Modelling high energy hadronic cascades


  • Call:

    IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2015

  • Academic Year:

    2015 / 2016

  • Domains:

    Theoretical Particle Physics | Astroparticle Physics

  • Supervisor:

    Lorenzo Cazon

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Ruben Conceição

  • Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico

  • Host Institution:

    Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas

  • Abstract:

    - Study the connection of muon distributions with the development of the hadronic cascades - Develop analytical models to describe hadronic cascades - Investigate the sensitivity of muon distribution to hadronic interaction parameters Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) are the most energetic particles known in physics, and yet their cosmic sources and composition are a mistery. They remain as a challenge in High Energy Physics and Astrophysics after so many decades of research. As UHECR enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they collide with its atoms generating thousand of secondaries, creating a multiplicative process known as Extensive Air Shower. The hadronic interactions within these extraordinary objects exceed the energy achieved at LHC,and so they are unique to study physics beyond the Higgs boson energies. In this thesis we propose to develop models to describe the hadronic cascade and how it produces its muonic footprint, accessible by experiments. Most of the knowledge in this respect come from Monte Carlo simulations, which replicate thousands of particle interactions. These approaches have been shown to be very limited it their capabilities to connect certain fundamental hadronic parameters with the observables. On the other hand, Heitler-Matthews models and cascade equations are analytic tools that pinpoint the fundamental elements of the cascade dynamics and have lead to a large number of discovery of breakthrough in the field. This is a highly demanded task on the field with a potential large impact. It will eventually lead to the break of degeneracy between composition of the primaries and high energy hadronic physics. The student is expected to produce high quality peer review journal papers with his/her findings, and will have a large exposure to the whole community. The student will become also a collaborator of the Pierre Auger Collaboration, and thus the obtained results can be confronted to experimental data, increasing the impact in the field. Astroparticle physics is a growing area of research with many career opportunities. Under the completion of this thesis, the student will have gained an overall view and expertise on the field, which will allow him/her to pursue and expand in many international and Portuguese institutions. The sudent will have gained valuable skills in: analytic and systematic thinking, programming, mathematics, statistics, and management of large amounts of data, which are very useful for instance in Big Data projects and other fields.