Carnegie Mellon University
April 02, 2019

SuperKEKB Starts Physics Run

Carnegie Mellon Physicists to Use Collider to Search for New Physics

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

The Phase 3 operation of the SuperKEKB project began mid-March, in preparation for the beginning of the project’s physics run. Just two weeks later, the project recorded the first data from electron-positron collisions with the Belle II detector.  

SuperKEKB, an electron-positron collider at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Japan, and its Belle II detector will be used to seek out new physics hidden in subatomic particles that could shed light on the mysteries of the early universe.

Belle II will be used to study heavy quarks, specifically bottom and charm quarks, in its search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. One way it will do this is by studying the asymmetries between matter and antimatter, called CP violation.

Carnegie Mellon University Physics Professor Roy Briere has been a member of the Belle II collaboration since 2013 and leads Carnegie Mellon’s participation in the project. Jake Bennett worked on the project for four years as a post-doc in Briere’s group and continues to work on the project as an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi. Jitendra Kumar, currently a post-doc in Briere’s group, is working on calibrating the ionization measurements of charge particles, which will allow the detector to distinguish between several possible particle types. Emma Oxford, a graduate student in the Department of Physics, is helping to improve simulations of charm particle decays and preparing to use the Belle II data to search for CP violation in a particular charm meson decay. 

Several undergraduate researchers have worked with Briere on Belle II over the years. Currently, senior Nick Hougland is performing detailed studies of charm meson decays for a simulation that will be used to update the detector to better match the particles’ known behaviors.