New physics searches in the ZZ sector with the ATLAS experiment

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Barber, Thomas 

This thesis investigates the prospects of measuring anomalous triple gauge boson couplings in the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The most general (V ZZ, V = Z, g) vertex is parametrised by four couplings, fV = Z,g i=4,5 , all of which are zero in the Standard Model. Non-zero couplings would manifest themselves as an excess of events in ZZ diboson channels, and, if observed, would be a direct probe of new physics beyond the Standard Model.

A set of criteria are outlined to select events recorded by ATLAS in two such channels, ZZ to llll(l = e, mu) and ZZ to llnunu. With 1 fb-1 of integrated luminosity at a centre of mass energy of sqrt(s) = 7 TeV, ATLAS can expect to observe 10+/-1 events in the ZZ to llll channel, with 0.5+0.9-0.2 background events. In the ZZ to llnunu channel, 6.2+/-0.7 signal events are expected, with a background of 1.9+2.0-0.2 events.

The expected sensitivity of ATLAS to non-zero anomalous couplings is calculated by performing extended, unbinned maximum-likelihood fits to the Z boson transverse momentum spectrum. For 1 fb-1 of integrated luminosity at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV, ATLAS has the potential to place constraints on the coupling parameters of |fZi | < 0.06 and |fig | < 0.07 at the 95% confidence level. These limits assume a form factor with a cutoff of Lambda_FF = 1.2 TeV.

As a prelude to ZZ observation, criteria are defined to select Z to ll(l = e, mu) events in the first 315 nb-1 of ATLAS pp collision data at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV. In total 57 events are observed in the electron channel, with 109 in the muon channel, leading to cross section measurements of sigma(Z to ee) = 0.70+/-0.09 (stat)+/-0.10 (syst)+/-0.08 (lumi) pb and sigma(Z to mumu) = 0.90+/-0.09 (stat) +/-0.07 (syst) +/-0.10 (lumi) pb, both of which are consistent with the Standard Model predictions.

In addition, this thesis presents a summary of developments made to the Data Acquisition (DAQ) system of the ATLAS Semiconductor Tracker (SCT). These include the construction of a test system, involving a scaled-down version of the entire SCT readout chain. The test system was subsequently used to develop a number of new DAQ features, including a hardware-based event simulator and monitoring framework.

ATLAS, Anomalous couplings, LHC, Electroweak, Diboson
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
This work was made possible by the Science and Technology Research Council (STFC) under STFC student number PPA/S/S/2006/04325.