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Licenciate Thesis: Exploring particle physics beyond the Standard Model
  Thesis defense

Wednesday 29 November 2017
from 13:00 to 16:00
at FB53
Speaker : Sebastian Baum (Department of Physics, Stockholm University)
Abstract : The standard model of particle physics (SM) is arguably the best tested theory of physics, providing an accurate description of virtually all high energy particle physics phenomena observable in the laboratory. However, the SM also has a number of shortcomings: some of more theoretical nature such as the fine-tuning problem of the Higgs or the strong-CP problem, and some of more phenomenological nature such as not allowing for a satisfying implementation of neutrino masses and the lack of a suitable candidate for the observed dark matter of the Universe. The SM’s shortcomings have motivated the development of a large number of beyond the SM (BSM) particle physics models. However, no (conclusive) evidence for any BSM model has been found to date. The papers included in this thesis study different approaches to search for BSM physics: In [I], we studied bounds on weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) DM models arising from the absence of neutrino signals from DM capture and subsequent DM pair-annihilation in dense astrophysical objects such as the Sun or the Earth. We interpreted these bounds in a model independent fashion, focusing in particular on the scaling of the bounds for the case where WIMPs comprise only a sub-dominant component of the DM.We also used a chemical composition of the Earth updated with respect to the previous literature, strengthening the bound on spin-dependent interactions from capture and annihilation in the Earth by approximately a factor 3. In [II], we studied the collider phenomenology of one particular BSM model, the next-tominimal supersymmetric standard model (NMSSM). In particular, we focused on 1) the impact of the presence of the 125 GeV SM-like Higgs boson on the NMSSM parameter space, 2) the identification of NMSSM specific search channels at the LHC which allow to effectively probe the NMSSM parameter space allowed by more conventional searches, and 3) an in-depth study of one of these search channels, the mono-Higgs signature. As shown in [II], this channel allows to probe the low tanb, large mA regime which is difficult to probe with conventional searches, and in contrast to many conventional Higgs searches, the reach of the mono-Higgs channel improves significantly with the increased luminosity expected to be collected at the LHC in current and future runs.

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