Searching for Dark Matter with Boosted Higgs Decays in Proton-Proton Collisions at sqrt(s) = 13 TeV with the ATLAS Detector
Whallon, Nikola Lazar
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If Dark Matter particles interact with Standard Model particles, it could be possible to pair produce Dark Matter particles in association with a detectable Standard Model particle at a collider such as the LHC. If this associated particle is a Higgs boson, the process is called ``mono-Higgs,'' since the resulting signature is a single Higgs boson balanced by missing energy from the undetected Dark Matter particles. Various Dark Matter models predict that this process could result in very boosted Higgs bosons that, if they decay to a pair of b-quarks, are reconstructed as jets using boosted Higgs tagging techniques. This thesis presents the results of a mono-Higgs search using 79.8 fb^-1 of proton-proton collision data collected at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV by the ATLAS detector. The observed data are found to be consistent with the expected Standard Model backgrounds. The results are interpreted and exclusion limits are set using a Z' two-Higgs-doublet model where the pseudo-scalar Higgs particle, A, couples to Dark Matter. In order to increase the sensitivity reach of the search, new boosted Higgs tagging techniques are explored and a variable radius track jet Higgs tagging technique is employed.
- Physics