Opportunities for Graduate Students

The Ottawa ATLAS group is interested in hearing from potential grad students who are interested in working with us on exploring TeV scale physics with ATLAS. We are looking for approximately 4 new graduate students for fall 2019.

We are an active group involved in many aspects of ATLAS. Possible MSc or PhD topics could be in the following areas:

  • Construction of Muon Spectrometer Detectors for ATLAS at the CERN LHC
    • Assembly of quadruplets of drift chamber detectors employing an improved technology layout called small Thin Gap Chambers (sTGC)
      • Precision assembly techniques for cutting edge technology particle physics detector hardware
      • Detector quality assurance by performing precision measurements under controlled conditions
      • Detector installation and commissioning at CERN
    • Evaluate the performance of the constructed sTGC detectors using high energy particle test beams at Fermilab and CERN
      • Physics analysis of collected data, final detector evaluation
    • ATLAS Muon Spectrometer simulation, evaluation of new detector physics performance
  • CONTACT: Alain Bellerive <alainb[at]physics.carleton.ca>, Jesse Heilman <heilman[at]physics.carleton.ca>, Kevin Graham <kevin_graham[at]carleton.ca>


  • Event reconstruction and detector performance evaluation using ATLAS LHC data
    • Tracking of high energy muons in the ATLAS muon spectrometer at the LHC
      • Software development/maintenance
      • Performance validation using specific physics study cases such as the Higgs production and decays
      • Muon track reconstruction in the new muon spectrometer detectors constructed at Carleton (see above)
      • CONTACT: Alain Bellerive <alainb[at]physics.carleton.ca>
    • Reconstruction of high energy electrons in the ATLAS detector at the LHC
      • Calibration of electron energy and understanding of their performance in ATLAS physics analyses
      • Software development/maintenance
      • Electron reconstruction improvements for future LHC and ATLAS data campaigns
      • Performance evaluation using rare physics processes, such as the Higgs production and decays
      • CONTACT: Thomas Koffas <koffas[at]physics.carleton.ca>, Manuella Vincter <vincter[at]physics.carleton.ca>
    • Event reconstruction and detector performance using ATLAS LHC data

      •   Implementation of the Global Particle Flow approach in the ATLAS event reconstruction
      • Unify the reconstruction of hadronic (jets) and electromagnetic (electrons/photons) physics objects by introducing common initial ATLAS detector signatures
      • Physics performance evaluation of the ATLAS detector reconstruction using rare physics processes, such as Higgs decays to heavy quarks, di-Higgs production
      •  Evaluation of background suppression and fake detector object removal for the LHC Run-3 conditions
      •  Performance evaluation under the anticipated High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) experimental conditions
      •  CONTACT: Thomas Koffas <koffas[at]physics.carleton.ca>, Dag Gillberg <dag[at]physics.carleton.ca>


Research and development of the ATLAS ITk tracking detector for the high-luminosity phase of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

The Carleton ATLAS group is heavily involved in the design and eventual construction of a new state-of-the-art silicon detector called the ATLAS Inner Tracker (ITk). This construction project is a major undertaking and is currently involving two faculty members, one postdoc, three graduate and one undergraduate student and three technical staff.  Potential projects for a new graduate student are listed below.

    • Develop procedures for careful electrical and mechanical tests of the thin silicon sensors that will be used for the ITk end-cap tracker; understand the effect of high radiation levels on the performance of the thin silicon sensors; develop procedures and test structures to study the surface effects of thin silicon sensors; participate in the design and modelling of radiation-hard semi-conductor devices
    • Develop tests of the readout chips (ABCstar ASIC) to check its functionality both under normal and extreme radiation condition.  Develop procedures (hardware, firmware, software) to verify the digital logic of the ABCstar ASIC. Provide feedback to the ASIC design. Contribute to the development of industrial standard procedures for the testing of ASIC wafers in industry (requires close collaboration with Canadian industrial partners)
    • Participation in test-beam campaigns, including experimental setup, data acquisition and data analysis. These tests, for which the detector modules are evaluated, will likely happen at CERN and hence require frequent trips to Switzerland.
    •  Development of a data acquisition system for reading out single or multiple ITk strip detector modules
    • Hands-on ITk detector module assembly and electrical characterization of the assembled modules
    • Participation in the installation and commissioning of the ITk detector at CERN (currently planned for 2023)
    • Studies of the ITk detector performance to reconstruct tracks from charged particles. Particular focus will be given to tracks from electrons and secondary vertices.
    • CONTACT: Thomas Koffas <koffas[at]physics.carleton.ca>, Dag Gillberg <dag[at]physics.carleton.ca>


  • Study of the Higgs-boson properties primarily via its decay into 4 leptons (electrons or muons)
    • Precision Higgs mass measurement, optimization/reduction of associated experimental uncertainties
    • Search for more rare Higgs production mechanisms such as through the fusion of the W/Z vector bosons using ATLAS LHC data
    • Study the coupling strength of the Higgs boson to elementary particles, search for discrepancies in theoretical models
    • Evaluate the long-term prospects for studying the Higgs-boson properties using rare processes
    • Search of the Higgs decay into two muons, study the Higgs coupling strength to fermions, test the validity of current theoretical descriptions
  • CONTACT: Thomas Koffas <koffas[at]physics.carleton.ca>


  • Study of the mediators of the weak force, W and Z bosons, in the ATLAS detector at the LHC
  • The Carleton-ATLAS team has had a long-term involvement in precision measurements of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, in particular in the study of the mediators of the weak force. Possible MSc or PhD topics can include:
    • Study of the angular distributions of the Z boson and measurement of the Weinberg weak mixing angle sin2 theta
    • Production of Z bosons in association to jets of particles, or ratios of other processes to Z production
    • Using W and Z bosons to measure the electron  energy, identification, and reconstruction efficiency in ATLAS
  • CONTACT: Manuella Vincter <vincter[at]physics.carleton.ca>


For more information on our current physics work, please see our  ATLAS Research pages. We anticipate continuing our work in these key areas of LHC physics.

If you would like to discuss joining our team for your graduate work or just discuss your plans for TeV scale physics, please contact one of our faculty involved in the ATLAS project:

Important Links for Prospective Graduate Students