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Physics at the Intensity Frontier

Particle physics at the intensity frontier involves probing new physics (NP) by increasing the the experiment’s luminosity rather than it’s energy scale. The intensity frontier could provide signs of NP in two ways. The first one is measuring SM processes for which theoretical predictions with uncertainties well under control exist: observing a significant discrepancy between the experimental measurement and the prediction would be the sign of NP. This technique is often applied to study processes which are mediated at leading order by loop diagrams. In such diagrams, yet undiscovered particles, with masses beyond the energy of the collisions, could intervene, modifying the rates and the properties of the decay respect to the SM predictions. These measurements need to be extremely precise, so they require a large quantity of data. The second way is searching for processes which are hugely suppressed or forbidden in the SM, and therefore a measurement automatically signifies NP. This could either probe (effective) couplings which do not exist in the SM, or particles at scales much below the energy frontier but which have not been seen so far due to the fact that they are very weakly interacting with SM particles. Some examples are lepton flavour violating decays, axion searches or neutrinoless double beta decay. From the experimental point of view, the challenge with the intensity frontier is to collect a large and pure enough data sample in order to obtain evidence of NP interactions. Historically the French community has been very active in this domain, participating to the conception and realization, as well as to the analysis of the collected data, of very successful experiments like, for example NA48 and BaBar. The focus of the French community today is on the LHCb experiment, dedicated to flavour physics and currently challenging the SM predictions with many precise measurements; its scope extends well beyond the realm of B physics. Worldwide, several other experiments currently search for NP using high-intensity facilities (notably NA62, MEG), some will start their data taking soon (for example Belle II) and other are in the preparatory phase (for example SHIP and COMET). From the theory side, it is crucial to have the description of the processes in the SM under control. For example, hadronic effects need to be evaluated precisely using various advanced tools, like lattice calculations, effective field theory, sum rules. Given the need to compare the theoretical predictions with the experimental measurements, the interplay between theory and experiment in this field is essential.

Working groups

Contact persons for laboratories involved

For any information about the GDR, or if you are interested in joining it or proposing a workshop please contact Francesco Polci (Director) or Aoife Bharucha (adjoint Director)

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