In this paper, we propose a novel powerful strategy to perform searches for new electroweak states. Uncolored electroweak states appear in generic extensions of the Standard Model (SM) and yet are challenging to discover at hadron colliders. This problem is particularly acute when the lightest state in the electroweak multiplet is neutral and all multiplet components are approximately degenerate. In this scenario, production of the charged fields of the multiplet is followed by decay into nearly invisible states; if this decay occurs promptly, the only way to infer the presence of the reaction is through its missing energy signature. Our proposal relies on emission of photon radiation from the new charged states as a means of discriminating the signal from SM backgrounds. We demonstrate its broad applicability by studying two examples: a pure Higgsino doublet and an electroweak quintuplet field.


Dark Matter particles with inelastic interactions are ubiquitous in extensions of the Standard Model, yet remain challenging to fully probe with existing strategies. We propose a series of powerful searches at hadron and lepton colliders that are sensitive to inelastic dark matter dynamics. In representative models featuring either a massive dark photon or a magnetic dipole interaction, we find that the LHC and BABAR could offer strong sensitivity to the thermal relic dark matter parameter space for dark matter masses between ∼100 MeV and 100 GeV and fractional mass-splittings above the percent level; future searches at Belle II with a dedicated monophoton trigger could also offer sensitivity to thermal relic scenarios with masses below a few GeV. Thermal scenarios with either larger masses or splittings are largely ruled out; lower masses remain viable yet may be accessible with other search strategies.


We study pore nucleation in a model membrane system, a freestanding polymer film. Nucleated pores smaller than a critical size close, while pores larger than the critical size grow. Holes of varying size were purposefully prepared in liquid polymer films, and their evolution in time was monitored using optical and atomic force microscopy to extract a critical radius. The critical radius scales linearly with film thickness for a homopolymer film. The results agree with a simple model which takes into account the energy cost due to surface area at the edge of the pore. The energy cost at the edge of the pore is experimentally varied by using a lamellar-forming diblock copolymer membrane. The underlying molecular architecture causes increased frustration at the pore edge resulting in an enhanced cost of pore formation.


We propose new searches that exploit the unique signatures of decaying sterile neutrinos with masses below MW at the LHC, where they can be produced in rare decays of Standard Model gauge bosons. We show that, for few-GeV-scale sterile neutrinos, the LHC experiments can probe mixing angles at the level of \( 10^{-4} \)–\( 10^{-3} \) through powerful searches that look for a prompt lepton in association with a displaced lepton jet. For higher-mass sterile neutrinos, i.e., \( M_N \overset{>}{\sim} 15 \, \mathrm{GeV} \), run II can explore similarly small mixing angles in prompt multilepton final states. This represents an improvement of up to 2 orders of magnitude in sensitivity to the sterile neutrino production rate.


We probe the viscous relaxation of structured liquid droplets in the partial wetting regime using a diblock copolymer system. The relaxation time of the droplets is measured after a step change in temperature as a function of three tunable parameters: droplet size, equilibrium contact angle, and the viscosity of the fluid. Contrary to what is typically observed, the late-stage relaxation time does not scale with the radius of the droplet-rather, relaxation scales with the radius squared. Thus, the energy dissipation depends on the contact area of the droplet, rather than the contact line.


We report on how the relaxation of patterns prepared on a thin film can be controlled by manipulating the symmetry of the initial shape. The validity of a lubrication theory for the capillary-driven relaxation of surface profiles is verified by atomic force microscopy measurements, performed on films that were patterned using focused laser spike annealing. In particular, we observe that the shape of the surface profile at late times is entirely determined by the initial symmetry of the perturbation, in agreement with the theory. The results have relevance in the dynamical control of topographic perturbations for nanolithography and high density memory storage.


We report on the design, construction, and characterisation of a new class of in-vacuo optical levitation trap optimised for use in high-intensity, high-energy laser interaction experiments. The system uses a focused, vertically propagating continuous wave laser beam to capture and manipulate micro-targets by photon momentum transfer at much longer working distances than commonly used by optical tweezer systems. A high speed (10 kHz) optical imaging and signal acquisition system was implemented for tracking the levitated droplets position and dynamic behaviour under atmospheric and vacuum conditions, with ±5 μm spatial resolution. Optical trapping of 10 ± 4 μm oil droplets in vacuum was demonstrated, over timescales of >1 h at extended distances of ~40 mm from the final focusing optic. The stability of the levitated droplet was such that it would stay in alignment with a ~7 μm irradiating beam focal spot for up to 5 min without the need for re-adjustment. The performance of the trap was assessed in a series of high-intensity (\(10^{17}\) W cm) laser experiments that measured the X-ray source size and inferred free-electron temperature of a single isolated droplet target, along with a measurement of the emitted radio-frequency pulse. These initial tests demonstrated the use of optically levitated microdroplets as a robust target platform for further high-intensity laser interaction and pointsourcestudies.

Recent Publications

Student authorFaculty author


Brian Shuve and Michael E. Peskin

Revision of the LHCb Limit on Majorana Neutrinos

Physical Review D 94 (2016) 113007.

Ahmed Ismael, Eder Izaguirre, and Brian Shuve

Illuminating New Electroweak States at Hadron Colliders

Physical Review D 94 (2016) 015001.
PDF document

Eder Izaguirre, Gordan Krnjaic, and Brian Shuve

Discovering Inelastic Thermal Relic Dark Matter at Colliders

Physical Review D 93 (2016) 063523.
PDF document
Eye candy

Mark Ilton, Christian DiMaria, and Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Direct Measurement of the Critical Pore Size in a Model Membrane

Physics Review Letters 117 (2016) .
PDF document
Eye candy

Eder Izaguirre and Brian Shuve

Multilepton and Lepton Jet Probes of Sub-Weak-Scale Right-Handed Neutrinos

Physical Review D 91 (2015) 093010.
Eye candy

Mark Ilton, Oliver Baeumchen, and Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Onset of Area-Dependent Dissipation in Droplet Spreading

Physical Review Letters 115 (2015) .

Michael Benzaquen, Mark Ilton, Michael V. Massa, Thomas Salez, Paul Fowler, Elie Raphael, and Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Symmetry plays a key role in the erasing of patterned surface features

Applied Physics Letters 107 (2015) .

C. J. Price, Thomas D. Donnelly, S. Giltrap, N. H. Stuart, S. Parker, S. Patankar, H. F. Lowe, D. Drew, E. T. Gumbrell, and R. A. Smith

An in-vacuo optical levitation trap for high-intensity laser interaction experiments with isolated microtargets

Review of Scientific Instruments 86 (2015) 033502.
PDF document
RSI Donnelly 2015

Luke St. Marie, Fangzhao Alex An, Anthony L. Corso, John T. Grasel, and Richard C. Haskell

Robust, Real-time, Digital Focusing for FD-OCM using ISAM on a GPU

Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XVIII 8934 (2014) 89342V.

Alanna L. Weisberg, Nathaniel J. Bean, Theodore B. DuBose, Elizabeth Orwin, and Richard C. Haskell

Physical Attributes and Assembly of PEG-linked Immuno-labeled Gold Nanoparticles for OCM Image Contrast in Tissue Engineering and Developmental Biology

Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XVIII 8934 (2014) 89342V.