Search for new physics produced via Vector Boson Fusion in final states with large missing transverse momentum with the ATLAS detector

Abstract : This thesis presents searches for new physics produced via Vector Boson Fusion (VBF) in final states with large Missing Transverse Momentum (Etmiss) using 36.1 fb⁻¹ of data from proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass-energy of 13 TeV, collected by the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN during 2015 and 2016. In particular, it focuses on the search for the invisible decay of the Higgs boson produced via the vector boson fusion (VBF) process. As the SM predicts an Higgs invisible decay only through H->ZZ*->4v with Branching Ratio BR~0.1%, if an invisibly decaying Higgs boson would be observed with a higher BR, this would be a sign of new physics. Several Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) models predict invisibly decaying Higgs boson where the Higgs can decay into dark matter particles or neutral long-lived massive particles. Among the H->invisible searches the most sensitive one is the one where the Higgs is produced via the VBF process. Its final state is characterized by two energetic jets, with the typical features of the VBF mode (i.e. large angular separation and large invariant mass) and large missing transverse momentum (Etmiss>180 GeV). To select a sample of signal candidate events, a Signal Region (SR) is designed to maximize the fraction of expected signal events with respect to the SM prediction (backgrounds). The SM processes which can populate the SR comes mainly from Z->vv+jets and W->lv+jets processes, where the lepton is lost or not reconstructed. Their contribution is estimated with a semi data driven approach: dedicated regions enriched in W->lv/Z->ll events are used to normalize to data the Monte Carlo (MC) estimates using a simultaneous fitting technique (transfer factor) and to extrapolate them to the SR. The predicted background estimate is compared to the observed SR data. Since no excess is found, an upper limit on the BR(H->inv) is set. The analysis is then reinterpreted in the context of models inspired by the Minimal Dark Matter model. The case of a new electroweak fermionic triplet, with null hypercharge and with interactions respecting the B-L number, added on top of the SM provides a good Dark Matter candidate. As such, it is an example of pure Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP), meaning that it is a DM particle with SU(2)_L SM interactions which is not mixing with other states (pure).If the thermal abundance is assumed, the mass of the neutral component is around 3 TeV, however smaller masses are also allowed in case of non-thermal production mechanisms or if the triplet constitutes only a fraction of the DM abundance. It can be produced at proton-proton colliders such as the LHC and it can be probed in different ways. Once produced, the charged components of the triplet decays into the lightest neutral component chi0 plus very soft charged pions. chi0 is reconstructed as Etmiss in the detector while the pions, because of the small mass splitting between the neutral and charged components, are so soft that are lost and are not reconstructed. Therefore, when produced via VBF, it gives rise to a signature with two VBF jets and Etmiss, the same final state that has been investigated for the VBF Higgs invisible analysis. Different mass point (from 90 GeV to 200 GeV) have been generated with the Madgraph+Pythia, Monte Carlo programs within the official ATLAS software, and upper limits are set on the fiducial cross section. Extrapolations to higher luminosities using a simplified approach are also presented.
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Marta Maria Perego. Search for new physics produced via Vector Boson Fusion in final states with large missing transverse momentum with the ATLAS detector. High Energy Physics - Experiment [hep-ex]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS088⟩. ⟨tel-01887171⟩

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