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Dr Iain Bertram


Iain Bertram

Physics Building

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YB

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 593611


Research Interests

Two of the major questions facing fundamental physics are:

What are the fundamental constituents of the universe and how do they interact? and How did the Universe begin, and how does it evolve?

Currently our best description of the theory of fundamental interactions of particles, the standard model of particle physics (SM), does not describe the Universe we live in. The SM cannot explain the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the Universe. This is before we consider the problem the 95% of the Universe that is made up of "dark" matter and energy of which the SM has nothing to say.

My research interests are in the experimental investigation of the matter anti-matter asymmetry. On the DØ experiment I carry out research on the decays of particles containing bottom (b)-quarks and charm (c)-quarks. I hope that this research will provide some answers to why the Universe is made of matter.

Specifically over the past five years I have been searching for differences between the behaviour of particles and anti-particles (CP violation) that contain bottom (or b) quarks. The most important of these results is the investigation of the decays of electrically neutral B mesons (particles made up of a quark and an anti-quark, one of them a b-quark) to a muon and other particles: Bs0 → DsμX and Bd0 → D(∗)μX. These processes are especially sensitive to the difference between matter and antimatter. In the process of completing this work I developed new methods to determine the backgrounds to these measurements and methods used to measure the differences between matter and anti-matter improving the statistical sensitivity of the data thereby increasing the value of the data recorded by the experiment. At the time of their publication both of these results were the most precise tests of their kind in the world.

I have made several “standard candle” measurements of CP violation in the decay processes B± → J/ψK± [3], Ds± → φπ± [4] and D± → Kπ±π± [5].

I am currently using the measurement of Bs0 → DsμX decays to see if the fabric of space has a preferred direction (known as CPT violation or Lorentz violation).

Unfortunately I have not found any new sources of CP-violation that would be able to explain the matter domination of the Universe. I am continuing the search in the decay of mesons containing charm quarks. 

I am currently transitioning from the DØ experiment to the ATLAS experiment based at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva. I will continue my search for phenomena that cannot be explained by the standard model of particle physics. When the LHC restarts after its upgrade it will be running at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV, the highest energy particle collisions ever produced on earth. I will be investigating the creation of high energy jets of particles in these proton-proton collisions. In most proton proton collisions two jets of particles are produced. By measuring the energy of each of the jets, physicists can calculate their mass (using Einstein’s E = mc2), this is called the dijet mass. The phenomena I will be searching for will appear as a peak in the mass spectrum or as a deviation from the predictions of the standard model.


Web Links

Current Teaching

Phys367 Flavour Physics 
Phys451 Masters Project (Search for new particles decaying to jets at ATLAS) 

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