Particle Physics at the Intensity Frontier
Basudeb Dasgupta,Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Particle physics is the study of Nature at the smallest distances that can be probed with our experiments. The “Intensity Frontier” approach is to search for extremely rare events, using intense sources and sensitive detectors.
There are many outstanding puzzles in particle physics that may have a resolution if, e.g., there are new particles with masses that far exceed what can be produced in our particle accelerators. How does one shed light on such puzzles? Although we don’t have enough energy to actually produce these heavy particles, quantum mechanics comes to our rescue! Quantum mechanics provides temporary violations of energy conservation, so that these particles can be produced temporarily. These so-called “virtual” particles are not directly observable, but they modify the behaviour of the other longer-lived particles taking part in the collision. This happens only rarely and the induced changes are tiny.
Nevertheless, such eﬀects can be measured with a very large number of extremely
precise measurements, which requires intense sources and sensitive detectors. This is
the key idea behind physics at the intensity frontier.
This approach has the potential to shed light on profound questions such as, “Why is the Universe full of matter, but has very little antimatter?”, “What gives neutrinos their tiny mass?”, and “Why is Dark Matter so dark?”, etc. In order to answer these and other similarly important questions, an ambitious program is underway worldwide. In my talk, I will explain the fundamental concepts and scientiﬁc goals of this program, pointing out potential for cross-talk with other areas of science and technology.