includes faculty Marc Baarmand, Laszlo Baksay, and Marcus Hohlmann, research associates Kondo Gnanvo and Igor Vodopiyanov, and typically about six graduate and 12 undergraduate students. The group's recent experimental efforts have been centered on studying high-energy hadron and lepton collisions using large particle physics experiments at Fermilab, Brookhaven National Laboratory and CERN accelerator facilities, as well as conducting basic detector technology R&D and high-performance grid computing on the Florida Tech campus.

The HEP group's main particle physics effort is the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, which studies proton-proton collisions at the highest-ever energy and aims at discovering the origin of mass, as well as answering other open questions in fundamental physics, such as the existence of extra dimensions and supersymmetric particles. Florida Tech joined CMS in 2001 though Baarmand is a charter member of CMS. The group has responsibilities for calibration of the hadron calorimeters, Tier0-Tier2 data flow and validation, and precision alignment of the muon endcap detectors. Our physics analyses are now focused on measurements with early CMS data, where Florida Tech graduate students are studying spin correlations in top-antitop quark pair production, angular and momentum correlations in b-antib quark pair production, and
are searching for new heavy gauge bosons. With anticipated high luminosities our physics program will switch to search for the Higgs boson, the missing cornerstone of the Standard Model, and more exotic phenomena.

The group also conducts R&D on advanced particle detector technology for the Super-LHC upgrade programs. Another main research area is the development and construction of a muon tomography system for detecting high-Z materials hidden in cargo. Here the HEP group is working with advanced micro-pattern gas detectors such as Gas Electron Multipliers. Our HEP lab houses a state-of-the-art Linux-based computing cluster that is used for muon tomography simulations and serves as a Tier-3 site on the Open Science Grid for CMS data analysis. In addition Florida Tech is a member of the PHENIX experiment at BNL's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which is searching for a new state of matter dubbed the "quark-gluon plasma", and the L3 collaboration.