Thesis topics

Opportunities for Graduate Students

T2K is a next-generation neutrino oscillation experiment which started taking data in 2009. It is at he forefront of oscillation research with the search of the appearance of electron-type neutrinos in a muon-neutrino beam. It has unprecedented sensitivity to measure the last of the three mixing angles, θ13 The T2K experiment starts on the east coast of the main island of Japan in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki prefecture and ends at the SuperKamiokande detector which is located in the Japanese Alps on the other side of the island, 295 km away.

The experiment was the first to have an um-ambiguous signal for the appearance of an electron neutrino in a muon neutrino beam resulting in a measurement of the mixing angle θ13. Making the same measurement in an anti-neutrino beam allowed us to constrain the CP-violating phase \delta, which may help us to understand the large matter anti-matter asymmetry in our universes. Studying the disappearance signature of muon neutrinos, we have also made precision measurement of other oscillation parameters. We are also in a successful campaign to better understand the neutrino interactions dynamics.

We offer the possibility to work on ground-breaking physics subjects in a small, open, and highly committed group. The unique and diverse experience of our group members gives a rich environment for a student to contribute to highly challenging subjects. We take on one or two graduate students each year to work on measurements at the near detector and on oscillation analysis. Students are part of the sub-department of particle physics and attend a comprehensive lecture course during their first year. We expect students to travel to Japan for some period of time and participate in the many aspects of the experiment such as detector operation, event reconstruction, software, data analysis and modelling.

Possible thesis topics include:

  • Neutrinos or anti-neutrinos don't interact with free particles. The protons or neutrons are bound in a nucleus. Furthermore the particle produced inside the nucleus are have to transverse the nuclear medium before they can be detected. Understanding the nuclear effects of bound nucleons and the interaction of the reaction products with the nuclear medium are non-trivial effects that start to limit the accuracy of oscillations measurements. The group is studying those interactions using the near detector complex to learn more about the nuclear effects in neutrino interactions with the final aim to reduce systematic uncertainties in the oscillation measurements.
  • Oscillation Measurements. To extract the oscillation parameters it is important to combine the information from the neutrino beam, the measurement from the near detectors and the data collected in the far detectors. These have to be combined with our knowledge of the systematic uncertainties to produce a precision oscillation measurement. Student have the opportunity to do this for the muon (anti-)neutrino disappearance and the electron (anti-)neutrino appearance channels and for a combination of all four.
  • We have recently joint the SK collaboration and there will be opportunities to work on analysis more closely related to the far detector as well.

For information on how to apply, see http://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/research/t2k. Feel free to contact Giles Barr, Dave Wark or Alfons Weber , if you have any questions or inquiries.