Particle Physics, Cosmology, Gauge Theory
This theoretical physics research group is part of the Institute of Physics.
Group leader: prof. dr. Eric Laenen.
Research in this theme also takes place nearby at the Nikhef theory group.
Among the most important research topics for the LHC is the precise study of the production and decay of top quarks. Because its mass is so close to the electroweak breaking scale, close scrutiny of its behavior is a likely tell-tale of physics beyond the Standard Model.
To this end, Laenen and collaborators have developed next-to-leading order Monte Carlo generators for single-top quark production (see figure), an important production mode that will help stress-test the electroweak interactions of the top quark in the Standard Model. In these studies they interact closely with experimental colleagues in IoP, at Nikhef, and elsewhere.
Other interests involve devising novel theoretical methods for perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics, the quantum field theory of quarks and gluons.
For instance, using symmetries to factorize the relevant observables, one may use renormalization group techniques and/or path integral methods to arrive at descriptions that systematically organize classes of large perturbative corrections to all orders. The results reveal much about the perturbative structure of non-abelian gauge theory, and are directly useful in confrontation with a wide variety of collider data.